It’s summer time again and there never seems to be enough time to get to all those things you’ve always wanted to do. How can we have the BEST summer imaginable and do it on a budget? Well let’s first see what elements make up the best summer.
Elements of Your Best Summer
It is often said that possessions won’t bring you happiness, while we all know that’s true its still the experience of those possessions that bring us the greatest joy. It is not the boat itself that brings you joy and pleasure, it’s the major wipe outs on the water tube or the first time your son or daughter makes it up out of the water on their own on water skis. Its not the cottage itself (and all the bugs and cleaning that it makes for) that makes you smile uncontrollably, it’s the space it provides that gathers all the people you love the most in a space outside of your every day, the oasis it creates that you crave. The camaraderie and the memories that will last for years to come of uncle bob getting whacked on the head by little johnnies marshmallow on fire.
If we are truly honest with ourselves it’s the moments we crave, the playfulness, the spontaneity, the sense of adventure or contentedness that makes us well up with gratitude and after the summer is all over a sense of pleasure and fondness as we look back.
So how do we create that feeling and do it on a budget? This type of thing is fun for me; it’s always a challenge to see how I can create the most fun on the least budget! (If you play it like a game, you’ll have fun even just trying to do it). Growing up on the farm, and having no TV I’m very familiar with generating my own fun, I was taught to appreciate the simple things and to laugh and play at whatever I am doing. Here are my top 5 Tips for creating an epic summer you’ll never forget and look back on fondly as the summer that rocked!
Tip Number 5: Make your own sunscreen!
This will be cheaper, and healthier for you. There are plenty of chemicals in your sunscreen and while we want to lather up, think about all those chemicals being on your skin (the biggest organ in your body). You can find plenty of recipes online. Your kids will thank you and you can brag to your friends about having oodles of it on hand, and how you made it yourself, inevitably earning serious respect from your friends on the beach.
Tip number 4: Buy bulk meat
You’ll be the hostess with the most-ess. Bulk meat is it cheaper per pound if you get it direct from a farmer, and you’ll always have it on hand. You get access to cost averaging and you can buy your steaks for the same price as your ground beef! So if there is a spontaneous barbeque being discussed over twitter or your husband wants to have the boys over, or your kids all of a sudden want to have the entire kindergarten class over you’ll be super prepared. You’ll also be feeding them super healthy food too- bonus! This will also create for reduced stress when you want to go away for camping or cottaging, you’ll have the best part covered – your grass fed, farmer direct organic meat!
Tip number 3: Fun in the Simple Things
Get your creative brain working, make up an adventure, half of the fun is simply creating it – get dreaming!!! I was up on a weekend away and I found myself on a fishing boat with a native fisherman and learning about the fishing lifestyle and casting REAL nets, I then found myself venturing over to take a look at an old tug boat that could be restored, even if you don’t have the money, create projects half of the fun is just in the dreaming! Geo-Caching is a brilliant way to get your mind into adventure mode. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to, ask them about their lives, be curious, remember when you were 6 the adventure that existed around every corner? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the mortgage payments and a schedule can get filled up really quickly with weddings and kids adventures. Take some time to set aside for just doing nothing, or doing things that present themselves, follow your nose and take a page out of the Jim Carrey movie “Yes Man”.
Tip number 2: Make your own wine!
This can be great for all the long weekends, its better for you and you can give it as hostess gifts when you’re invited to cottages or weekend places. Its pennies compared to buying all that wine in the store, this may also give you an excuse to lounge by a fire pit you never use or take a little picnic basket to a favourite remote escape with a special someone. You wont have to feel guilty after a weekend of guests at the cottage and entertaining them when it costs you 3 dollars per bottle!
You can also pick your own flavours, and the experience of learning about wine is fun too! You’ll be your family’s own wine connoisseur
Tip Number 1: Put a hold on that gym membership!
Gasp! I know, even if you don’t use the gym, just having the membership gives you a sense of safety, you always know you could go if you really needed to. Well I’m going to proudly pronounce that gyms are for the winter, people. Exercise opportunities are endless during the summer. Join a pick up ultimate Frisbee team, try a new sport, look for adult recreational opportunities- or better yet, CREATE them! I’m sure you all have kids in soccer or T-ball, and everyone brings a lawn chair and sits. I say you either better bring that wine you made, or get other moms to do some small exercises with you. Jump on your trampoline or swim in your swimming pool, play beach volleyball… GET out and GET active! It also makes you new friends, asking passers by to join into a game of catch or pick up flag football in the park will open up your circle of friends, you never know who you could run into. Not to mention it’s the rush you get from exercise and meeting new people all in one- bonus!