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Home value: Turn your house into a superb summer haven

The official start of vacation season is on the horizon but perhaps your holiday shopping busted your budget and you're still digging out of debt. The idea of planning a trip this summer for you or the entire family seems like nothing more than wishful thinking.
Just because you're short on the funds to hit the coast, take that long awaited cruise or even pack up the family van and hit the open road doesn't mean your summer is destined for dullness or three months of sheer boredom.
Why not transform your home into a spot that everyone can enjoy for a fraction of the cost you'd spend on a vacation?
That sentiment might seem remarkably far fetched, especially given the lure of going to the beach or taking an extended leave in the form of a camping trip or cross country journey to an amusement park that will provide endless hours of enjoyment.
And, you're right, those can't be duplicated but when income is discretionary you have to make the best of a not so ideal situation.

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Why not think outside the box and concoct a family game night out of the deck under the stars on a warm, crisp summer night or gather around the grill as much as you can to enjoy the sights, sounds and smell of a cookout?
Those are just a few of the little things that define summertime and prove that luxurious and lavish vacations won't define the warmer months of the year. If your back yard permits, maybe mom, dad and the kids can enjoy a friendly game of kickball or baseball outside.
In the day and age when video games, television and smart phones rule the world, you still remember playing outside in the summer, right? Of course, and that little bit of horseplay and mindless activity is all the more reason to forgo that overblown, expensive vacation in favor of a little bit of family bonding that doesn't necessarily center on spending money.
If you must leave the friendly and inviting confines your home, there's still plenty of inexpensive and enjoyable things to do that won't costs all parties involved too much money. Golfing always is a relaxing sports that promotes comradery and can be done modestly at a public course or scaled back in the form of miniature golf. And as long as your hitting the links, why not skip that expensive lunch or dinner after your 18 holes and find a nice, secluded section of your neighborhood and enjoy a picnic lunch for about 50% less than you'd pay at a restaurant or fast food place.
And, you'll be able to enjoy the weather and know that this year's summer won't be a total loss.

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