Writer / Aimee MacArthur
While I like the idea of a summer bucket list, it can feel a bit overwhelming. I prefer to make a short list, so I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can complete the list. Here are 5 inexpensive ideas to add to your summer bucket list. I guarantee you’ll save money and have some fun this summer.
1. I Scream, You Scream … Visit an Ice Cream Shop!
It doesn’t seem like summer unless I’m standing in front of an ice cream stand. I have many fond memories of visiting ice cream shops when I traveled with my family. I enjoy standing in line and chatting with other customers about what they plan to order. Long lines don’t matter to me when there’s an ice cream treat waiting at the end. My favorite ice cream splurges are a hot fudge sundae and a cherry soda with vanilla ice cream. Go with a group of family or friends and each choose something different. Ask for recommendations and try some fun flavor combinations. Make it a contest and vote on who ordered the best ice cream treat. Award the winner a gift card from the ice cream shop.
2. Happy Hummingbirds. Set Up a Hummingbird Feeder.
These tiny birds bring me so much joy. A hummingbird feeder is an inexpensive investment. Most feeders run between $10-$20. You will need a pole or a stand to hang the feeder and they are around $20 or less.
It’s easy to make the hummingbird nectar. It’s one part sugar to four parts water (1 cup of sugar 4 cups of water) and let boil. Let the solution cool and fill the feeder.
Hummingbirds are attracted to red, so be sure you have some red objects near the feeder. You can have red flowers or even a red patio umbrella. Hummingbirds will visit the feeder a handful of times a day. Believe me, they are fun to watch and sometimes I’ll have three or four at the feeder at one time. Delightful!
For more information on hummingbirds, visit the National Audubon Society at audubon.org.
3. Visit a Farmers Market
Summer is the time to appreciate local produce and other homemade goods. I enjoy stopping at a local farmers market and thinking of different things to cook. It’s a way for me to jump out of my comfort zone. I set a budget for myself before I go the market. A trip to the market doesn’t have to be expensive. A stop at a farmers market can be one-stop shopping for breads, dairy, produce and meat all in one trip. On a recent trip to my local farmers market, I purchased a loaf of country white bread, a couple of spice packets to make a fantastic meal, and some fresh produce. When I’m finished shopping, I sit on a bench and do some people watching and listen to music. It’s also a good time to see if I need to get anything else. I usually decide to make a few more stops at the market before I leave.
4. Go For a Sunset Walk
Some of the best sunsets are during the summer. You can’t beat the mix of amber and violet hues. I take my dog, Louis for long sunset walks, and I always bring my phone. It’s a chance to capture a few photos and send to friends and family. I get some ideas by looking at my neighbors’ yards. As an extra bonus, you’ll be getting in a healthy workout while enjoying a gorgeous sky. Perfection!
5. Chill and Grill
I can sometimes get into a grilling rut. Summer is the perfect time to shake up your grilling game. I like to make kabobs (veggie, chicken, shrimp, steak), which are inexpensive if you buy the ingredients and assemble them yourself. You can save money by using less meat and more vegetables. Don’t forget to season well with salt and pepper or spice mixes. Serve the kabobs with rice and a feta, tomato and cucumber salad and you’ve got a perfect meal. Grill packets are inexpensive and easy to make. Put veggies and potatoes in aluminum foil and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Seal them up and cook them on the grill. Fajitas are another fan favorite. Choose your veggies, protein and put them on the grill. Any of these meals can be enjoyed outside. Want to save a little more money? Check the grocery store ads and select your grill meal based on what meat and produce is on sale. Make your meal fun by taking photos of your grilled feast.
For more information on grilling, visit foodnetwork.com and search for grilling ideas and recipes.