Kacie Blogs

FREE – cheap things to do in almost any town

Frugal queen here again! Honestly, all I can think about right now is money. Everything has gotten more expensive and it has made my desire to save almost compulsive.

Entry fees, food and drink, ticket prices, gas and more have the normal weekend around town outside of the average person’s budget. Let’s start taking advantage of the wonderful things that our cities are providing us. I mean you are technically paying for some of these services through your tax dollars, might as well use them!



I know, I know. Seems so obvious. But have you been to all the parks? Or just the one by your house? Check them ALL out. Even the small ones (normally they end up being pretty private) make a great place for a picnic date.

Depending on your city, you parks could be pretty elaborate with sections you’ve yet to really explore. We love parks. I work out at them. Setup playdates at them. Bring crafts to them. Play pick-up games and more!

Splash pads:

They kind of go hand-in-hand with parks anymore but sometimes I’m surprised where I can find little splash pads. Check out your city’s website to see where your nearby splash pads are! Free entry + water fun = a summer day well spent.

For tips on having a worthwhile time at your local splash pad, check out my video below!



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Scavenger hunts:

Have you ever done a city-wide scavenger hunt? You can fill your day with learning about your town in a new and exciting way!

This can be FREE by making up your own- which my husband did for me once, years ago, and it was AWESOME!

You can also purchase scavenger hunts online based on location! Depending on your city, you might even have themed hunts available. Normally they are about $25 and it can be shared as a group activity. Ends up being more cost effective than a day doing something else.



Sidewalk sale:

Three ways you can participate in this activity! Either check out the sidewalk sales that happen weekly/monthly in your town, scope out garage sales (either driving around or from community pages announcing them, or PUTTING ON ONE YOURSELF!

Have a cool hobby that produces stuff? Be an entrepreneur for a day (if you aren’t already a business owner! 😉 ) Have kids? Let them try a lemonade stand! This is a chance to get creative for a day. Just remember to get proper permits if needed for what you’re doing.

I love a good yard sale! walkin’ away with great items on the cheap if you have a good eye! Sidewalk sales from the city or organized groups can be more expensive BUT you can also find amazing sales from local artisans you wouldn’t find on your own. WORTH IT!


When was the last time you went to the museum? Were you a kid on a field trip? If the answer is “yes,” then I can guarantee you will have a completely different experience this time and probably learn a thing or two more!

Museums are a great place to go back to time and time again. On top of new displays and interactive experiences, it’s an amazing place to let your kids explore and learn things in a way they just can’t inside a standard classroom.

You might be thinking, “doesn’t that get expensive?” It can. OR you can join the museum passport program. Kind of like a zoo membership! Pay the fee, get into the museum whenever- BUT that’s not all. Get access to OTHER museums across the country through the ASTC program. Check out a full list of participating museums where you’d also get free entry by clicking HERE.



Book Clubs:

Join a nearby book club! There’s probably one that meets in your neighborhood. They really are everywhere, just ask on a local Facebook group. Buying books can definitely add up price wise however we have many libraries and you can often check them out there, if not a hard copy, a digital one is often available! (Yes, you can download digital reads from your public library too.)

Speaking of the library… you can ask about book clubs and lots of other fantastic free-cheap programs there too. Lots of stuff for kids but also opportunities for adults.

Volunteer work:

No matter what city you’re in, there is no shortage of this. Open your eyes and look around. You’ll see opportunities posted to bulletin boards in coffee shops, your church, heck- even ALT AZ has chances to participate a couple times a year. If you think there aren’t ways to volunteer your time to make a change in your town- you’re not actually looking.

Here’s a quick link to one of just many organizations in Arizona. HERE.

Self-guided local art tour:

Take yourself on a tour through town! If you’re a local, you probably don’t need to pay a guide. Just map out a handful of locations to see underneath one theme and go for it. My favorite is to go mural hunting! If you’re lucky, you can see an artist at work.


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City-sponsored events:

You’re kind of paying for these with your taxes too, might as well go! You city likely puts on events alllll the time. Are you paying attention? Follow your city on social media platforms to make sure you’re seeing everything happening, including the fun events. Summer is full of both city-sponsored and traveling festivals.

I lean toward city events because they are normally open to the public (don’t require a ticket purchase for entry) so you only spend what you want inside the event and often many free things inside as well. Traveling festivals will have a ticket price that only covers a couple things inside and then you’re encouraged to make additional purchases.

Community health events:

Just like your city government, your local hospitals do a lot around town too. Events that are completely free with lots of activities geared towards educating kids. It’s the perfect way to “mix things up” with your kids without costing you. They will learn about their health, get to do an activity of some sort and probably will walk away with some freebies. You just might learn something as well.

Don’t have kids? There are still things geared toward adults. Free screenings and seminars on diet, staying healthy during flu season etc. are put on a couple times a year from hospital outreach programs. “Like” and follow your local hospitals to see what kind of extra services they are providing that you didn’t know about.

We really love to complain about how expensive everything is. AND IT IS. But not everything requires you to check your bank account. A little “research” (or a social media dive,) can go a long way to finding fun, FREE or cheap activities to do all summer long. Half of the fun of anything you do is the company you bring. Grab your friends and head out to do something you’ll feel good about after instead of something you’ll be paying off of your credit card bill.



Bye, Friends!