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15 budget-friendly ways to have fun this summer

What we'll cover

  • How to save and spend smartly for summer

  • Affordable, fun summer activities

  • How to enjoy the season without overspending

If you’re craving a summer jam-packed with exciting adventures and memory-making activities, you aren’t alone. Luckily, you don’t have to choose between summer fun and a season of saving. Check out our money-smart ways to have the best summer ever that won’t break the bank.

How buckets and boosters can help you save more

To help fund your summer fun, take advantage of Ally Bank’s buckets and boosters . These smart savings tools are part of your Ally Bank Savings Account. Buckets are like digital envelopes and allow you to organize your savings by goal. Create buckets to save for all your summer adventures from a quick getaway to a new bike.


Boosters supercharge your savings by doing some of the work for you. For instance, set up recurring transfers to have money automatically transferred into different buckets. Enable surprise savings, and we’ll analyze your spending to find areas where you can save. With round ups, you can round up your spending to the nearest dollar and automatically transfer the balance to your savings account once you’ve accrued at least $5.


Ready to have the best summer ever? Screenshot or download our bingo card to keep inspiration close by, and mark off activities as you complete them.

Image of a five by five summer fun bingo card. The squares read: try gardening, make fresh lemonade, watch the sunrise, break a world record, make homemade ice cream, make a DIY charcuterie board, go out dancing, read a library book, host a field day, have a backyard movie night, join a sports team, go on a virtual tour, free space, go night swimming safely, visit a free museum, hide a time capsule, picnic in the park, explore the farmers market, watch fireworks, bike/run/walk a half marathon, take a road trip, visit or call an old friend, do a local food and drink tour, enjoy a festival or concert and take a tech-free day.

Arts and entertainment

Skip summer blockbusters and expensive amusement parks, and look for local, affordable options instead.

1. Attend free museum days and local community events

Keep an eye on event calendars for any free entry days at museums, zoos and botanical gardens, as well as local parades and art fairs. Summer is a great time to get out in your community and meet your neighbors.

2. Check out local music

You don’t have to splurge on concert tickets this summer to enjoy the arts. Look at event management and ticket websites to find street fairs or concerts in the park for good vibes and good music.

Keep an eye on local calendars for museums, zoos and botanical gardens, as many offer occasional free entry for children or state residents

Outdoor activities

The best part about summer is getting outside and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Taking advantage of all mother nature has to offer throughout the season is often inexpensive, if not completely free. Consider these fun ideas for relishing the great outdoors this summer.

3. Backyard movie night

All you need is a small projector, a Bluetooth speaker and a plain white sheet (or a screen) to project your movie on. Then, grab the blankets and sleeping bags, plenty of popcorn and bug spray and settle in. (String lights optional but highly recommended.)

4. Pack a picnic for the park

The simple pleasure of a picnic is fun for the whole family. Bring a Frisbee or enjoy your feast near water for an afternoon dip. Bonus points: Plan a BYOB, potluck-style picnic brunch with a group of friends.

5. Discover your green thumb

Whether it’s flowers, succulents or tomatoes, summer is the perfect time to work on your gardening skills — and you don’t need a yard (or sunny window) to do it. Community gardens are a great way to meet others in your area and grow your own produce or share it with others.

6. Host a field day

Croquet, horseshoes, relay races, badminton, kickball and more — the options are endless. Gather neighborhood friends and family for some light-hearted competition and cap off the event with a potluck or BBQ.

7. Exercise outdoors

Skip the gym and get endorphins going outside. Try excursions like hikes or kayaking trips. Paddleboarding is a fun and tough workout that beats the elliptical any day.

8. Find the nearest body of water

Maybe it’s the neighborhood swimming pool, a nearby lake or the ocean — jumping in the water on a hot day is a summer staple. Bring some blow-up floats, plenty of sunscreen and keep cool with a day by the water.


Summer fun can also be good for your mind, body and spirit. Enter autumn a new and improved you with these activities focused on health and wellness.

9. Join a rec sports league or club

Scan your city to find adult sports leagues for soccer, beach volleyball, softball and more. Or join a jogging club or outdoor yoga class. Whether you go with a group of friends or sign-up solo, it’s a great way to expand your circle in a not too competitive environment.

10. Explore the farmers market

Fresh produce, beautiful flowers, artisan goods … a farmers market is an ideal place to mosey around on a weekend morning. Go with a friend and plan to make a fresh and delicious lunch together afterwards using only farmers market finds. Or pick up a locally grown bouquet to bring to someone you haven’t seen in a while.

11. Bike a half marathon

No crowded races required. Just search “bike trails near me” and you’ll be sure to find plenty of nearby options. Then, pick a scenic route, grab a helmet and water bottle and cross 13.1 miles off your list.

Create and explore

You don’t have to spend a lot to have an adventurous summer. These creative ideas are anything from boring.

12. Take a day trip

Sometimes, getting away for just one day is the best way to add some adventure into your life — especially when it’s spontaneous. Get up early on a Saturday morning, pack some snacks and hit the road to a neighboring town, park or venue.

13. Hide a time capsule

This is a super fun way to make memories with your kids, nieces and nephews or your friends. Give everyone a few categories of items to collect, seal them up in a box and find somewhere safe to bury or hide it for the next few years. (Just don’t forget where it is.)

14. Make your own ice cream

All you need is cream, condensed milk and toppings of your choice! It’s that easy to prepare this sweet summer treat.

15. Make the most of a rainy day

A summer storm doesn’t mean the fun needs to be put on hold with the kiddos. Enjoy the great indoors with fun at-home activities like our Planet Zeee and the Money Tree book and interactive financial education games or video games. Or, if your kiddos are itching to get out of the house, visit your local library where they can pick titles that offer the ultimate escape.

Skip the spending, not the fun

Saving money during the summer months doesn’t mean you’re doomed to days of boredom. Use the features and tools in Ally Bank’s Savings Account to set aside funds for “summer fun,” and, armed with our bingo card of ideas, you’ll find some of the best ways to make the most of these long, hot days.

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