Summer On a Budget
It’s summer time again and there never seems to be enough time to get to all those things you’ve always wanted to do. How can we have the best summer imaginable and do it on a budget? Let’s first see what elements make up the best summer.
Your Best Summer
We all know by now that possessions won’t bring you happiness – possessions may be involved, but it’s experiences that bring us the greatest joy. It’s not the boat itself that brings you joy, it’s the major wipe-outs while tubing, or the first time your son or daughter makes it up out of the water on their own on water skis. It’s not the cottage itself that makes you smile uncontrollably, it’s the space it provides to gather all the people you love the most and the oasis it creates.
After the summer is all over, it will be the moments of playfulness, spontaneity, a sense of adventure or contentedness that makes us well up with gratitude and fondness as we look back.
So how do we create those moments on a budget? This type of thing is fun for me; it’s always a challenge to see how I can create the most fun on the smallest budget! (If you play it like a game, you’ll have fun even just trying to do it).
Growing up on the farm and having no TV, I’m very familiar with generating my own fun. I was taught to appreciate the simple things and to laugh and play at whatever I am doing.
So here are my top 5 tips for creating an epic summer you’ll never forget!
1. Make your own sunscreen
This will be cheaper, and healthier for you. There are plenty of chemicals in your sunscreen and while we want to lather up, think about all those chemicals being on your skin (the biggest organ in your body). You can find plenty of recipes online. Your kids will thank you and you can brag to your friends about having oodles of it on hand and how you made it yourself, inevitably earning serious respect from your friends on the beach.
2. Buy bulk meat
You’ll be the hostess with the mostest. Bulk meat direct from a farmer is cheaper per pound – you get access to cost averaging and you can buy your steaks for the same price as your ground beef! And you’ll always be ready for a spontaneous BBQ, and you’ll have the best part of any cottage or camping trip covered. You’ll also be feeding everyone super healthy food when you buy grass-fed farmer-direct organic meat!
3. Find fun in the simple things
Get your creative brain working and make up an adventure. Geo-Caching is a brilliant way to get your mind into adventure mode. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally: ask them about their lives, be curious. Remember when you were six, the adventure that existed around every corner? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the mortgage payments and a schedule can get filled up really quickly with weddings and kids’ adventures. Set aside some time for just doing nothing, and see what adventures present themselves.
4. Make your own wine
Making your own wine is often better for you, and you can give it as hostess gifts when you’re invited to cottages or weekend places. It costs pennies compared to buying it at retail price – you won’t have to stress about entertaining a lot of guests when it only costs $3.00 a bottle! And it may give you an excuse to lounge by a fire pit you never use or take a little picnic basket to a favourite remote escape with a special someone. You can also pick your own flavours, and enjoy the experience of learning about wine and becoming your family’s own wine connoisseur.
5. Put a hold on that gym membership
Gasp! I know, even if you don’t use the gym, just having the membership gives you a sense of safety – you always know you could go if you really wanted to. Well, I’m going to proudly pronounce that gyms are for the winter, people!
Exercise opportunities are endless during the summer: Join a pick-up Ultimate Frisbee team, try a new sport, jump on your trampoline or swim in your swimming pool, play beach volleyball… get out and get active!
If you have kids in soccer or T-ball, and everyone brings a lawn chair and sits to watch the game, I say you either better bring that wine you made or get other moms to do some small exercises with you while you watch.
In addition to the exercise, playing outside also helps you meet new people: asking passers-by to join a game of catch or pick-up flag football in the park will open up your circle of friends – you never know who you could run into.