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Save a few pennies on summer fun

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MADISON, Wis. (5/26/10)--Whether your summer adventures take you to the local beach or to another continent, consumer editors from the Credit Union National Association’s Center for Personal Finance offer a few ways to save on holiday fun. The advice:
* Eat lunch out, dinner in. Picnicking is a classic way to save money and time when stomachs start to rumble. Check the deli or to-go section of a grocery store for a quick and fun meal. Save even more by making lunch your main meal out. Many restaurants offer nearly as much food at special rates before 4 p.m. on weekdays as they do for dinners. * Get cash back to avoid ATM fees. When you’re away from home base without a credit union surcharge-free ATM handy, consider using your debit card to get cash back when you make a purchase. Most grocery and many discount stores will oblige. * Use your flex spending account (FSA) dollars. FSAs let you use pre-tax dollars to cover many health care expenses. Sunscreen with high SPFs, Band-Aids, poison ivy lotion, and allergy medicine are just a few of the over-the-counter items eligible this year, but not in 2011, so stock up. * Duck into a matinee to escape the heat. If sunny and 95° loses its charm by the third day, enjoy a cool break mid-afternoon at the movies. Theaters typically hike up the AC but drop down the price for screenings before evening. * Stay home. Just imagine the benefits of vacationing in your home town. No hours on the road stuck in traffic or long security lines at airports. Make a list of the best features in the area and consider treating yourself like a tourist. Eat out or bring meals home to make the break from cooking and cleanup complete.
For more ideas about saving money on your summer vacation, see “Find Good Travel Deals Even in a Bum Economy” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.