10 Affordable Outdoor Summer Activities

Looking for some affordable outdoor summer activities? The summertime is quickly approaching, and most of us are already excited about all the fun things we plan to do, like lounging by the pool, going on vacation, and relaxing with friends and family.

But what about those who aren’t so keen on breaking the bank to live life to the fullest? You can still have fun this summer without spending tons of money. We’ve put together a list of affordable outdoor summer activities that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

1.) Hiking

Even if you don’t live in the mountains, you can still have a fantastic hiking trip. You’ll be amazed at the number of trails you can discover in your neighborhood. It’s easy to find trails near you by visiting your city’s parks and recreation page or searching online.

This is a great yet free way to get out of the house and into the natural world. Hiking is an excellent way to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There are also many opportunities for camping along many hiking trails, so you could easily turn a day hike into an overnight adventure.

Try rock climbing if you’re looking for something more intense than just walking on flat ground. Rock climbing allows people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy being outside while challenging themselves physically.

2.) Kayaking

Whether you’re looking for a new physical challenge or just want to enjoy nature, kayaking is a fun, low-cost activity that all ages can enjoy. The best part? Kayaking doesn’t require any special equipment—all you need is a paddle and life vest (both are available at local stores).

Don’t want to spend money on renting/buying equipment? Try checking out your local lake association website; many offer free kayak rentals during certain times of the year.

3.) Camping

Various state and national parks offer affordable camping options, so you can still get out there and experience nature without breaking your budget. Try pitching a tent at a local park instead of renting a hotel room for a night, or try out one of many camping apps that help you find new campgrounds in your area.

And don’t forget about nearby National Forests. Most are free to enter, and many have developed campsites with basic amenities like picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and running water.

Just remember: you must pack everything in (including food) and pack everything out when you leave. If you plan on having a fire while camping—which is a great way to make food taste better—you’ll need a permit from your local forest service office before heading out into the woods.

4.) Visit A Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite activities, farmer’s markets, is a great place to shop for fresh produce, meat, and even handmade products. Farmer’s markets are typically very affordable (depending on where you live), so they can be great ways to save money while shopping.

Not only will you be buying healthy, organic food, but you will also be supporting local farmers, which is a fantastic way of giving back to your community.

5.) Enjoy The Outdoors At Night

For those who don’t mind getting dirty, you can have tons of fun with outdoor activities at night. Start by going stargazing. Here’s how to make your first outing a huge success. Try an evening bike ride or walk if you’re looking for something more active.

The extra darkness will give you a whole new perspective on your surroundings and allow you to see things that are usually hidden in plain sights—like fireflies. If biking isn’t your thing, why not try paddleboarding?

 It is an excellent low-impact way to enjoy some water time after sunset.

6.) Picnics

Whether on a sandy beach or in your backyard, picnics are one of the summer’s most enjoyable experiences. They’re low-key, affordable, and a great opportunity for family bonding time.

If you want to save money while still having fun with your loved ones, consider packing a picnic instead of going out to eat. Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies (or even trail mix) and cut down on costs by bringing reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones at restaurants.

7.) Go for a Bike Ride

Biking is an incredibly fun and inexpensive way to get outside and enjoy a great summer day. It doesn’t have to be competitive, but it can be if you want it. Get together with friends or family and plan your route ahead of time.

Take turns leading, so everyone can experience leadership while having fun outside together.

8.) Go Swimming

Swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy, from children to elderly adults. Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and a good workout for your upper body and core muscles.

Additionally, swimming burns more calories per hour than most other exercises. Even if you’re a beginner, you can start swimming today. You can swim at home if you have a pool or access to a community pool or visit one of many local pools in your area.

If you live near water, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go for a refreshing dip in nature. No matter what type of swimming environment suits you best, it’s likely that there are affordable options available near where you live.

9.) Nature Walks

Hiking and walking through nature is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s a great activity that doesn’t require much money, but it also helps make you healthier, feels more alive, and sleep better at night.

Find an old hiking trail or nature walk near you for a great (and free) way to enjoy summer. You can even bring your pet along.

10.) Local Fairs/Festivals

There are so many local fairs and festivals happening all summer long that you really can’t afford not to visit at least once. It doesn’t matter where you live—there are events worth seeing, no matter where you are.

Many of these events also have special activities for kids so that it can be a fun but cheap activity for families. Looking at your state’s tourism site is a great place to start; most offer an event calendar for each region.

