Our Spend-Free Summer

Greetings, Savers!

A while back I made mention of my plan for a “spend-free” summer.

Well, plans sure have changed with the onset of COVID-19.

I started planning my “spend-free” summer back in January of this year. I earned extra money by UserTesting. I earned $250.00 to be exact by completing 25 UserTests.

This was step 1 of my spend-free summer. To earn an extra $250.00 to cover the cost of Waldameer season passes (fyi: Waldameer is an amusement park that my kids live for in the summer!).

Due to COVID-19, the likelihood of Waldameer opening this year is bleak; and, if they open, it likely won’t be until mid-summer – making a season pass not a frugal choice. So, we instead used that $250.00 to cover the cost of 2 new bikes and new biking accessories (helmets, knee and elbow pads, etc.) for the kids. They’d both outgrown their bikes and biking equipment; so, we needed an update. (Yes, we broke a money-saving strategy and bought ‘new’ out of convenience. It was a thought-out choice. Given the situation with COVID-19 and with already having earned the extra money, we wanted more summer activities for the kiddos quickly and chose not to be patient to find cheaper, used bikes).

Step 2 of my “spend-free” summer was to find lots of free or low-cost activities (that I could easily cover the cost of by earning extra money) for me and the fam. So, I’ve been making an ongoing list of free activities we can do this summer. My #1 go-to resource for activities to do as a family is Macaroni Kid! Our local Macaroni Kid webmaster does a great job keeping us up-to-date on all things family-fun…and, COVID-19 hasn’t slowed her down.

So, we’ve been going biking, going to the beach, to the woods, and chipping away at a summer bucket list to keep ourselves entertained during our spend-free summer.

Here are some low- or no-cost activities to try this summer:

  • Go to the beach (minding social distancing, of course)
  • Take a nature walk
  • Go biking
  • Camp in your backyard
  • Make a rain painting (we already had these materials at home so it was no-cost for us – this could get a little costly if you don’t have some of these materials sitting around)
  • Begin learning a new skill – one positive change from quarantine/social distancing is all of the fantastic virtual resources now available at little or no cost! So far, we’ve tried Padawan Lightsaber training, lots of virtual field trips, group exercise classes, and soon the kids will be attending virtual chess, Brain Games, and Fun Fairytales camps for free!
  • Make an upcycled bird feeder
  • Play in the rain
  • Have water-gun or reusable water-ball fights. I recently cashed in some of my SwagBucks for a $10 Amazon gift card which makesthese reusable water splash bombs nearly free! (Reminder: If you’re buying online, don’t miss out on double- and triple-dipping on savings!)
  • Go geo-caching (This one’s on our to-do list; but, we haven’t tried it yet!)
  • Go to the drive-in movies
  • Plant a garden. Our garden is flourishing! We chose to grow from seedlings; but, if you grow from seeds and have a small patch of yard to dig out a dirt spot, an investment of <$10 could get you lots of veggies and entertainment tending to- and harvesting your garden.
  • If you don’t have yard space (or just don’t want to dig out a dirt plot, which I totally get) for an extra cost of the plant pots try simple, and very effective, container gardening.
  • Have an outdoor scavenger hunt. Then, create art using the found-materials. Consider, leaf rubbings, mud finger-painting, smooshing flowers for different colors, etc.

We’ve tried most of these activities and have been having an enjoyable, spend-free (or minimal-spending) summer already!


I hope this gave you some ideas for the summertime, Savers.

Take care!

~ Amanda


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