Summer Fun for Less


Summer is arriving and with it, lots of time for fun and playing.  Summer is one of my favorite seasons.  I love having my boys home and the “summer folk” lifestyle we lead over the next couple of months.  But summer can also mean more expenses as we embark on having fun and enjoying the warmer months. There is a way to save on summer fun — you just need to know why summer can be more expensive and then plan around those things to save.

First of all, our grocery bill seems to increase in summer because the kids are eating lunch and snacks at home instead of school.  This means I’d better start stocking up and baking now.   I like to have food in the freezer which the kids can help themselves to without a lot of fuss.  So, I will be freezing up lots of these awesome burritos (click for recipe) in the next couple of weeks.  Our family loves them!  Matched with some fresh carrots or lettuce from the garden, they work well as a lunch but are also an awesome snack!  Plus, they are so inexpensive to make!  (Rosauers has  Mission tortillas for 99 cents this week!)

Trail mix is another great snack to have handy and a homemade version made with cereal (which you hopefully got for under a $1), mixed with raisins, pretzels, chocolate chips and nuts will be a favorite among old and young alike!

In the heat of the summer, there is nothing like a frozen popsicle.  Making your own is fun, healthy and inexpensive.  Be on the lookout for a good deal on fruit juice and then stock up!  Simply, pour your juice into popsicle molds (empty yogurt cups work too) and freeze.  It’s so easy and fun to make healthy and inexpensive popsicles!

Stock up now on sunscreen and bug spray.  There are good coupons out there this week and some decent sales for both these items.  I picked up two Neutrogena sunscreens last week at CVS for 99 cents each.  These are things which cost an arm and leg at full price and when you need them, you NEED them regardless of price.  So, plan ahead and stock up when you can get them cheap.

BBQ’s and picnics will soon be on everyone’s calendars.  You’d be money-wise to stock up on paper goods, condiments and drinks right now while the sales are sizzling hot!  Oh, and don’t forget the makings for s’mores!  Click here for free marshmallows!  We go through lots of these gooey treats in the summertime!

If you are planning lots of get- togethers with family and friends, consider doing it potluck style.  Not only is this easier on your budget, but everyone likes brining something to share anyway.  It’s a fun way to try some different dishes and make your guests feel a part of the party.

Gas prices are high right now and are only expected to go higher this summer.  You can cut your gas budget by taking advantage of the season and bike or walk instead of driving.  Or when you do drive, try to consolidate your trips so you aren’t making lots of individual runs.   If you’re traveling this summer, consider taking advantage of places like Costco and Safeway that offer discounts on their gas.  Also, CVS is offering a deal this summer for gas cards.  Check it out here.

As far as activities are concerned, I’m pretty old fashioned and believe parents don’t need to entertain our kids every waking moment of the day.  My favorite summer days are spent watching my boys just playing in the sandbox, playing made-up games together, swimming in our pool (bought with money we made at our garage sale 2 yrs ago), riding bikes and just being kids.

We are selective about any camps they attend…making sure we leave plenty of room for summer fun.  There are endless opportunities in Missoula for inexpensive summer fun–everything from Out to Lunch at Caras Park to summer reading programs at the library.  Make It Missoula has the “411” on many great things to entertain your entire family and guests who may be visiting this summer!

We are blessed to live in Missoula—with its beautiful and recreational surroundings.   My goal for this summer is to take my boys on a new hike every other week.  It may just be a loop around Fort Missoula or as elaborate as an all day hike up Blodgett Canyon in the Bitterroot.  There’s very little cost involved but the reward is priceless!

I encourage you and your family to be creative while you get out and explore Montana this summer…your wallet AND your camera will thank you!

Enjoy this blog?  You might also like Erin’s previous posts on Saving with Menu Planning, Frugality as a Lifestyle, and Stockpiling.

Back to the Save It blog home page.  AND, be sure to check out the “Missoula Save it Club”  on the home page of (See the Daily Missoula Fix buttons in the left navigation bar) for savings updates throughout the week!

Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It” archive.


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for her family.