10 Frugal Activities For Hot Summer Days

We are right in the thick of the hot days of summer. It will likely get even hotter in August. And possibly in September. Or October. Around here you just never know.

During these months when you walk outdoors and instantly feel like you’ve walked right into a hot oven, you might occupy yourself with a few simple and inexpensive endeavors (often free) to to do indoors.

vintage scale

Eat ice cream.

Who doesn’t love ice cream? I don’t eat a lot of dairy products, but I do love ice cream. Sometimes I get soy-based ice cream at Trader Joe’s.

Since I live alone, I often get several pints of various flavors and indulge in a spoonful or two right from the container.

Read a good book.

I love psychological thrillers and women’s fiction. For hours I can put myself in the character’s shoes and escape right into the plot.

Books are like taking a magic carpet ride. You can travel all over the world without leaving your comfortable chair.

Make iced coffee.

I just began making iced coffee this summer. But I look forward to it after a breakfast of cereal or fruit or yogurt.

I don’t go to a lot of trouble. I just buy a mix, add water and ice and caramel syrup, and blend.

old sewing machine

Brew up a pitcher of iced tea.

I’m not sure which I like most, iced tea or coffee. Since I’ve been having sweet iced tea since childhood, I guess I’d have to choose iced tea for nostalgia’s sake.

Create a homemade card for someone you care about.

I used to do this a lot, but I’ve gotten out of the habit. It’s a great way to creatively occupy yourself for an afternoon and then surprise the person you choose to send it to. They will feel honored to receive a handmade treasure from you.

Snuggle up with your pet.

Our pets give us unconditional love. And they love to be petted or brushed. So indulge both of you. Studies show that petting an animal lowers your blood pressure.

I think I enjoy brushing Charlie almost as much as he enjoys being brushed.

Pot a house plant or create a terrarium.

Let’s face it. It’s often just too hot to garden. It’s all I can do to water my patio plants and give them a trim every few days.

Now is a good time to repot house plants that need to be in a bigger pot, a chore I often find myself putting off. 

If you’re in the mood to do something more creative, gather some tiny items and small plants and create a terrarium or indoor fairy garden. Maybe as a gift for someone you care about.

Watch a movie.

I don’t watch a lot of TV. But occasionally I will indulge in a silly and implausible Lifetime movie.

books

Create a decorative vignette.

Poke around in your closet and pull out some favorite items. Put them on a table and see what you can come up with.

It always gives me a little lift to walk by something new, even though I brought every item out of my closet and didn’t spend a dime.

Sit near a window and watch the birds and squirrels.

One of my favorite things to do is simply watch the free entertainment outside on my patio.

I like to watch those silly squirrels cavort and do aggravating things like dig dirt out of my plant pots. Squirrels are always fun creatures to watch.

Birds are bright spots of color in the trees that often fly down to my patio to peck around.

Whatever you do during long days of intense heat, stay comfortable and safe.

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21 Comments

  1. It has been hot and humid here in north Florida but finally we have had some rain and my plants are looking much better. My daughter and I tried to go hiking in a state park yesterday but the mosquitoes quickly ruined those plans (and we had completely covered ourselves in repellent before starting out). If you plan on doing any walking these days, you try to get out there early enough to avoid the heat. Although lately it has been in the 80’s already when I start out. I am ready for those days with highs in the 70’s.

    Thank you for the listing of activities one might undertake during these hot days of summer. Reading is always at the top of my list. I think I will go back and re-read your post about making smoothies; that sure sounds good on these hot days. I just purchased a container of Vanilla Bean ice cream so I am already with you on this one. After reading through your activities, I do plan on shopping for a few new houseplants next week.

    Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

  2. All great ideas, Brenda. Some of which I already do or can easily see myself doing. Watching the birds when I have my feeders up is one of my favorites. Of course, reading a book would be at the top of my list but I don’t do this in the daytime very often, mostly at night before I go to sleep. Playing with my plants is one I do a lot–watering, re-potting, snipping and rearranging them. You know, I never find myself without something interesting to do, no matter the weather. I consider this a blessing. I guess it comes from having a lot of interests. I’ve never been able to understand people who say they are bored or have nothing to do. I always have so much I want to do that I don’t have time for nearly all of it. That’s a good thing, I think! Keeps me out of trouble, as they say!

