• Use coupons and other savings strategies. Look for happy hour prices and use coupon apps and daily deal sites to find discounts. Credit card loyalty programs may help.
• Shop for bargains. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, back-to-school and Labor Day promotions fall within the summer timeframe, and that means bargains on everything from warm-weather apparel to laptops to appliances.
• Watch your vacation budget. Stock up on snacks, breakfast foods and water from a local grocery store to avoid overspending on dining. Research what the locals do for free and discover fun, cheap community events at your destination, as well as lower-price eateries.
• Plan ahead. Create a summer savings fund as soon as summer ends. Every month, set aside something.
• Incorporate your credit cards’ rewards by using the points from paying for groceries, gas and other regular spending – but remember to pay off the balance each month, so the cards don’t become another drag on your finances in the long run.
You might find new freedom in free fun. -- Helen Susan Edelman, LiveSmart Project Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Times Union - Edited and written by Helen Edelman