Summer is your spiritual anchor to the rest of the year. It's the time when all your memories get made and everything else slows down. It's magical, so why would you want to work?
Consider two facts here: summer happens only once a year, and free things are really, really great. There's nothing better in life than 'free'. A bad meal can become good if it's free. A pair of shoes that don't fit suddenly will (sort of). The real trick is to cut down on summer work to an absolute minimum, and try to get as much out of life as you can, for free.
To help you along we compiled a list of five things you can do with these principles in mind.
Volunteer at Festivals for Free Tickets
To be honest I've never done this because it requires a certain level of forward-thinking to pull off, but every year I have a bunch of clever friends who volunteer at all the festivals and see all their favourite bands for free. It's not like you even have to do all that much work. The jobs often include checking wristbands, manning gates, and picking up rubbish. But just make sure you and your mates can be assured there's no toilet-based work. This is important.
Befriend Someone With a Pool/View Over a Sports Stadium
OK, this might sound exploitative but stay with me. You know those people who live in apartments with rooftop pools? Or balconies overlooking sports grounds? Those places are great and you can enjoy them too. You don't need to hang out the front of a random building, trying to make pals with incoming residents like a creep. Instead, ask around your friendship group. Someone will know someone who has the right place. Then it's just a case of convincing your pre-existing friend that they should organise a get-together with you in tow. Don't think about it too much. Just focus on kicking back with a cold one while watching midsummer cricket from a balcony. Let that be your guiding principle, and as I said, it's in exchange for friendship, so don't forget to actually be a friend.
A lot of people think that couchsurfing was a millennial fad like flash mobbing, but that's only half-true. Couchsurfing is still your ticket to free accommodation anywhere around Australia, or the world. I travelled a lot of the US via couchsurfing and met some people I'd have never encountered otherwise. And it's really easy: you just sign up on to a couchsurfing site, upload some non-serial killer photos, and apply to stay on some couches. You'll get ignored until you get your first reviews, but after that it becomes easy. Couches aren't posturepedic, but they sure are free.
Picnics are Phenomenal In many ways picnics are the most streamlined invention of the human race. Find friends, take food, put outside, eat. You don't even have to do the full picnic rug, basket, cake-that-gets-humorously-carried-off-by-ants thing. Just take some sausages and nasty white bread to the nearest suburban park with barbeques. It's surprising how much bang you'll get out of so little buck.
Write Your Way Into Free Dinners Food is trending hard right now, and it's not just about food. It's that whole Masterchef lifestyle thing that says the art of cookery should be at the centre of your life and every meal should have some squid ink, or at least dukkah. The upshot is that there are more sites about food than there is food, and they all need someone to write the content. Start by writing some articles for free for a well-known site, then tell them you want to do food. They'll most likely say yes, and you and your lucky plus one will just have to show up at the restaurant and nod a lot. In my experience the chef can be a bit chatty but you'll get their finest with matching wines. Then you just churn out 300 words of really positive junk and start all over again. The idea that you have to be a food critic is rubbish—the internet made food reviews anyone's game—and hey, you and your friend got a free meal out of it.
So that's about it—entertainment, accommodation, food. Follow the recipe and you'll be the cheapest, happiest person around. And you and your mates won't waste a second of hard-earned summer working. This article is presented in partnership with Captain Morgan