Simple summer fun on a budget

With summer’s gorgeous weather finally here, Australia is doing its best to show off. If you’re saving for your own piece of the homeowner pie, you can still enjoy the best of the season. Here are 10 top ideas for summery fun that won’t hit your hip pocket.

The sun’s shining, the beach is calling and you can feel that magic in the air – summer in Australia is hard to beat. Just because you’re watching your wallet in the hope of securing your own home, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy summer’s charms. Check out these great ideas for summery activities that prove that skimping on your budget doesn’t mean missing out on fun.  

Home delivery

Going out for dinner at a restaurant can be expensive – especially when you add drinks, desserts, transport and babysitter costs in! Embrace home entertaining with a difference – get your friends on board with creating the meal together! Concoct a “degustation” (fancy or kid-friendly) and each bring a small course, or throw your own pizza party: assign all your friends a different ingredient genre (cheese, meats, vegetables) and see what sort of delicious combinations you come up with as you sip, munch and chat the night away. Here’s some inspiration to get your started.

Staycation sensation

We often clock some serious hours travelling to a beach destination overseas, when we have so many to choose from close by. Switch to holiday mode, pack everything up and head for a day at the beach or community pool, with all the creature comforts of home to return to. If you have kids, take it in turns to have a tiny bit of ‘alone time’ and finish the day with ice-cream and fish and chips – perfection. Check out experienceoz.com.au or your local council websites to find some brilliant spots.

Get your geek on

There are loads of amazing freebies to discover. Visit your local library to borrow books, DVDs and magazines, hit the museums to marvel at all manner of curiosities or lose yourself in a gallery. Check out artguide.com.au/galleries to see what’s on and where.

Wholesale magic

Summer sees the very best food produced. Research your local direct-from-farm wholesalers of fruit, vegies and meat to save big and get amazing fresh food. Many companies even deliver direct to your door – bonus. Check out farmersmarkets.org.au to find markets near you.

Play tourist

Find out where the top tourist spots in your area and visit the ones you’ve been neglecting. Better yet, pack your camera and find new ways to look at your city through the photographer’s lens. Or, with a friend or partner, take it in turns to be the guide to a new suburb. Perhaps you could organise your routes based on food, second-hand stores, markets and other landmarks. Think of it as a ‘suburb safari’ – a holiday without the flights and hotels. Check out australia.com to find local landmarks.

Lights, camera, action

Forgo those pricey tickets and host your own movie night, though with the added benefit of no crowds, no queuing and a personalised candy bar. Go one better and get creative with your popcorn toppings – salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate. Who says you have to stop at butter? Check out taste.com.au for inspiration for your candy bar.

Take a hike

Jump on your state’s national parks websites to discover the variety of treks close to you. You can find hikes that match your fitness (and dedication) level as well as scout the ideal spots for snapping the scenery and wildlife. Some Lendlease communities have trails right in your back yard. Check them out at the Communities website.

Play the game

A picnic in the park when the sun is shining is always a good option, but why not put a competitive spin on your day and have friends bring their favourite board games? Add in snacks to keep the players performing at their peak and battle it out for ultimate bragging rights. Visit parksaustralia.gov.au to find the perfect spot to host your day.

Tune in

When the temperature soars, you need an activity that requires minimum output. The internet offers a great selection of free podcasts, covering a range of topics, so that scorcher of a summer day finds a happy remedy when you crank up the fan and tune in (or out) to a podcast on a subject that speaks to you. Visit au.complex.com/pop-culture/the-30-best-podcasts-right-now to find a match for you.

Watch & learn

Add another string to your bow and pick up a new skill with user-friendly online tutorials and apps. If you can dream it, you can find a tutorial on YouTube for it. Always wanted to juggle? Do it. Want to learn the basics of surfing before paddling out? The time is now. Simply search the web and you’ll find step-by-steps videos. And though an international trip might not currently fit in your budget, you can learn the language of your dream destination with the help of an app. Once you’ve reached your savings goal, you’ll be ready to chat with the locals. Here are some top tutorials available on YouTube