  3. These are such comfortable ideas, Brenda. Though not a coffee drinker (but do like coffee ice cream) you have reminded me to get out my large glass container with a lid and make sun tea (peppermint). It is great iced.
    Also, I will cut several small yellow marigolds and set little bouquets here and there. Yellow always lifts my spirits and in this heat and humidity my spirits need lifting. The marigolds last for several days so that is a nice perk, too.
    Did I ever send you pics of my patio garden? It really looked good a week ago, but is fading in the heat. Aren’t we all?
    Stay cool. You and sweet Charlie take care of each other.

  4. I was picking my black raspberries which I thought was really cool bc first year…then I heard something in the bushes! Hoping it was a cat, but ran out of the bushes anyway! Lol. It was a garter snake…shuddering! A neighbor tried to get it out and it bite her…she’s OK! Scared me! Brenda, do you or any of your readers know how to get rid of it naturally bc of berries? Should I just cut down the bushes so it will go away? Moth balls are not good for anyone to breathe in. I’m hoping someone can give me some safe suggestions! I don’t want it to get in my house or have babies! She said it was little now! Thanks!
    I’m glad your keeping cool! Have a great weekend!

  5. I also am a sweet tea fan. I discovered this wonderful beverage just a couple of years ago. Before that I never liked iced tea, I thought it was way too bitter. Once I started adding a lot of sugar and making the tea a bit weaker, I found it quite delicious.
    It is also very hot here in Reno. I have A/C, and I do use it, but for some reason I have never liked A/C. I think it is because the room is either too cold or too hot. It seems impossible to just get an even temperature. I also have a ceiling fan both in the living room and the bedroom which I use a lot.
    I spend my days either playing games on the computer, watching Netflix or HGTV, or playing cards with my friends.

  6. I have a running list of puttery tasks to do in July (too hot) and Jan/Feb (too cold) to be outside. I sweep under my major appliances, make cards, re -arrange things in bath or kitchen cabinets, just little tasks.

  7. Oh Brenda, it’s so hot right now. Over 100 every day for the next 7 days here in the Dallas area. This isn’t my favorite time of year although the view outside is amazing and green. I’m sure serious water rationing will kick in soon but for now we are watering as much as we can.

    I like this post! It’s important to think of good ideas like this. I’m thinking of Christmas gifts I can make and also, I need to organize photographs.

    1. Here too. It is supposed to be 105-107 today, and my poor air conditioner will not be able to begin to keep up with it.

  8. As you do, I like shopping in my own closet. Sometimes I find things I had forgotten about–and it costs nothing. I find watching the birds, chipmunks and squirrels is many times more entertaining than TV!! By the way, is that your old sewing machine? I sewed miles on one like that.

    1. Yes, I have two old Singer Featherweights. That black one and a white one found on eBay years ago. I’ve had them for a long time.
      Brenda

  9. We don’t suffer as much as you do because we don’t have humidity. However, it’s hot enough (94 F outside; 80 inside with no A/C–we just close the shutters on the sunny side of the house) that my computer becomes unhappy and shuts down. I let it cool off then reboot (I have work to do!). A fan in the room doesn’t keep it cool, though I find the temperature fine.
    When I lived in NY and had no A/C, I would spend afternoons watching old movie after old movie for $1 a ticket with glacial A/C. Do such theaters still exist?
    Things could be worse. Did you see the New York Times article about how India is on the way to becoming too hot to live in? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/climate/india-heat-wave-summer.html

  10. Awesome ideas! It is incredibly hot and humid in Atlanta and will be that way into October. I’ve vote to skip Summer altogether. You also have way more will power than me when it comes to consuming ice cream; I’m addicted to Publix brand chocolate almond, so I try not to buy it too often. I bought Molly a “cooling vest” that I wet in water and it fits on her like a harness. I think it helps her on our evening walks as she does not handle the heat very well, just like her momma.
    You and Charlie stay as cool as you possibly can.
    Carol and Molly

    1. I love almonds, but the dentist says it often cracks teeth. And since I don’t have dental insurance, I’m avoiding almonds! You stay cool too, Carol and Molly!

      1. I love almonds too, but I only eat the sliced or slivered kind for fear of damaging expensive dental work.

  11. I do most of these so I guess we are on the same wave length! I love watching the birds at the feeders, snuggle with Annie Belle, read a good book and watch a movie. Now I should get back to more photography and vignettes because you are right, they do perk up a room! Stay cool!

    1. If I could ever get caught up with everything, I want to create some vignettes. As for ice cream, I love mint chocolate chip.