If you're finding the economy's let you down substantially this year, and you can't afford to go on vacation, take heart that you're not the only one.  In my 'Staycation' articles, I'll be helping you find cheap and free ways to have fun this summer. 

Everyone needs a holiday, sure, but with ever-rising bills to pay, a lot of us can't even afford a so-called 'cheap getaway' this year.  I'm in the same boat, don't worry, I'll help you make the best of your summer, even if we won't be 'avin' it large in Marbella.

In my own personal experience, the best times I've had with my friends have not been at expensive clubs or holidays abroad.  It's been having a laugh at a picnic in the park or sitting out watching the stars with a cheap bottle of wine.  The best memories are those of intimate moments you spend bonding with your friends, which is hard to do when a club is blasting Skrillex at like 9000 decibels.

Fun with Friends

Picnics in the park are a great idea for warm days.  Invite each person to bring food and a drink to share; you'll be surprised at how many of your friends are actually talented chefs who enjoy the chance to make home-made food.  Go for a run-around, throw a Frisbee, bring your phones and play some music, paint your faces and dance like you're at your own mini-festival. The possibilities are endless. Even better if you live near a beach; lucky you!

Then go for a walk around your town and look at it with fresh eyes, as if you're a tourist.  You'll be amazed at all the little things you take for granted.

Groupon\Wowcher etc.

Yeah, I see you cringing - "Paying with a VOUCHER?" but honestly, you'd be surprised at all the fun experiences discount email lists like these can give you.  Most of them cater to a group of people, so pool you and your friends' money together and take advantage of them.  As you never know what'll come up, you could make a pact to do one every week and find yourself fine dining and going for a beauty treatment one weekend, and sharpening your archery skills the next.

These are just a couple of ideas! What things have you done to have fun for next-to-nothing?

Share your tips!