About two years ago, my husband and I ventured to the Dallas area for his schooling at UT Southwestern. We were down to one income, and the struggle was real when it came to inclusive fun that didn’t break the bank during summer time. I had to be very creative about how I entertained myself while staying within our budget, and compiled a list just for y’all if you find yourself in the same situation, or if you just don’t want to spend a whole lot of money while on break! Check them out below-
Half Priced Books
The first day of summer break, you will find me here. This is something that I look forward to every year. In Dallas, we have the Half Price Book’s Headquarters with a coffee shop, y’all. I will gladly buy my $4 book and hang out in that coffee shop for a solid three hours. $7 ($4 for the book, $3 for coffee) for a couple of hours of entertainment? That works for me!
This goes along with my book obsession. Public libraries are free, they provide a quiet, cozy environment, and you can bring your own coffee/food. I typically like to buy my own books for my classroom library, but these books are all free! You can google the closest library to you, sign up for a library card and you’re good to go!
Coffee Shop Hopping
This is something that I do pretty regularly when summer time hits. I am a BIG coffee person, so I like to hang out at all my local shops and write, read, talk with the people around me or call someone to meet up with me. Coffee/tea is relatively cheap, however, the time with a friend or exploring your creative side is priceless. Plus, you’re able to support your local businesses!
Free Live Music
Summer and live music are a match made in heaven, and bets are, thereś a concert near you. For us, it’s Sounds of Summer on the Square in Garland. Itś a free concert with dancing and food trucks/drinks from local restaurants! Invite your friends, and you can have a night of fun for $15.
Find a Trail, Track, or Gym
Summertime is the perfect opportunity to begin new habits. When I didn’t have a gym membership, I use to go run every night at 8:00 PM sharp at the school track down the street from me. However, in Dallas, White Rock Lake is our favorite place for outdoor exercise. We not only use it to go for our runs (when it’s not ridiculously hot outside), but we also will take our pup for a walk, we will grill with friends, hammock, get ice cream and hang out. Finding a local trail is super useful and the best part? It’s completely free.
Not an outdoorsy person? There are a ton of local gyms that are fairly cheap and have everything you need. Check them out and start great habits while you have the time!
Public Pool/ Swimming Holes
Some people squirm at the thought of a public pool, but I really just need a place to get my tan on. In Austin, it was Barton Springs or swimming holes near the Greenbelt. Here, we have one of my personal favorite hidden gems called The Fraternal Order of The Eagles (Check it out here!). It is a public pool (with a bar I might add) in the middle of a Dallas neighborhood, and it’s $10 to get in ($5 if you are a military member). Itś my favorite way to spend an afternoon for a small amount of money!
New Baking/Cooking Recipes
With all this free time, I am always hanging out in the kitchen. I love baking and cooking during the fall and winter time, but summertime recipes are always hard for me considering the heat. I am on Pinterest pretty religiously, and I am always grateful whenever we have the ingredients already so I don’t have to spend that extra money.
Summer movie nights are the BEST. Open the windows, try out those recipes you have been practicing and host for the ones you love!
Also, Alamo Drafthouse has free movies for Teachers near you on Wednesdays! Unfortunately, Dallas and Austin aren’t on the list, but plenty of other cities are! Check them out here.