Summer is a season of fun in the sun — beach days, BBQs, and more — but the cost of everything from sunglasses and sunscreen to grilling tools and steaks can add up fast. But money worries don’t have to ruin your good times! We’ve rounded up tips from finance experts to help you find summer savings on all your seasonal must-haves.
Save on insect repellents.
“We all want to enjoy the summer outside, but those pesky flies and mosquitoes in the yard can send us right back indoors. A great way to ward off insects without spending a dime? Try using natural remedies that you may already have lying around your house! For instance, you can dab peppermint oil, tea tree oil or vanilla extract onto your wrists, or crush a tomato leaf between your fingers and stick it in your pocket! These scents instantly repel bugs.” – Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for RetailMeNot.com
Get 30 percent off a new grill.
“From the last week in June through the end of July, you can find a new grill for at least 30 percent off. They take up floor space, and with the season in full swing, stores need to start making room for fall stock. To save even more? Stores like Target and Lowe’s offer promotions like gift cards of up to $100 for buying certain brands.” – Trae Bodge, shopping expert at TrueTrae.com
Nab toys for cheap.
“Stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General are a gold mine for summer savings, especially low-cost outdoor toys. You can find fun goodies like sidewalk chalk and squirt guns for $1, whereas other stores will charge you double, even triple the price for the same items! A dollar can also buy you an insect-catcher set, a butterfly net, a kite or a giant Styrofoam plane, which other retailers sell for $5 or more.” – Melissa Cid, founder of MySavings.com
Seek out yellow labels for a bargain on beef.
“The key to scoring meat for barbecuing for less: Check out the ‘yellow label,’ or discount tag, while shopping. Most big supermarkets will reduce the price of food that’s nearing its sell-by date to a fraction of the price. You’ll easily save 30 percent or more. Your best bet? Time your shopping trips to coincide with when discounts are applied, usually at the very start of the day or toward the end before closing. Snap up whatever is on sale, freeze it when you get home then defrost it before you plan to BBQ!” – Mark Jenner, owner of BBQ website FoodFireFriends.com
Snag a discount on designer sunglasses.
“When it comes to sunglasses, Ray-Ban, Oakley, etc. are top — yet pricey — brands, and retail stores don’t often offer deals on them. Sure, you could always opt for lesser-known brands, making sure the sticker says, ‘Blocks 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays’ to save your eyes. However, if your heart is really set on a designer pair, check out consignment sites like Poshmark.com where you can snap up a gently used pair for 70 percent off or more.” – Silviana Barbu, moneysaving blogger at DontPayFull.com
Land the best price on sunscreen.
“All summer long there will be no shortage of sunscreen deals to be had at stores. Be on the lookout for sales, and always opt for generic or store brands. The reason? According to Consumer Reports, in a test of 22 different sunscreens, results showed that the most inexpensive ones were actually the most effective (with the Target and CVS store brands landing at the top). Another smart idea? Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s got an SPF of 30 or higher. Anything lower will require you to reapply more often, resulting in yet another purchase. “ – Melissa Cid
Look for special ice cream promotions.
“It’s National Ice Cream Month, so grocery stores and big-box retailers will run promos on ice cream, Popsicles, and frozen novelties throughout July. What’s more, manufacturers often provide coupons on these items that you can combine with a store sale to double savings. You can even use sprinkles, marshmallows and syrup from your pantry to make 16, two-scoop sundaes out of a gallon of ice cream — a savings of $70 or more over the ice cream shop. Also, on July 19, National Ice Cream Day, lots of ice-cream parlors offer a free cone, so check to see what’s available near you to get a cool treat for free.” – Bethany Hollars, money-saving expert at BrickSeek.com
Snap up $5 towels.
“In July, stores like Kohl’s usually run sales on beach towels. Last year, they had multiple brands that regularly retail for $29.99 on sale for $8.79. Even better? I went online and bought six towels on sale, used a code for $10 off any purchase, and as a Kohl’s cardholder saved an extra 30 percent plus free shipping! In the end I paid $4.99 per towel!” – Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.