Paying for summer activities can be a burden on many families. But there are plenty of free or low-cost activities that provide tons of fun and entertainment. From parks to libraries to museums, you’ll find something here.

And don’t forget about all those great outdoors—you can have an entire day of affordable outdoor summer activities. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy your summer.

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Top Summer Deals Available

Are you looking for the top summer deals of the year? Summer is supposed to be an easy and carefree season, but it can also be expensive. Between buying summer clothes, stocking up on food, and other expenses, things can add up. Luckily, you can take advantage of some of the top summer deals available to save money while still enjoying the best of what summer has to offer.

Best Summer Food Deals

Get the top summer deals in the world of food and dessert. Grab a quick meal, a pint of ice cream, and enjoy the sunset!

Restaurant and Fast Food Deals

Forget the dollar menu. The best food deals at chain and fast food restaurants are available through their rewards programs and apps. Most restaurants even offer free food just for signing up for their rewards program.

Here are some of the best restaurant food rewards programs offering free food:

  • Wendy’s app always has free sandwich and/or fry offers.
  • McDonald’s has an ongoing free fries offer along with plenty of other free food deals
  • Burger King has a buy one, get one free Whopper deal for new sign ups
  • Jack in the Box always has a free fries offer along with other food deals
  • Auntie Anne’s gives you a free pretzel after your first purchase
  • Applebee’s awards a free appetizer for signing up for its rewards program

Summer Ice Cream Deals

Obviously, summer is the season of ice cream. Check out these amazing summer ice cream deals to enjoy this treat on the cheap:

Best Deals on Clothing This Summer

There are certain clothing brands and department stores that always seem to have special deals and sales going on throughout the summer.

Department Stores With Clothing Deals

If you’re looking to get name-brand clothing for less, you should check out the latest sales and deals available at Macy’s and JCPenney. At the very least, you’ll be able to get 20-percent off of your purchase at any given time of year. Keep an eye open in August, though, when summer clothing really starts to get discounted to make way for back-to-school goods.

  • Check out JCPenney’s clearance section for up to 70-percent off and clothing as low as under $5.00.
  • See the latest sales from Macy’s for steep discounts on clothing as well as additional coupons for money off of your purchases.
  • Nordstrom Rack is the place for top designer brands at up to 60-percent off and more
  • You can snag some great gems at Neiman Marcus Last Call, though it may take some browsing
  • Saks Off 5th has deals of up to 60-percent off of off the rack clothing and you can also get an additional 10-percent off when you sign up for its rewards

Big Brand Outlets for Big Summer Savings

Where do all the previous year’s styles and surplus stock go? For many big clothing brands, they go to their outlet stores. It used to be that you had to go to actual physical outlet shops for these bargains, but nowadays you can shop online.

Here are the big brand clothing outlet stores with the best prices and deals:

  • J.Crew Factory with deals for as much as 50-percent off
  • Banana Republic Factory has clothing for 50 to 70-percent off of its retail prices (and an additional 15-percent off when you sign up for emails)
  • REI Outlet for great pricing on outdoor clothing and gear
  • Reebok Outlet has sneakers for 25-percent off and more
  • 6pm is the outlet store for Zappos and offers great bargains on clothing, bags, and shoes for everyone

Deals on Phones and Electronics

Need a new phone or headphones for your summer travels? You don’t have to pay full price to get some of the latest technology.

  • Best Buy Outlet has deals on clearance and open-box items that are brand new but heavily discounted.
  • eBay has actually done a lot of work to modernize its platform and offers some fantastic refurbished electronics at a huge discount, including phones, headphones, and more. It has an eBay Certified program that guarantees products for a year to two years after purchase.
  • Amazon Renewed offers deals on refurbished electronics that are guaranteed by Amazon, including phones, computers, tablets, and more.
  • If you switch to T-Mobile, they’ll pay off your phone from your previous service provider up to $800.
  • Woot! is an Amazon company that offers flash deals on all kinds of products, including electronics and other big-ticket items.

Photo Prints and Products

Want to save some of the memories you create this summer? Shutterfly and other platforms have tons of fabulous photo products (like canvas prints, books, gifts) and deals on photo prints. Discounts vary over the summer, but first time customers can usually always get a bunch of free prints and there are almost offers for 20-percent off.

