Today, we’re constantly bombarded with glossy advertisements enticing us to believe that happiness lies in luxurious vacations or exclusive experiences that only money can buy.

While a stacked wallet can make plenty of things in life easier, it’s not a prerequisite for a good time. From adventures on your doorstep to hidden treasures within your community, the possibilities for joyful experiences are boundless, regardless of your financial circumstances.

So whether you’re a budget-conscious saver or just fancy cutting down on your entertainment costs, here are 10 ways you can have fun this summer without breaking the bank.

1. Get some exercise

Ok, it's a sensible one to start! We often talk about financial fitness, but we thought we'd begin by looking after your physical health. And you don't need to join a fancy gym to do it! You can do a quick HIIT session in the park, blow the cobwebs away with a bike ride, or (if that sounds too energetic) just go for a gentle stroll.

You’ve probably heard it before, but a bit of exercise can do wonders for your overall health. The charity Mind explains that it can help with:

  • better sleep: by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
  • happier moods: physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
  • managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts: doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times

2. Explore the area

For many people, a few pounds in their pocket means one thing: time to go travelling. There are many potential benefits to expanding our horizons, but holidays are often the first thing that's cut if we start to feel the pinch. So why not remind yourself of cool stuff that's right on your doorstep?

From dreamy beaches to lush hiking trails, there are plenty of fun and free activities out there. You might even find some unexpected inspiration for the next big trip.

3. Stay in and get social

No matter how tight your group of friends are, there will be times when differing disposable income levels within the group can cause tension. But there are plenty of ways you can hang out and still have fun on a budget:

  • Make-your-own cocktail night: Add a theme to make things more interesting and see what concoctions you can come up with.
  • A board game night: A classic board game never fails to entertain (but don’t forget: it’s just a game!)
  • A movie marathon: Choose your summer flicks and watch them from the comfort of your own living room.
  • A “swishing” party: Swap your unwanted clothes with other people.
  • A potluck picnic: Ask friends and neighbours to bring a dish, and enjoy a delightful day of food, games, and good company in a local park or your garden.

4. Pick up a new craft

You may be reading this thinking, "I don't do hobbies". Perhaps your passion for trainspotting would have emerged already if it were going to do so. It's never too late to learn a new skill though!

Creativity is free, and crafting materials are cheap. So, if you haven't picked up a crayon since school, perhaps you've forgotten what you're missing out on.

5. Soak up the culture

Visiting a museum can be a great way to spend a weekend without spending a penny. Many museums offer free admission on specific days or have discounted rates during certain hours. Why not use this opportunity to visit art galleries, history museums or science centres in your area with your friends or family?

Summertime often brings free outdoor concerts and music festivals, too. Check social media or visit community websites to find out about upcoming events. Pack a blanket, grab some snacks, and revel in the joy of live music while soaking up the summer vibes.

6. Do some good

We may be on a budget, but we can still give something back. Whether your karma needs a boost or you just feel like being a good citizen, the volunteering opportunities out there are almost endless. Not only will you contribute to a worthy cause, but you'll also meet like-minded individuals and gain a sense of fulfilment and purpose.

7. Reconnect with nature

If you're feeling restless, then getting outdoors for some fresh air is a great way to rectify that. There are a million things you could do, but how about taking a break from “doing” at all?

If you're feeling open-minded, you could try the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. The principle is that you can regain perspective by simply basking in the calm surroundings.

8. Start a book club

Does the bookworm inside you crave new recommendations? Do you wish you had someone to rave about the latest page-turner with? Then start a book club with friends and friends-of-friends.

As well as a fun social activity, reading can be a cheap hobby to have, and you don’t need to spend any money. You can join your local library for free or borrow books from your pals!

9. Get down to the car boot

Whether this one counts as “fun” may be subjective. But what this suggestion lacks in excitement is more than made up for, because it will actually help you earn more money.

Collect up your unwanted junk and throw it in the trunk. It's time to engage in that great British tradition: the car-boot sale.

10. Fine-tune your personal finances

It was a lack of funds that started your quest for cheap entertainment, so it seems only fitting that our final suggestion be something to help with that.

For many of us, this one may sound the opposite of fun. But that's the funny thing about finances. Once you take the plunge and get started, the blinkers lift, and the process can become strangely rewarding. Perhaps even entertaining!

If you're looking for some help with your finances and would like to learn more about how Plum can help, check out our website. The app is free to use, and we offer different subscription options so you can find a plan that works for you.

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The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute financial, investment, tax or any other advice or recommendation. The information provided should be used at your own risk and it is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, reliability, timeliness and completeness of any information provided herein or available on a linked website.