Summer Fun On A Budget

Having fun this summer doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg; Kelli Grant, Sr. Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, has some ideas for summer entertainment that won't break your budget.

If you're looking to take your family to an amusement park this summer, Grant suggests shopping online for tickets. "Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, has a pass you can use on any two days during its 2009 season that's $54.00. That actually is going to save you about $34.00 off buying two tickets at the gate," says Grant. Hunting around for online bargains can save you a lot of money in the end.

If you need tickets for something else, such as a sporting event, Grant suggests buying someone else's tickets on sites like www.StubHub.com or www.RazorGator.com. "If you're willing to wait until the very last minute, you can get some amazing seats at really low prices," says Grant. On a recent search, Grant found box seats to a New York Mets -vs.- Philadelphia Phillies, which usually retail for $150.00, for only $54.00. If you're looking to catch a game for even less, try looking for bleacher seats. These normally go for roughly $20.00, but Grant has found them for $3.00 - $4.00 online.

If you need tickets for a theater show or the ballet, visit same-day ticket kiosks. For example, New York City has the TKTS booth in Times Square. Patrons can snap up unsold, last minute tickets for low prices. "Because people aren't buying a lot of these pricey tickets, if you go that day, you'll find a lot of very good seats for popular shows and prices that are easily 50% off, if not better," says Grant. The catch is that not all shows are always available, but you can find some great deals.

You and your family may be joining the millions of Americans this year who are choosing to take a "staycation" by vacationing at home. Staycations are great because they allow you to get to know your home town a little better and they don't cost much. For at home entertainment, try becoming a member of local attractions like the zoo or a museum. "Usually, these will pay for themselves in just visit or two," says Grant. Members often enjoy perks like free parking and access to special exhibits; some organizations even allow members to enter early and stay late. Check around to see what perks are offered in your area, or visit the organization's website to find more information.

Finally, if you're planning to see a few of the new summer blockbuster movies that will soon be released, consider joining the frequent viewer program at your local movie theater. "AMC and Regal both have reward programs," says Grant. Members often get coupons for free concession stand items, as well as points that can add up towards free tickets.

For more information on saving money this summer, as well as additional personal financial advice, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.




By Erin Petrun
  • CBSNews

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