Economical summer fun options

Don’t underestimate the money-saving might of a humble library card. Some library systems allow you to reserve free or discounted passes to local museums, zoos, aquariums and other arts and culture organizations like theaters and orchestras.

Often, museum pass programs are offered in partnership with city level governance and are designed to allow free or reduced-price entry to vital arts and cultural resources. Think of the programs as an extension of the mission of public libraries to provide public access to information.

Planning a family trip to a large urban area this summer? Plan a visit to their library too, it may be worth the effort. Not only are free passes a terrific option for families with children, but also for people of all ages who love visual and performing arts and animals. Some pass programs, though, are open to all ages. It’s worth it to ask.

Have a SNAP EBT card? 

Many museums participate in Museums For All. Through Museums for All, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) can gain free or reduced admission to more than 1,000 museums throughout the United States simply by presenting their EBT card and a photo ID. Search the website to see if there’s a participating museum for your next trip’s destination.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Visit for details.

Have an EBT card? Use Double Up Food Bucks for SNAP participants. Double Up Food Bucks is a SNAP-incentive program that matches purchases of fruits and vegetables at participating Iowa grocery stores and farmers markets dollar-for-dollar, up to $10 per day. Customers can use Double Up Food Bucks like cash on more fresh fruits and vegetables. This is available at Fareway and Hy-Vee stores, and participating Farmer’s Markets and Food Cooperatives.

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