  • Check out the latest summer deals from Shutterfly.
  • Snapfish always has discounts available on its photo products and free prints available
  • CVS Photo has great photo services that you can pick up nearby and always has deals and coupons.
  • Walgreens Photo offers photo deals for money off of photo prints and other photo products.

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Tips for Finding an Affordable Car

Finding an affordable car is one of the biggest purchase decisions you can make at any given time, and it’s important to get the best possible price. However, dealerships are looking out for their bottom line, and they know exactly what they can do to game you into spending more than you should. To get the best deal for your dollar, we’ve created this guide to help you get your next vehicle as cheaply as possible.

Get Preapproved for a Loan

Getting pre-approved for a loan can seem like a waste of time; however, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Did you know that car dealerships will often jack up the interest rate on a loan that they’ll eventually split with the financial institution? To avoid this, go into the dealership with a preapproved loan offer and see if the dealership will match it. This can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Focus on One Transaction at a Time

A lot of people go to a car dealership with the intention of trading in their car for a new one. As the car salesman comes up, they’ll ask if your car is a trade-in. The first mistake most people make is saying, “Yes.” Why? Because many salespeople will low-ball your trade-in while trying to sell you a car for as much as possible. Instead, say that you’re simply looking to purchase a car. The salesperson is more likely to give you a lower offer. After agreeing to a price, you’ll then be able to mention your trade-in (make sure you check it on a site like Kelly Blue Book for a ballpark estimate). This allows you to get the most money for your car while getting a lower price on your new one.

When Finding an Affordable Car, Ignore Add Ons

Dealers will offer you a ton of add-ons, ranging from “free” oil changes to tire protection. These add-ons add up quickly, and many times are severely marked up from what they would normally cost. Instead, simply tell the salesperson you’re not interested. You’re not going to miss these add-ons and you’ll save several thousand off the purchase price.

Don’t Go Long-Term

Long-term loans can seem great on paper. They’re allowing you to purchase your dream car for significantly less per month. Rather than spending three years paying everything off, you can look forward to 6-7 to pay it off. What can go wrong? It’s important to remember that the dealership is looking to make money—and that 6-7 years means they are making significantly more when it comes to interest. Instead, look to pay off your car as quickly as feasibly possible.

Buy Used

While we all may dream of a flashy new car, there are plenty of excellent used models available as well. Used cars, especially those 3 years and under, will commonly offer many of the same features for significantly less than what a new model is selling for. The main thing to remember here is to really research what’s available and how much they are worth. There’s no reason to pay almost as much for a used car as the same car new would cost.

Pay with Cash

While this may seem impossible, paying with cash is an excellent method to get the lowest possible rate. Nothing speaks to dealers more than cash; it’s going directly to them and allowing the purchasing of new inventory. Most will give you their lowest possible price if they know you’re paying with cash.

Check Your Credit

Before going in to purchase a car, it’s important to know your credit score. Do you have a lot of inquiries? Is your credit score in need of some help? Take the time to fix your credit as much as possible before purchasing a car. Next, go in armed with your credit score. If the dealership offers you a high-interest loan, you’ll have the information at your fingertips to explain why you should get a better deal.

Be Flexible

Many people go into a dealership knowing exactly what kind of car they’ll want. Some even get as specific as certain colors, trims, rims, etc. However, dealerships see these people coming a mile away, and they’re more than happy to charge these people top dollar to get the vehicle they want. Instead of setting your heart on one specific car, you should be willing to be flexible with your options. Look at a variety of colors, makes and models before making a decision. You might find a car you like even more.

Look at Ownership Costs

That sporty little European number would look great in your garage; however, are you willing to pay the maintenance costs if something goes wrong? What about the gas costs of a large SUV? Ownership cost is an overlooked aspect of car ownership; however, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By knowing exactly what you can expect to spend, you can plan on whether or not a car is right for you.

Consider Leasing

Do you want the latest model every few years? Want a cheaper payment? Leasing might be for you. While you won’t get the equity that comes with ownership, you won’t need to worry about a lot of things that can possibly go wrong with the car. The best part? If you love a car, you’ll have an option to purchase it after the lease is over. This makes the process of finding an affordable car easy.

Finding an affordable car is one of the biggest decisions you will make. In order to get the best possible price, you need to follow certain steps, including getting pre-approved for a loan, being flexible with what kind of car you will buy and looking at the actual ownership costs. Whether you decide to get a used car that you know will be reliable at a discounted price or a brand new sports-car for those weekends away is up to you; however, by following the tips above, you can get the best price on your next car.

