A green class growler with a festive pink cocktail umbrella poking out the top.
8 Small Investments
that could dynamically change your summer

Well summer is here and it is time to enjoy it. We want you to get the most out of your summer and so this week we have compiled 8 Small Investments that could dynamically change your summer.

1. A Frisbee
Approximate Cost: $1

Nadia reaches upward to snatch the nearing frisbee from the air.

You and all your friends are sitting in a park, bored and staring at each other. Suddenly, someone pulls out a Frisbee and itís a party! A secret long known to college students, Frisbees are an easy way to get people together, moving, and having a good time. Pack one for your next picnic, pool party, or pasta night and see what a difference it makes in your life this summer.

2. Herb Plants
Approximate Cost: $2.50
Have you been intrigued by your kitchen and the idea of being a gourmet chef, but intimidated by things that donít come frozen in a box? Here is an easy place to start. Grow your own herbs. This is very cost-effective and satisfying as even boxed mac ní cheese is gourmet if you throw in some fresh-picked parsley. Spice up your life. Impress your friends. Buy some basil.

3. A Megabus Ticket
Approximate Cost: $1.50+ one way
Bummed out from high gas prices keeping you put this summer? There is still a way to get out of the city. Megabus is a low-cost express bus service with seat prices starting at $1 plus a 50 cent booking fee. Buses run from Indianapolis to five separate cities and if you are willing to take connecting buses, you can get as far as Orlando or even Boston (That would be five transfers, though, and quite a long ride). Book early because ticket prices rise as the buses fill.

A humble parsley plant sitting in a bright yellow pot in my windowsill.

4. Cocktail Umbrellas
Approximate Cost: $5
Who says you have to be sipping an expensive mixed drink on a beach to get a cocktail umbrella? Thatís discrimination. We say put cocktail umbrellas in all your drinks and have a beach party every day. In the middle of Indiana. No really. You deserve it.

5. A Library Card
Approximate Cost: It's Free!
If you donít have one of these, you really need one. There are always the joys and intrigues of the fiction section, but why not go deeper into the other four floors of the Central Library? You could find a book on mixing drinks to put cocktail umbrellas in, or a cookbook that tells you how to use fresh herbs, or even pick up a book that teaches you how to take cat fur and make adorable finger puppets. (No, Iím serious. This is a real book that you can find at your local library.) The possibilities are endless. Anything you want to learn about this summer, the library can help you do it.

6. Swing Dancing Classes
Approximate Cost: $50 for 4 classes

A saucy pair of black heels posed with a black fedora on a hardwood floor.

Is there the itch of a jitterbug in you, but you just donít know what to do with it? Well this is the perfect time to learn how to cut a rug in the best Big Band style. Naptown Stomp, Indyís own swing club, is offering East Coast and Lindy Hop classes through Dance Connection that will teach you everything you need to know to take the floor with confidence. Show off your skills every other Friday at Fountain Square Theatreís Swing Nights or type Glen Miller into Pandora and have a dance party anytime in your very own living room.

7. A Growler
Approximate cost: $4-$8 per growler $6-$12 per fill
Save some money and bring quality Indianapolis craft beers home with you. Growlers, 64 ounce (4 pint) refillable glass containers, give you all this as well as letting you look like a hipster beer geek when you carry it around. Pop into Sun King for their Friday special and get your growler filled for $5. Thatís $1.25 a pint. Do you see how this could improve your summer?

A green glass growler looms out of focus in the background with pink and yellow cocktail umbrellas  set in the foreground.

Even a growler is better with cocktail umbrellas.

8. Indianapolis Ambassadors Membership
Approximate Cost: $50 per year
The Indianapolis Ambassadors are a group of Indy natives who love their city and are committed to improving it through volunteerism. They provide temporary volunteer services to organizations and events across the city varying from passing out souvenirs at Indiansí games, working the instrument petting zoo at Symphony on the Prairie, to helping with registration at the 2012 US Paralympic Trials. And most of these events allow volunteers to stay and enjoy the festivities once their shifts are over. Itís a great way to experience Indy while serving it at the same time.

Now, if you have the time to give but no money for membership dues, there are of course plenty of great organizations to volunteer with this summer like United Way, Second Helpings, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Humane Society and many more.

Did you make one of these investments and it paid off? Let us know! Send photos and notes to Twitter and Facebook.

what are you gonna do this summer?