Now that the weather is getting warmer and the kids are out of school, it's time to think about vacation.
If you're on a tight budget, consider a "staycation" and spend your time off enjoying many of the local venues that offer free or relatively reduced priced events.
I don't like that some people think you can't have any fun if you're being frugal. Quite the opposite usually happens. Sometimes expensive vacations cause stress when you feel pressured to have fun to justify the expense.
Relax. Enjoy Kentucky. Or go over the border to Ohio to see what it has to offer. Pretend you're a tourist and enjoy these "Staycation" ideas:
1. Grab a lawn chair, pack a picnic and enjoy free music ranging from bluegrass to jazz. Every Tuesday until September the Southland Bluegrass Jamboree takes place at 7 p.m. on the lawn area adjacent to Collins Bowling Lanes, 205 Southland Drive.
On Friday nights, take a picnic and buy a local bottle of wine at Talon Winery, 7086 Tates Creek Road, and enjoy local musicians performing from 6 to 9 p.m. Also there is Jazz on the Porch the last Sunday of the month from 3 to 6 p.m. until Sept. 28.
MoonDance Amphitheater at Beaumont Center has a free Friday Night Concert Series from 7-9 p.m., through June 27 and then again each Friday in August with craft beer and food trucks on premises.
2. Enjoy the great outdoors with your children. On Father's Day weekend, June 13-15, participating KOA campgrounds are offering to let kids camp free.
Or, keep it local and visit Free Friday Night Flicks at Jacobson Park. In addition to the free movie, there are children's games and a petting zoo. Events start at 7 p.m. Plan a trip to a National Park on one of their free fee days throughout the year. Check Nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm for dates.
3. Take advantage of discounted admissions to some great fun spots that usually cost a family of four more than $50 to attend. Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse program allows you to buy a 10-movie bundle for just $5 or you can purchase tickets that day for just $1. Visit Cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse. Regal Summer Movie Express at Regal theatres runs a nine-week program showing movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for just $1 per person. Visit: Regmovies.com
During Summer Family Hours at The Newport Aquarium you will get two kids in free with each adult paying full price 4-7 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Newportaquarium.com.
4. Don't let a rainy day stop your children from getting exercise. Register for Kids Bowl Free program where each child gets two free games of bowling per day. Visit: Kidsbowlfree.com. Home Depots have free kids do-it-yourself workshops the first Saturday of the month. Lowe's offers a Build and Grow kids program. At 10 a.m. June 14 kids can build Toothless! from DreamWorks How To Train Your Dragon 2. Lowesbuildandgrow.com
Also, every day from June 3 through Sept. 1, children are invited to enjoy fun-filled events at your local Disney store. They will receive a free button for participating each week. The fun includes trivia, story time and show time. Sign up now for a spot. Disneystore.com.
Want your child to continue learning while having fun this summer? Sign up for Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program. Kids 14 and younger need to read (or have a grownup read to them) for at least 15 minutes each day in June and July. After they have read for 300 minutes, they'll score $5 in Half Price Books Back-To-School Bucks.
Have your child in grades 1-6 read eight books and record them in the Barnes & Noble Reading Journal that can be printed from its website. Bring the completed journal to any Barnes & Noble bookstore, and your child can choose a free book from their selection on the Reading Journal list. Barnesandnoble.com/u/summer-reading/379003570/
Local libraries offer many programs for readers and some offer prizes. Visit Lexpublib.org to see what's offered at Lexington libraries.
■ Get your bike ready for the summer months by learning basic bike maintenance at Central Library on Main Street at 2 p.m., June 8. Get a free LPL blinky light to help keep you safe on the streets at night. No registration required. Presented by the Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop.
■ Through June 9, Cardstore.com is offering $1.49 Father's Day cards (with envelopes). When you choose the "mail to the recipient option" you will receive a free stamp. Select and personalize a Father's Day card, choose the "mail to the recipient" option, and enter coupon code CAH4335 during checkout. The final cost is $1.49.
■ Take Dad out to a Father's Day brunch at First Watch restaurant and he will get a free bottle of maple syrup to take home with him. Visit Firstwatch.com
Deborah Morris' weekly column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get through these economic hard times a little more easily. If you know of a way to save some money, feel free to share it on The Fru-Gal blog on BluegrassMoms.com and visit her Web site, Fru-gal-friends.com.