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All About Online Installment Loans

Online installment loans are the new way to get the money that you need. Everything in life is going fine when suddenly, you’re hit with a major medical expense for your dog. Or maybe you want to take your dream vacation after fantasizing about it for years, but you simply don’t have enough money. In order to get funds fast, many people will opt to pay for these things with an online installment loan. However, what is an online installment loan? Are there pros and cons? What can you use an installment loan for? Read on to get the answers to all these questions.

What is an Online Installment Loan?

An installment loan is a common loan structure. Unlike credit cards or a line of credit, called revolving credit, installment loans are a set amount of money you pull out at once to pay for a specific item. You will have the amount needed already determined before borrowing and will pay in installments. The most common types of installment loans are mortgages and auto loans; however, there are other causes for installment loans as well—usually falling under the term “personal loan.” Personal loans will have a slightly higher interest rate being there’s no collateral; however, most people get them paid off relatively quickly.

Pros of an Installment Loan

There are many benefits to installment loans, such as:

Know Your Payment Schedule

When you decide to take out an installment loan, you will know exactly what terms the borrower is placing on you, how long the loan will last for, and when you can expect to have it paid off. This allows you to plan your finances around paying off the loan rather than worrying about what your next payment amount will be.

Debt Will Be Paid Off

Revolving credit can feel overwhelming—especially if you add to it each month. With an installment loan, you’ll be required to pay it off in a certain amount of time. Once you reach that date, assuming no missed payments, you’ll be done with the loan.

Examples of What You Can Use Installment Loans For

Installment loans are commonly used for the following:

Vacations – $2,000

The average American plans on spending roughly $2,000 per vacation, and many people will pull out a loan in order to make up for the costs. Sites like Affirm will offer 12-month installment plans for sites like Orbitz and Expedia, allowing you to get instant approval for the exact amount you choose to spend.

Car Repairs – $600+

According to AAA, the average car repair costs about $600, but expenses can quickly go much higher, depending on the state of the car. Some car repair places will offer financing programs; however, many people can get the amount they need from their bank.

Unexpected Expenses

Emergencies happen, and these unexpected emergencies can quickly add up when it comes to expenses. Rather than over-exerting your bank accounts or credit cards, a personal loan can get you out of an unexpected bind.

Pet Care – $500-$1,000+

Pets are wonderful companions, but they also rack up extremely high veterinary costs. The American veterinary industry makes an average of $14 billion a year; people want to keep their pets around as long as possible, and it takes a lot of money to make that happen. The average person can expect to spend anywhere from $500-$1,000/year on their pets; however, these costs can quickly skyrocket if a pet is diagnosed with a serious condition.

Home Improvements – $15,00-$200,000

Your home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life, and people want to ensure their home looks as wonderful as possible. Renovating a home is a fun experience, but it can easily exceed $15,000—especially if you need to renovate the entire home or more expensive areas like kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Technology – $500-$2,500+

The technology industry moves extremely quickly, and people spend a ton of money each year. How much exactly? About $1.94 trillion USD per year to be precise. With more and more people opting to work from home, we can see tech spending increase as new computers and accessories are purchased for work. To mitigate these expenses, a personal loan can help you buy the equipment you need.

Medical Bills – $12,500+

Medical emergencies sadly come at a price, and the average American expects to have roughly $12,500 in medical bills at any given time. Of course, some people have significantly more, and these bills can feel soul-crushing. Many hospitals and banks offer medical debt relief programs, allowing you to pay your bills over time for significantly less.

Moving Costs – $800-$2,500

Moving is a wonderful experience, but getting your stuff from point A to point B is expensive. With the average move costing roughly $1,400, it’s not shocking that many people look to secure an installment loan to pay for the costs. Moving companies may offer you a plan through their business while others will require you to secure funds through a bank.

Online installment loans are an excellent option for those who need a large amount of cash fast. From veterinary bills to moving expenses, an installment loan can help you pay for the things you need over the course of several months or years rather than needing to pay for everything up front.

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How to Start a Garden on a Budget

Spring and summer are perfect seasons to start a garden on a budget. Getting your hands dirty and growing fruits, vegetables and flowers is an ideal stress reliever for many people; however, the costs associated with gardening can quickly add up. Luckily, there are numerous ways to garden cheaply while still getting the most out of your space. Read on to learn how to get your dream garden by purchasing what you need, where to get it, and planning your space perfectly.

