Five Free Things I’m Loving This Summer

Free Summer FunSummer is my favorite season. It can also get a little costly. OK, fine. Summer can be downright expensive. As much as we’re trying to keep an eye on our money, I can honestly say that a lot of what I’m seeing is it leaving my accounts. While the Internet and this very blog runneth over with free things to do with kids during the summer months, I was feeling kind of left out as a grown up.

So I decided to do a quick roundup of all the free things that I’ve been loving this summer. As an adult. Hey, I can use whatever word I want to describe myself. It’s called poetic license.

Five Free Things I’m Loving This Summer

Podcasts

I was a podcast junkie. I devoured everything. I would routinely run through Apple’s Top Lists, and I would listen to just about everything I could get my hands ears on. In fact, when the Mystery Show just…disappeared…I actually felt what I can only describe as actual grief.

Even though it goes without saying, I’ll say that I also loved on all the amazing money podcasts and mindful living podcasts.

Then, I just stopped.

About six months ago, I drove to work in silence. Then, I did it again. And again. Until very recently, that’s all I wanted and needed. But now I dove back into podcasts, and I’m loving them all over again.

(I’m currently devouring NPR’s White Lies.)

Audiobooks

I have had a life-long love affair with fiction (scandalous, right?), and this summer, I’m listening to as much audio as I can get my hands on.

I use Overdrive and Hoopla thanks to my public libraries (look into reciprocal agreements with other neighboring towns and cities!). I also still have access to my school district online library account. As much as I try to listen to (and read!) grown-up books over the summer, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few YA and middle reader books in the queue as well.

(I’ve already read the book, but I’m currently digging the audio version of Refugee.)

Duolingo

Hear ye, hear ye! I am officially a Personal Finance Blogger.

I’m not actually sure what it is with other money bloggers and their obsessions with Duolingo (We love to learn? travel? brag on Twitter?), but I decided that I was going on two streaks this summer. I was going to continue my step goals, and I wanted to do Duolingo every day.

In a fit of anxiety about next school year, I actually created a new account to start entirely over with Spanish. I just finished Day 25, and I’m pretty pleased. I’ve also been listening to a few different podcasts in Spanish, and I dusted off a few side-by-side English/Spanish books from undergrad.

I still wouldn’t call myself fluent. But I am really enjoying having some time to learn about something not directly related to work or side hustles.

Calm

I am not an expert at meditation. In fact, I’m pretty horrific at it. I pride myself on having made my first attempt to adopt the practice nearly five years ago. That’s right. I was trying out meditation when Tim Ferriss was still calling it “a little woo-woo” on his podcast. Just call me a trendsetter. ::wink::

Because we’ve actually been able to incorporate meditation into our team time at work, I have access to the entire Calm app. Before I had everything unlocked, though, I found the free version very valuable. In fact, I still stick to mostly just time meditation and the breathing exercises.

I also use it is as form of white noise to drown out the neighbor’s five dogs and their incessant barking on Fridays when she works from home and boots them out into the yard all day.

Actually, just reading that last paragraph makes me want to fire up the app again.

The Outdoors

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of parts of being outside that come with a cost. But I’ve really tried to savor time outside this summer (you know, in between the rain and the hail).

Recently, I’ve even started talking long walks on my own again. Of course, I love to hit the trails and walking paths with my little family, but there’s something really magnificent about spending time alone outdoors.

Until my latest true crime podcast obsession starts to feel just a little too true. But hey. An elevated heart rate pushes a leisurely stroll into the cardio category, right?

Final Thoughts on Free Things I’m Loving This Summer

Summer days feel like that can stretch on forever, and they also feel like they pass in a blink. I definitely want to savor my time and spend it however I choose. That means, of course, that I will continue to part with my dollars on things that make me happy. Still, I’m going to continue to remind myself that summer doesn’t have to be about spending. So I’ll savor the free things too.

So Tell Me…What have you been up to this summer? Has it felt spendy or have you done some savings? What are your favorite free summer activities?

8 Comments

  1. I loved the post. I was doing DuoLingo daily when I was interviewing for jobs abroad and then suddenly stopped… I think it’s time to start over again and see what happens.

    And I think I need to get on this Fitbit leaderboard that you and Josh are always talking about.

    • I’m not part of the step group with Josh. Not a cool kid 😉 I kid, of course!

      I had really spotty wifi one day and killed my Duo streak. But I started over the next day, so I think it’s still a win. And it’s definitely still free!

  2. Free music festivals and concerts! I love those… but they are really only about to kick off here. It’s my first summer in the area, I did not realize how cold this month was here.

  3. I still feel like it’s the start of the summer somehow, even though we’re 1/3 of the way through. I haven’t been doing much of anything this summer except my trivia group which I do love. Herding everyone together on the same night (it changes week to week based on people’s schedules) well that I don’t love so much.

    And I love game nights, which I’m going to try to have more of. So there’s that.

    And I got started on Tinder. Which I’m sure I’ll love to hate.

  4. I have really listened to a lot of podcasts for the last several years, especially money and self-help ones. I get motivated listening to them know that I learn a lot from it.
    I also love silence in the car too especially when I’m driving with my family. Their is no need to have the radio on when we could talk to each other enjoy each other’s company to wherever we’re driving to.

  5. Do you have a post with any other podcast recommendations? I’m still trying to jump on the podcast wagon. My husband got me hooked on Ted Talks recently, and I’ve loved some of those.

    Lately we’ve been trying to take more advantage of things we’re already paying for. We recently made the happy discovery that the pool at our gym is practically deserted on Sunday, so that’s going to become our regular Sunday thing. We’re already paying for the membership, so why not spend some extra time having fun in the pool? We’ve also been grilling out more, but it’s debatable as to how frugal that is. It does make us far less likely to get lunch out, though, so that’s a good thing.

    • I’m all over the place with podcasts. I don’t have a post, but here are some of my favorites who aren’t in the PF world (like FIRE Drill and Fairer Cents!): TED Radio Hour, Planet Money, Revisionist History, Serial (skip the second season), Hidden Brain, In the Dark, This American Life, Freakonomics, Invisibilia.

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