The sun on our faces and the wind in our hair can make us feel like we don’t have a care in the world.  After a while, though, the trips to the beach, amusement parks and ice cream shops can really add up. Before you know it, all of that “carefree” spending can keep you up at night. Here are five ways to have fun without breaking the bank.

Set a Budget

Be realistic with yourself. It’s going to be almost impossible to avoid spending a little money on having fun so set a limit that you can live with. Review your income and responsibilities and set aside actual cash in an envelope. Only spend what you’ve given yourself as an allowance since it can be easy to lose track of purchases when you’re swiping a card.

Look For Discounts

Amusement parks always offer deals during the summer months – you just have to keep your eyes open. Coupons are sometimes offered through fast food restaurants and are printed on receipts or even cups. Other times, you might find deals on the boxes of soft drinks. You can also do a quick search online to see if you can save that way.

The same is true for foods commonly used for cookouts and picnics. Subscribe to your grocery store’s email flyer in order to keep track of when certain items are on sale.

Loyalty Cards

One of the best ways you can save money over the summer (or any time of the year) is with loyalty cards. Whether they give you a discount on purchases or allow you to accumulate points which can be used to offset your expenses, they can really be beneficial. Free movie tickets, free meals or discounted hotel stays can make a huge ticket when you’re trying to have fun.

Pack a Lunch

If you are going on a road trip or planning to spend the day at the beach, bring some of your own food to keep costs low. It’s amazing how much you can save by preparing your own lunches, drinks and snacks. Of course, always make sure you keep food at a safe temperature in a cooler or insulated bag. Also, if you are traveling and staying at a hotel, try to find one that provides a free breakfast.

Do Free Things

Going to the beach doesn’t cost anything, neither does spending a day hiking through a park. You may also discover that there are a number of free attractions and/or museums in your area that you’ve never explored. While it is true that the cost of living is steadily rising, you can still find free (or almost free) things to do if you look in the right places.