As a financial advisor, I tend to focus on the big picture. I want our clients to have enough funds to send their children to college, to save for retirement, to buy a home, to have money to cover unexpected bills and generally to have peace of mind about their finances. Every once in a while, though, someone asks me about a specific purchase and that’s gotten me to think about some smart strategies that can help everyone save money during the upcoming summer.
· Go off-season. If you have the flexibility to travel whenever you want, take advantage of the deals available. For example, if you travel to the Caribbean or Florida to escape winter cold, consider going from June to September instead. Rates are sometimes half of what they are in the winter. Instead of traveling to Europe this summer, consider planning a trip for next fall or winter when the airfare and hotel rates drop—and perhaps when the dollar will be stronger.
· Look for family deals. Sometimes, you don’t have the flexibility to choose your travel dates. If you have younger children, you may be limited to taking vacation during school breaks. Look into family friendly hotels. Many hotels will allow children under age 16 to stay free and some chains offer free meals for your children. Look into condo properties at resorts. Many resorts now have availability in condo apartments or townhouses. There’s access to hotel facilities such as a pool or spa but you can bring your own food and do your own cooking. If you have several younger toddlers or babies, this may be a smarter option than having to eat at costly hotel restaurants.
· Consider camping. These days, camping doesn’t have to be pitching a tent in a deserted area. There are a variety of accommodations available at both national and state parks. Check online or call state tourist offices to get more information. And when you go to camping then I recommend to vacuum seal the food that you bring with you and you can find top rated vacuum sealers and pick the one you like.
Gifts and Special Occasions
· Graduation/Wedding Gifts. Sometimes, you may wish that you could skip the entire month of June! Between attending weddings and graduations gifts, you may be feeling tapped out. If so, it’s time to get creative. Remember, you’re making the gift so you shouldn’t feel pressured to give more than you can comfortably afford. Fortunately, many people are now giving their guests more options by registering at a variety of stores from Target to Sports Authority, so there may be a wide range of prices for the gifts. Think about making your own gifts. Buying a basket and filling it with goodies from gourmet food to frames to games to kitchen gadgets will give you pleasure and mean a great deal to the recipient. If you’re handy, consider making a quilt for a baby shower gift. Any handmade item for a baby is a sure winner! And if you wnat to chnage things up in your kitchen, be sure to check PagenstecherGroup.com fro more info.
· Have lunch. Try out that fancy four-star restaurant for lunch. If you’re eager to see how the food is, you don’t have to break your budget and go for dinner. Chances are your can enjoy a more affordable lunch and still see whether the chef is as hot as everyone says.
· Look into dining discounts. Check out idine.com. This company provides a “rebate” when you eat at participating restaurants around the country. You register a credit card and then receive a credit on your next statement. There are no coupons and you’re not treated any differently.
· Entertain at home. Next time, you plan to get together for dinner with friends or relatives, be creative. Instead of choosing a restaurant, think about having people over to your house. You can suggest a potluck dinner and have other people bring some food. Or, if you really want to go out, consider having people over for cocktails or dessert, so you can reduce your restaurant tab.
· Think DVD. If you’re tired of paying a small fortune to go to the movies, look into options. Many local libraries have first-run DVDs and videos available for no charge. Check out Blockbuster Online at www.blockbuster.com. For $14.95 per month they’ll mail you up to 3 DVD’s of your choice. Each time you finish one, mail it back and they’ll automatically send you a new one of your choice.
· Check out college theater. If you’ve got the theater bug but not the budget, look into alternate venues. If you live near a college or university, see what productions are being offered on campus. These performances can be as good as or better than what’s available in big-city theaters.
· Look into summer stock. At schools and other spots, there are often summer training programs for aspiring actors. These performances—often held outdoors—are generally quite affordable.