Summer has a way of making everyone more social. All of a sudden, the friends who responded to your texts all winter with a “I think I’m just gonna stay in tonight…” are now hitting you up for happy hour. There’s nothing better than enjoying a glass of rose with your crew after a long day at work, dining al fresco with your S/O on a Friday night, or catching up with an old friends over margaritas and guacamole, but unfortunately, those meals and drinks can start to add up in the dollar department.
This summer, I’ve been trying to find a balance between meals and drinks out and more affordable alternatives that are just as fun. Today, I’m sharing a few of the ways I have been able to get the most out of this season without totally breaking the bank. These activities are based in New York, but for my friends outside of the city, most of these can be transplanted anywhere!
You don’t have to spend big bucks for a beach giveaway. During the long Fourth of July weekend, my friends and I made a day trip to Rockaway Beach in Queens (highlights from the day in the photos above!). I was dying to get some beach time in during the holiday (and maybe a pina colada or two) and the Rockaways did not disappoint. The Rockaways is reachable by the subway, which means travel cost is as minimal as a metro card swipe. To keep costs as low as possible, bring your own beach snacks and lunch! Or head over to the outdoor food court on 97th street and grab lunch for under $15. I also highly recommend the frozen pina coladas at Connolly’s: Seven dollars of tropical bliss 🙂
P.S. My suit is also under $15 and was perfect for my beach day. Shop it here!
DIY: Dining al fresco
Because there is nothing I love better than eating outdoors in nice weather, Eric and I have been meeting for weekly dinners in the parks throughout the city. After work, we meet at one of our favorite healthy spots (like Sweetgreen or ByChloe), grab salads to go, and head to the closest park for our very own dinner al fresco. We enjoy the beautiful weather, often get to listen to live music, and catch up on our days all for the cost of a Quinoa Taco Salad from ByChloe. Grabbing food to go eliminates the need to tip a server and also keeps you from ordering those extras that you don’t always need (for Eric and I, this means our classic shared plate of calamari and a glass of wine). Taking food to go also allows you to explore different parks and neighborhoods of your city. A win all around!
Take a Walk
This one might sound painfully obvious, but it’s a great alternative to not forget! With so many friends to meet and catch up with, those happy hour drink prices can really start to add up. When a friend asks to meet for drinks, suggest taking a walk instead! Meet in Central Park or by the river and enjoy each other’s company while taking in your city’s most peaceful surroundings. Not only is this a more economical option, but it’s a great healthy activity too. Nothing feels better than getting in some steps and breathing fresh air after a day in the office!
Keep an Eye Out for Free Events!
All cities offer tons of free and open events, you just have to keep your eyes open! I always grab a copy of Time Out New York on my way to the office on Wednesdays, which is a great place to find those free and affordable events going on during the week. There are also fun reoccurring events that happen throughout the season like HudsonRiverFlicks and Summer Stage shows. Incorporating some of these events into your social schedule to balance out the more pricey events will really help your finances in the long run!
As it is for most things in life, it’s all about balance. You don’t need to shell out money every time you want to enjoy yourself in your city. Finding a balance between free and affordable events and the more expensive ones will not only make you feel more responsible and financially savvy today, but it will start good habits that you can continue to practice in the future.
What are your favorite affordable ways to enjoy summertime in your city?
Plunge Neck Cross Back Bikini Set c/o Shein