Apart from affecting your mood, the changing seasons can also influence your purchasing decisions – big time. However, with some proper planning, you can keep your spending habits under control regardless of whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall.
With that in mind, springtime ushers in warmer weather and outdoor activities. If you’re on the hunt for budget-friendly activities, check out our top 12 suggestions:
1. Get active
There are many ways to become your healthiest self without breaking the bank. As the weather warms up, consider ditching the gym membership in favor of outdoor workouts like hiking, jogging and swimming (if you have access to a free community pool or nearby body of water). Also, depending on how long your commute is, you can think about biking or walking to work during the spring (and summer, too).
2. Volunteer your time
You don’t always have to shell out big charitable donations in order to give back. In fact, one of the most valuable things you can do is donate is your time. Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to emerge from your hibernation and seek out these opportunities. For example, why not check out your town’s Salvation Army, church or library to see if they are in need of volunteers? Or register with Volunteer Match to find a local cause to get involved with.
It is so important to invest in your mental health and spring provides many therapeutic activities that don’t cost a thing. Every day, pencil in a few minutes to listen to the birds singing, enjoy the rain or take in the beautiful spring blooms. You can even go for a walk in a local park or discover nearby hiking trails. These activities are simple but may help relieve stress and boost your mood.
4. Enjoy nature
Piggybacking off the last point, Sami Womack from A Sunny Side Up Life says that “especially in the spring, I’d recommend that everyone find something to do that involves nature.” To save even more money, Womack suggests packing a picnic lunch so you don’t have to go out to eat after your exploration.
5. Work on your garden
For the past few years, my husband and I have really enjoyed building a vegetable garden. It costs us around $50 (dirt, fertilizer and seeds.) This is relatively inexpensive for several months’ worth of fresh, delicious tomatoes, zucchini, kale, peppers and cucumbers! This is also an excellent way to reduce our grocery budget, plus we always have extra produce on hand that we can gift our friends whenever they host a BBQ.
6. Play board games
Unfortunately, not all spring days are nice enough to spend outdoors. With this in mind, you’ll need a few ideas to occupy your time when you’re stuck indoors on a rainy day. My favorite tip is to choose board games that can teach you money lessons, like Monopoly.
7. Visit a farm or petting zoo
Visiting a zoo or an aquarium can get pricey. However, many local farms offer free tours and other activities that you can enjoy while the weather is nice. For example, I live pretty close to Pennsylvania and found this petting zoo that offers free admission. Others may charge a $1 admission price and that’s hard to beat.
8. Take in free festivals
Start visiting your city’s website and follow your local municipality on social media to learn about free events such as festivals and outdoor concerts. This also offers an excellent opportunity to meet people if you’re new to town. For example, New Brunswick, N.J. is the closest metro area to me and the Official Tourism Website of New Jersey gives an up-to-date listing of fun local events to consider.
9. Explore your city
Alli Rosenblum from FinancialliFocused says one of her favorite low cost things to do in the spring is to play tourist in her own city. She says this is a great time to “learn the history of your city/state or even check out some local artists.” Rosenblum suggests starting with your city’s free visitor’s guide. Why? Even though you’re a local, you may find a treasure trove of budget-friendly ideas that are new to you.
10. Take up kite flying
I’ll be honest: it’s been many years since I even thought about flying a kite. But a friend recently let me know that this activity is high on her spring to-do list. She even plans to make her own kite from scratch so that this outdoor activity is even more affordable.
11. Spruce up your home
Spring is the perfect time to take on some DIY home improvement projects, declutter your closets and deep clean your abode. You can also take the fun outside and tidy up your yard or even help clean up a local park.
12. Host a yard sale
One of my favorite ways to raise some extra cash is to throw a yard sale. Think of this as another great seasonal side hustle, as well as a fantastic way to spring clean your house! Better yet, funds raised through a yard sale can help you build up your emergency fund, pay off debt or plan your next girls’ trip.
Three Bonus Tips for Spring
While you’re out enjoying the weather with the activities above, here are three more cost-saving strategies that will help you keep more cash in your pockets this spring.
1. Spring Clean Your Budget
It’s always worth it to revisit your budget every few months to make sure that you are still on the right track with your financial goals. This spring, take the opportunity to analyze your expenses for the past three months and identify a few areas for improvement. For example, you might consider saving money by canceling subscriptions you no longer use and negotiating utilities to lower your monthly costs.
2. Turn the Heat Off
Depending on where you live, now might be a good time to switch off the heat, open up the windows and watch your energy bill shrink.
3. Get Ready for Summer
Sinking funds are my secret tool for handling upcoming expenditures, especially in the summer when you may travel more than usual. What’s a sinking fund? This is specific fund that helps you save for a particular goal, like an upcoming vacation or major home repair. For example, you can anticipate expenses ahead of time and then allocate money to a certain fund with each paycheck. This way, the money will be waiting for you when you need it.
Better yet, you can build up your sinking funds by automating your savings. Chime makes it easy for you do this by helping you to save as soon as you get paid. If you open a Chime bank account and select Automatic Savings, Chime will automatically transfer 10% of every paycheck directly into your savings account. Another awesome Chime benefit is that you can save every time you spend. Chime actually rounds up each transaction made with your Chime debit card to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up amount directly into your Chime Savings account.
And there you have it: by automating and planning ahead, you’ll be on your way to saving for your summertime adventures!
With that, we wish you a happy and healthy budget-friendly spring!