Summer Fun on a Tight Budget

Michelle Verne

Student-parents at CSUN,

Summer will be here soon, and the kids will be out of school.  On a tight budget, it’s hard to keep them occupied.  Since I’ve decided to go back to school, I’ve had to cut down on summer camp and daycare expenses.  So my kids and have developed our own sort of personal summer camp.

Since I get out of school before them, I’m able to fill a calendar with activities and events for the summer.  The most expensive splurge is attending an amusement park, so before the summer starts we choose one that offers year round passes.  We plan on attending this park twice a month and save more money by packing our own lunches.

This year we chose Universal Studios because they have a water play area for all ages, and they have a playground for small children.  It also gives us the flexibility of going at whatever time is convenient for us and not having to worry about spending the entire day there.

One of the most inexpensive ways to spend the day is going to the beach.  In the mornings we pack our lunches, throw our boogie boards, beach blanket, towels and beach umbrella in the car and head out to free Zuma.  The reason it’s called free Zuma is because west of Pacific Coast Highway, on Westward Road, there is free street parking.  It is also less crowded then the paid parking parts of the beach.

We also attend several Los Angeles Parks and Recreation pools that are free as long as a library card is provided.  They also give affordable swim lessons.  Not only do the parks offer swimming, but they often have free events, festivals or even concerts.  For a list of all park pools or for more information regarding hours and special events go to

Another addition to the calendar is going to each museum in Los Angeles.  Most of them are free or have a small fee and even have special events offered for children on specific dates throughout the summer.  For a list of museums, go to  Hope these tips help to keep your kids summer as active and eventful as it does mine.  Have an awesome summer!