And with summer comes the urge to throw on a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops, and head outside for some serious fun in the sun.

Summer in South Africa is always exciting, offering festivals, sunset concerts, outdoor cinemas, beer gardens, and sidewalk cafes in abundance, which are all enjoyed at a price. Never mind the additional cost of Christmas presents and various festive season celebrations.

It’s fun to say yes to everything, but living outside of your means can catch up to you very quickly – even if it’s just for a few weeks. Sadly, the urge to be a part of all the action can lead to a huge dent in your finances.

Read more: #MondayMotivation: Locally made accessories for summer and beyond

With all that in mind, is it possible to have heaps of fun on a budget? Yes, if you really put your mind to it. Instead of saying “sign me up” to everything on offer, think about what you can spare financially each month and set yourself a challenge to plan for as much as you can within that budget.

Being at home doesn't have to be boring. 

Have a garden or balcony? Make this space a haven for outdoor activities. Check out sales at nurseries for flowers and water-wise succulents, and pick up some cheap pots for further water-wise planting. You’ll have this beautiful space to enjoy for much longer than just this summer.

Drag your furniture outside, pitch an old tent in the evenings for a family “camping trip”, or simply sunbathe on any old towel. You can also throw down some blankets and invite your friends over for a pot luck picnic. Or get some stylish garden furniture for just R600 a month. 

And instead of spending at some swanky bar on overpriced drinks, invite your friends over for some homemade cocktails or mocktails. To put you in the mood for the season, try these festive cocktails from Food24. Or this locally-inspired milk tart martini

If you’re looking for something healthier, make your own smoothies. It works out so much cheaper to buy your own ingredients rather than spend R50 on one smoothie! Find a few smoothie ideas right here. All you need is a blender.

Once you've got your yummy drink by your side, grab some a pool noodle from the supermarket and prepare to chill in the pool– whether at home or the nearest public pool where entrance is typically very budget-friendly.

Read more: 5 home remedies to get those feet summer ready

If you’re craving a cold ice cream on a hot day, why not make a tub to last a week (or, let’s face it, just one really delicious, happy day). You can do this with or without an ice cream maker, but you will need a freezer and lots of patience.

Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have nice things. Local company Teljoy offers a rent-to-own service which allows you to rent products you need (or want), with the option to take ownership at the end of a pre-determined period.

So you can actually rent items like fridges, freezers, ice makers, blenders, air conditioners, braais, patio furniture, and more.

With the Teljoy model, you’re not locked into any contracts so you can upgrade to another product at any time, or send it back if you’re unable to make payments or if you no longer need it. You’re also covered for delivery and installation. And if the product breaks you also have risk cover.

Remember, fun needn’t be expensive. It isn’t always about spending money. Pack a picnic, go for a walk somewhere beautiful, or camp under the stars. The options of beautiful places to explore in South Africa really are endless.

Bonus: With all your new budgeting skills, you’re well ahead on beating the January blues as you won’t have broken the bank. So save now, rather than pay for it later.