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Summer savings guide

Summer Fun

With our current predicament of job uncertainty for both my husband and I, spending as little money as possible this summer has become even more important. This is the first summer since my little boys were small that we have all been home, too. That means more expenses than usual – food, excursions, utilities, etc. Here are the tips I have discovered so far for doing summer on the cheap:

Ahead of time:

Prepare for summer the summer before. Buy towels, hats, etc. at the end of the season so you have them for the coming year. When all the kids are in camp, we needed a lot of swimsuits and towels to avoid doing laundry every day! It helped to shop ahead.

Get some of your essentials at the dollar store. Sunglasses and water bottles are best to get at the dollar store because my boys lose them often. I don’t have to feel bad when this happens if I have only paid a $1! See my post on “Are “dollar stores” really a good deal?”

Watch throughout the spring and summer for sales on swimwear. Last year I got rash guards and swim trunks for a great price at the end of the season for my boys for this year. They actually still fit into their size from last year, but I am ready when they need a size up! Good online stores to check include The Children’s Place, Land’s End, and L.L. Bean.

Stock up on sunscreen before summer is here. Last year with all four of my boys in camp every day, we went through a ton of sunscreen. On top of that they broke out from many brands, even Aveeno, which you would expect not to be a problem. They have excema, which can make their skin break out more than usual. Luckily I found out about The Honest Company. I love their products! Their sunscreen is a great consistency, has no bad or perfume smell, and my boys don’t break out or scream in pain from it.

You can try a free sample pack (you pay only shipping). Then you can sign up to receive a bundle every month. The Essentials bundle includes five of their products. (They also have a Diaper & Wipes bundle and Health & Wellness bundle, too, with other choices of products.) I can’t afford to order a bundle every month, but get them a few times a year. You can choose how often you want them delivered. Every time I order, I get a sunscreen, so I am ready for summer!

Be on the watch for great deals on memberships to local attractions. These deals usually don’t occur during the summer. For the St. Louis Science Center’s 50th anniversary of their planetarium, they had a sale on memberships – $50 off! It has been our best purchase ever! See my post “Become a member!”

Early summer or (late spring):

Plan ahead for where you would like to go. The first week of summer that I was home, we had no official plans or schedule. We were making it up on the fly. This really made the days long and me stressed! Putting together my Summer Bucket List really helped because now I have done the research ahead of time and can either choose activities for the whole week or the night before. See my post “Summer Bucket List (aka Camp Mommy).”

Take advantage of the many free or cheap excursions in town. These include:

Watch for sales on crocs and sandals! We were fortunate to get new crocs (fake brand) a few weeks ago at “Five Below,” of all places!

Throughout:

Pack food wherever you go. Even if you won’t be there for long, pack at least a snack and water. This helps with cranky kids and avoiding high cost emergency food purchases.

Take advantage of your local library. We have been going to their great events all summer and check out books and movies each week while we are there. It is so nice to have the time to do this and with the summer reading programs, we all earn prizes for reading! We are enrolled in the county’s program and the local Jewish library’s. I have not updated my Summer Reading programs post, but see last year’s here.

Look out for ice cream coupons. We have found ice cream coupons in our coupon mailer that comes in our mailbox every week. Check local calendars, too. Here in St. Louis, we have a calendar called the Town Planner. It is mailed to families every year and has coupons tailored for your area. They also have coupons on their website. Another source for ice cream coupons is your local Valpak. These come in the mail in some areas and they also have a website, too. You might not always find coupons for the location you want, but sometimes the drive can be worth the savings! You might also earn ice cream coupons from your Summer Reading programs.

Forget about your thermostat timer. Keep your thermostat set as if you are not home and then adjust as you feel it is too hot in the house! See my post Saving money and energy on Shabbos.”

Use your birthday freebies. If your birthday falls in the summer, or if your kids’ do, be sure to sign up for those birthday freebies! See my posts:

Enjoy your summer and share your summer tips in the Comments section!

 

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September is the time to buy… (2012 update)

Certain times of the year are the best times to buy various things based on sales and availability. Here is your tip sheet for this month:

Cars: September is when new cars begin arriving at the dealers. They will then discount their older models to make room for new inventory. RV deals are common in the fall, too.

Certain fruits: September is the time to buy apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, honeydew melons, nectarines, peaches, Bartlett pears, and plums.

Certain vegetables: September is the time to buy cauliflower, corn, eggplants, peppers, and spinach.

Charcoal grill: After Labor Day retailers offer sales of as much of 30 percent off from now and until December. The best selection is available in the fall.

Furnaces: Contractors and heating/cooling companies are not busy with emergency calls during this season, so they frequently will offer deals to sell appliances during their non-busy time.

Jewelry: September (along with January, March, April, July and August) are non-gift giving months. Retailers are more likely to offer sales during these months to help promote business.

Lawn mowers: To make room for their leaf machines and snowblowers, retailers will put their lawn mowers on sale. The closer to late fall, the more the discounts, but the less selection, too.