5 Essential Tools for a Home Garden

There are an assortment of gardening tools available; however, the beginner gardener can get by just fine with the following:


Whether you decide to purchase hand shears or loopers (long-handled pruners), sheers allow you to keep your plants nice and tidy by clipping away excess growth, dead stems, etc. The main thing to remember when using shears is not to go crazy with the removal as this can kill the plant. Finally, make sure you do not prune the top of the plant as this will inhibit new growth. There are an assortment of shears available, however, most people will be fine with a bypass pruner.


Depending on what’s in your beds, gardening can become a painful activity. Thorns and weeds can all cause damage to the hands—in addition to getting dirt under your nails. Gardening gloves will allow you to keep your hands nice and clean while working outside, protecting your hands all day long. Purchase gloves that are durable but not bulky, fit your hands and offer longer cuffs to protect your wrists and arms.


A trowel is best thought of like a mini shovel, and it will more than pay for itself as you garden. From digging plant holes for transplanting to removing weeds, a trowel will quickly become one of your most-used gardening tools. Look for a trowel that’s comfortable in your hand and made with a stainless-steel head for durability.


Leaves, debris and weeds can all make a garden look unseemly; however, a quality rake can make cleanup a breeze. While most people will remember the cheap, lightweight green rakes that used to dominate gardening, gardeners now realize the best rakes are a more solid metal design. While these rakes aren’t quite as cheap, they will last you for years to come.


Wheelbarrows make gardening in larger areas significantly easier, allowing you to transport large amounts of soil, rock or mulch with ease. They also make you put less strain on your back. The humble wheelbarrow comes in a variety of different forms; however, most people will choose a double-handle if they’re planning on lifting a lot of heavy material while a single-handle allows for more versatility and is easier to balance.

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

Now that you have all the tools you need for your garden, it’s time to begin planning and building your space:

Utilize Containers

If you have limited space or want to bring color to a specific area of your yard, container gardening might be the right call for you. Simply choose containers that fit with the scheme you’re looking for and plant flowers, vegetables or fruits (there are even smaller varieties of fruit trees for this) in containers for a beautiful garden space. Worried about watering? Depending on where you live, you might be able to pipe water lines directly into the containers.

Reuse What You Have

If you are the ultimate DIY-er, this tip is right up your alley. Look around your home for old furniture or furnishings that you aren’t using. You’d be shocked at how great a planter door can look or the versatility that comes with repurposing a nightstand as a garden table.

Attract Wildlife

Squirrels, birds and butterflies are garden staples, and it’s important to create things that will attract them to your garden space. While we’re not advocating for a Snow White experience, adding or planting elements that attract wildlife creates a whole new dimension to your yard. Look to add a couple birdhouses, squirrel feeders and butterfly attracting plants to your garden.

Look At Veggies

One of the main things people love about gardening is the ability to grow their own food. However, many people also want a garden that looks beautiful with plenty of flowers as well. To solve this conundrum, consider planting bright vegetable plants among your flowers. Chilis and tomatoes are popular with many due to their bright, colorful fruits; however, berries and squash can create lively additions as well.

Grow Up, Not Out

If you have limited garden space, it can be difficult to plan a garden that fits everything you want in it. However, instead of looking to garden out, consider gardening up. Upright planters can allow you to utilize otherwise empty wall space either by offering a trellis for climbing varieties or with small pots scattered on a board. Furthermore, hanging pots can be placed nearly anywhere, giving pops of color to otherwise dreary areas. Once you begin gardening up, the possibilities are endless.

Create a Focal Point

Once you plant a garden on a budget, you’ll likely want to spend some time out there. Consider creating a focal point area that you and your guests can enjoy. This can be as simple as a conversational area with repurposed furniture to bigger focal points like gazebos, ponds or even an outdoor cinema space. Take the time to consider what you and your loved ones like to do and create a space that reflects those interests.

Gardening cheaply isn’t impossible once you know what to do. From having the five necessary tools to looking to create a garden that matches your interests, creating a beautiful outdoor space is likely more affordable than you would expect. Whether you decide to create a miniature wildlife refuge, grow enough fruit- and vegetable-producing plants to feed a small town, or want to make a flower garden that anyone will envy, following the above tips will help you create the garden of your dreams.

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