With summer only weeks away we decided to put together a little blog about how to save big on some of your summer expenses including hotels, entertainment and also some boring stuff like watering your lawn and gasoline. (Sorry.)  The fact is, even though it’s summer and the kids are off from school it doesn’t mean that you should take a break from protecting your money and spending wisely. (It just means that you can do it with less clothing and possibly a cocktail in your hand.)  Enjoy.

Let’s start with something that everybody loves to hate; gasoline. Now, we’re not going to tell you how you need to maintain your car, turn off the air conditioning or will make sure that your tires are inflated properly. (Frankly, we’ve told you that enough already.) No, what we want to warn you about are gas pumps that are faulty and can end up overcharging you. Simply put, even though there are state laws and regulations saying that gas pumps need to be inspected for accuracy, the fact is that many times they are not. If you happen upon a pump that isn’t working correctly you may end up paying much more for your gas then you need to. Here are a few signs that your gas pump is out of kilter;

  • The meter starts over $0.00.
  • The inspection seal and date are from the 1970s. (Check the pump handle.)
  • You have a 14 gallon tank in your car and pump says you just pumped 18 gallons.
  • The price on the pump says $3.59 per gallon but your receipt says $3.69  per gallon.

If you’re going to be traveling this summer and  you’re going to be booking hotel rooms, there are a number of hotel booking sites that will check on your room rate and, if it drops within 24 hours of you checking in, will refund the difference to you. Two sites in particular are Tingo.com and BackBid.com. At BackBid.com they actually let travelers post their existing reservation details and then let competing hotels try to beat those reservations with deals, discounts, upgrades and freebies. Sounds good to us!

If you’re planning on staying at home this summer then you’ll definitely want to have a nice, lush green lawn to enjoy. If you’re keen on saving money you’ll  be happy to know that most people over-water their lawns and, if that includes you, you can cut back drastically in most cases and save quite a bit of money on water. Most lawns in summer can easily get by with one or two days of water and week, even less if you live in an area of the country that gets frequent rainstorms.

Fresh produce is one of the great joys of summer and more than likely you’ll find yourself at your local grocery store eyeing some of the beautiful produce on display. One tip to avoid paying more than you should is to avoid the produce that is on display at the front of the store. They may look better but the prices are usually higher than what you’ll find inside the store on produce that is exactly the same.

Summer almost always means blockbuster movies that you and the kids will definitely want to see. The problem with going to the movies these days is simply that it’s incredibly expensive. A family of 4 can easily spend $60. or more just to see one film!  If that’s too much for your budget there are a number of things that you can do to see your favorite flicks but not break the bank.

One of the first is to find a $1.00 movie theater in your town. Yes, they won’t be showing movies that were just released but, generally speaking, they are only about 6 weeks behind. When you consider that you can see the same movie on the same big screen for less than $2.00 (in most cases) it’s obvious that being a little patient can save you big bucks. You can also find discounted gift cards for tickets and snacks as well as going to the movies earlier in the day when the cost of a single ticket is usually about 40% less (early bird or matinee) rather than at night. Buying discounted tickets in advance is an excellent idea as well and don’t overlook any club affiliations that you might have like AAA, where you can get movie tickets for up to 30% off.

We hope that these tips will help you to welcome summer in style. So get out the barbecue, blowup the inflatable raft and have a great time knowing that you’ll be saving a few bucks on your summer plans.