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Does Summer Make You Spend More? 3 Ideas to Keep Summer Frugal

  June 11

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Today’s post is by staff writer, Kayla.

summerSummer is the time of year where I miss being a kid the most.

The first summer after college graduation was the absolute worst. You see, I had grown accustomed to work full-time during the summer because that’s what I did during college to make extra money when I had no classes. So it wasn’t that I had to work inside an office all day long when there was some beautiful summer sunshine calling to me from just outside the window, but rather it was that I didn’t have anything to look forward to anymore except retirement in 30+ years. Ugh!

I think it’s the nostalgia for my childhood combined with the nice weather that gets me to loosen my purse strings a little bit more in the summer. I spend more time having BBQs with friends and family, and I tend to spend a little bit more on wine this time of year too. Plus I always get the urge to shop for some new light and airy summer clothes to beat the heat.

As much as I try to fight it, it seems my budget is always more prone to getting off track in the summer. Luckily there are a few ways I save money too.


I go to more outdoor BBQs and picnics and I definitely spend more on alcohol this time of year,  but I do seem to spend less on food at the grocery store. When it gets super hot outside I tend to eat less which makes my bill go down and I also like to eat more “light foods”, like salad, chicken, and fruit. Luckily, fresh foods like these are at their best quality and lowest price of the year during the summer. Another way to keep your grocery costs down is to have the BBQs being pot-luck so everyone shares in the costs of the party.


Another summer favorite for me is going to the movies. I know that may not sound frugal, but I do my best to save money by going to afternoon matinee show times which are way cheaper than evening movies. Plus going to the movies is a great way to escape the summer heat for a little bit too.

Free community events happen almost everyday in the summer in my hometown. For instance, my city hosts free picnics in the park each Wednesday where you bring your own lunch and enjoy free live entertainment from some of our local musicians. 4th of July also boasts some special events like a parade and the fireworks show. Plus my favorite event of the year is the county fair which takes place the last week of July every year.

DIY-Spa Days

I pretty much live in sandals during the summer and before I started living on a budget I’d get regular pedicures to keep my toes looking cute throughout the summer. But that’s changed. Now I get pedicures about once a year (for my birthday) and the rest of the time my friends and I do DIY-spa days (or nights).

We do facials on ourselves and while those are working their magic, we paint each other’s toenails. It’s become a favorite girls night event that we pair with wine and some rom-com binge watching courtesy of Netflix.

As I’ve come to find out, living on a budget is about making compromises not necessarily giving up everything you love to do. Instead it’s about deciding what matters most to you and spending money on only those things. Some of these frugal summer substitutions have become even more fun than the more expensive hobbies I used to have pre-budget and I’d say that’s a frugal win.

Do you spend more in the summer? How do you keep summer frugal?

13 responses to “Does Summer Make You Spend More? 3 Ideas to Keep Summer Frugal

  1. We definitely spend less on groceries in the summer too. We have an abundance of fresh produce from the garden this time of year, so we barely have to go to the grocery store for anything except milk and bananas.

    I have a feeling that our entertainment will probably be less often and more expensive from now on though. It is an hour drive to the nearest movie theater, and the beach is now two hours away =[

    1. 🙁 At least you get fresh garden produce though, that’s great. I’m sure it’s tasty too 🙂

  2. I often spend more on travel in the summer – weekend getaways, mostly. I can often balance that out with reduced savings in other categories. There are usually lots of free activities in the summer – things like free concerts, festivals and outdoor movies – so my entertainment budget is kept in check.

    1. I’m totally jealous! I’d love to live near a beach. 🙂

  3. I totally think Summer is the best time to be frugal! Like in your community, our parks always seem to be hosting some kind of entertainment throughout the summer (including showing outdoor movies, symphonies, local bands, etc) and the events are almost always free. It’s also the best time to get out in nature (free, except maybe the occasional gas expense) and go hiking or camping. Also, with the option of shopping at our local farmer’s markets (starting this month!) and potlucks, I’m hoping to see a fall in our food budgets as well. Hooray for Summer 🙂

  4. Obviously, summer is another expensive season because of getaways or outings. This summer, I think I have more than 5 outings to attend to. To make it frugal, I only choose 2 or 3 to attend to. I have some decisions to make which one and have some criteria some of which are the place itself and the money I may be spending.

  5. The movies are still a pretty frugal date night, all things considered. No need for booze, and sneaking some snacks in gives the whole evening a bit of excitements.

    No one knows I have the Twizzlers…

    1. I love to bring in my own snacks too, but wasn’t sure if that would be frowned upon, lol. 🙂

  6. We always have BBQs and play corn hole. It’s entertaining, fun and the only cost is one pot luck dish and some drinks. Great and frugal way to enjoy the heat this summer.

    1. That is a good and frugal idea for some summer fun. Thanks for sharing!

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