By Anna Davies, REDBOOK
Summer can be freeing in more ways than one. Here, free get-happy ideas for the season-and beyond.
1. Cheap Thrills: From reveling in the morning sunshine with a cup of coffee to late-night stargazing, warm weather offers a chance to delight in some of life's sweetest can't-be-bought experiences. "Finding priceless pleasures is a reminder that life can be enjoyed without extravagance," says Heather Wagner, author of Happiness on $10 a Day. Try one of these free ways to escape and make the most of summer.
2. Rinse off: After a walk or run, dash through a neighbor's sprinkler-it's the best cool-down we can think of.
Related: 6 Tips for Thrifty Summer Trips
3. Head to the Beauty Counters: At your local mall, try out a fall fragrance or a new shade of lipstick or eyeshadow. Make sure to ask for a product sample before you leave the counter and get a fall beauty fix for free. (Just say "No, thanks" with a smile when the sales pitch starts.)
4. Celebrate an Obscure Holiday: Some suggestions to get you started: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2), National Watermelon Day (August 3), or National Sandcastle Day (August 17).
Related: Cheap Summer Dresses Under $100
5. Unplug for a Day: Or an hour. That means no cell phone, no television, and no Internet access. (If you absolutely can't force yourself to disconnect and you have a Mac, check out macfreedom.com, a free downloadable service that disables your Internet for an amount of time that you specify.)
6. Pop In On a Stranger's Wedding Ceremony: Stop and observe for a bit, even if you don't know the bride or groom. Watching strangers on this momentously joyous day is bound to put a smile on your face.
Related: The Sexiest Ways to Savor the Summer
7. Go to the Theater: See a dance performance or choral concert for free by offering your services as a volunteer usher. Call local performance groups to see what opportunities exist in your community.
8. Create Your Own "It's Hot in Here" Playlist: Choose breezy, relaxing, or invigorating songs that simply sound like summer to you. Just think how much you'll love listening to it in January.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.