MP3 players: Companies sometimes put older models on sale during this time to make way for the newer models they will introduce in the fall. Consumers can then try them out and then give then as gifts for the holidays.

Plants, trees, and shrubs: Nurseries often drop their prices on these items in the fall to clear out their plentiful summer inventory. Now is the time to buy bulbs, too. Store them in the winter and then plant them in spring. Independent nurseries will often have larger markdowns and a wider selection than national retailers (big-box stores).

Ranges, stoves, and dishwashers: New models arrive around this time of year, which means older ones will often be discounted. Cooking-related appliances also go on sale now for Labor Day.

School supplies: Check local retailers for the last of their school supplies that they want to get rid of.

Swimsuits: This is the time that stores badly want to get rid of swimsuits and other summer items they have left.

Tires: To prepare your car for better traction in rain, snow and ice (winter), buy new tires now.

Sources:

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August is the time to buy… (2012 update)

Necklace

There are certain times of the year that are best for purchasing various items, due to various factors. Here are a few to keep in mind for the last month of summer:

Bottled water: With summer picnics and barbecues, stores often drop the price of bottled water. If you prefer bottle water, now is the time to stock up. However, you can save even more money if you buy a filter for your tap or refrigerator and use your own bottles!

Certain fruits: August is a good time to buy blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew melons, lines, nectarines, peaches, Bartlett pears, plums, raspberries and watermelons.

Certain vegetables: August is a good time to buy corn, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce, and peppers.

Computers: Back-to-school sales often offer the lowest prices of the year. You can sometimes get freebies like printers, too.

Home Décor: It’s wedding season so retailers will offer sales to help shoppers buying gifts.

House paint: More people paint in the summer months, so stores sometimes lower prices and hope you’ll buy other regular-priced things, too.

Jewelry: August (along with January, March, April, July, and September) are non-gift giving months. Retailers are more likely to offer sales during these months to promote business.

MP3 players: Companies sometimes put older models on sale to make way for the newer models they will introduce in the fall. Consumers can try them out and then give them as gifts for the holidays.

School Supplies and dorm furniture: Check out the great deals at various retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Staples, Walgreens, and CVS. Even if you don’t have children in school, some office supplies (which are also used by students) are also sold at cheap prices during this time. See my post “School Supply Shopping Strategy” for tips on how to get the most for your money.

Swimsuits: Stores want to get rid of their inventory, so the prices go way down. You can also update your look just by buying a  new separate to match one you already own (like for two-piece suits). Think about next year for your kids as well. I already bought rash guards for my boys for next year so we won’t have the same stress of rashes from sunscreen/eczema.

If you plan to shop online, check out my “Online shopping tips.”

Sources:

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July is the time to buy… (2012 update)

Our patio table

Certain times of the year are the best times to buy various things based on sales and availability. Here is your tip sheet for this month:

Bottled water: With summer picnics and barbecues, stores often drop the price of bottled water. If you prefer bottled water, now is the time to stock up. However, you can save even more money if you buy a filter for your tap or refrigerator and use your own bottles!

Butter and other dairy products: Production is up during this time, so prices are down. Freeze butter or margarine to use later.

Certain fruits: July is a good time to buy apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew melons, limes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pineapples, plums, strawberries, and watermelons.

Certain vegetables: July is a good time to buy corn, cucumbers, lettuce, and radishes.

Computers: Back-to-school sales often offer the lowest prices of the year. You can sometimes get freebies like printers, too.

Furniture: Retailers are trying to make room for new models which will arrive in August.

Home Décor: With this being wedding season, retailers want to capitalize on the consumers looking for wedding gifts. These sales also help boost traffic in stores to help sell other items they have on display. With students leaving for college next month, you can also find deals on bedding, organizational items, small appliances, etc. (There will be deals on this in August, too.)

House paint: More people paint in the summer months, so stores sometimes lower prices and hope you’ll buy other regular-priced things, too. July is also a good month to entice those people who don’t want to paint in the heat!

Jewelry: July (along with January, March, April, August, and September) are non-gift giving months. Retailers are more likely to offer sales during these months to help promote business.

Outdoor furniture and yard décor: Stores are changing over to the next season’s merchandise and want to get rid of their summer barbecue goods that were great for the 4th of July.

Sandals: Mid- to late-July is when you will see the best discounts on footwear. Sales can even be found on popular brands. Retailers want to make room for their fall items.

School Supplies: Even if you don’t have children in school, some office supplies (which are also used by students) are sold at cheap prices during this time. See my post “School Supply Shopping Strategy” for tips.

Swimsuits: Stores want to get rid of their inventory, so the prices go way down. The prices will get even lower in August.

Suits: Any last remnants of Spring fashions will be on sale. Look for styles that are classic and timeless.

Tools: July is one of the best months (matched only by November and December) to buy tools, especially tool sets, accessories, and tool storage units.

If you plan to shop online, check out my “Online shopping tips.”

Sources:

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