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  • Money-Saving Summer Travel Tips

    By Richard Moy,

    Summer is ideal for getaways, both short and long. But the rising costs of airfare have made cheap summer travel a thing of the past. Still, there are plenty of ways to get your travel fix at a price you can afford. Here are a few tips on how to find cheap summer airfare.

    Book early to save money on airline tickets.Book early to save money on airline tickets.

    Book early. Ticket prices rise as your desired travel date approaches, so book your flight as soon as you've decided to take a trip. The New York Times recently reported that a round-trip flight from Seattle to London jumped 35 percent in just four days. Once you find a cheap summer airfare, book it.

    Related: Best budget airlines

    Go directly through the carrier. Online resources such as CheapOair and Kayak are great resources for cheap summer travel. But airlines often guarantee the lowest fares through their own websites. Although travel websites offer cheap summer airfare, always check your preferred airline before booking.

    Be flexible. Leaving for vacation on a

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  • 4 Inexpensive Summer Treats You Can Make at Home

    By Kym Pham,

    Here's to lazy summer days: four cool, refreshing, and cheap summer treats you can make from the comfort of home.

    Sparkling juice is a no-fuss summer treat.Sparkling juice is a no-fuss summer treat.Sparkling juice. With temperatures climbing to record highs, turn up the cool with a little sparkle in your juice. JoyfulHomemaking shares a simple recipe: Pour a container of your favorite juice concentrate into a pitcher and add as much chilled seltzer as you would regular water.

    Related: Best inexpensive blenders

    No-cooking chopped salad. We were inspired by SmittenKitchen's recipe for a chopped salad using feta cheese, lime, and fresh mint. The cooking blog instructs home chefs to mix 3 cups of chopped vegetables (suggestions include radishes, cucumbers, cooked but still crunchy green beans), 1/2 cup of crumbled feta, 2 sliced scallions, about 2 tablespoons of chopped mint, and 1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds. Separately, whisk 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of

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  • Easy Summer Meal Ideas

    By Kym Pham,

    Sometimes, summer means skipping out on grocery shopping day because the beach or a walk outside plead for your attention. And, well, you can always fall back on your pantry to concoct a cheap summer meal.

    Quick and easy meal ideas for busy summer days.Quick and easy meal ideas for busy summer days.

    This, of course, requires a well-stocked pantry. With budget-friendly staples in hand, you've got the foundation for a variety of cheap summer meals and a strategy for keeping your grocery bills in check.

    Related: Cookware set reviews

    Here's what you need to get started: sea salt, black peppercorns, olive oil, chicken bouillon, dried pasta, cooking wine, vinegar, herbs and spices, assortment of nuts, cans of diced tomatoes. Items to store in the fridge include garlic, lemon, and parmesan cheese.

    Try spicing up your cooking repertoire with the following three recipes. Each uses some of the above ingredients, makes enough for two, and costs less than $3.

    Related: Best inexpensive white wines

    1. Lemon Garlic Pasta
    Inspired by

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  • Four Best Blu-ray Players Under $150

    By Kym Pham,

    Many summer blockbusters just beg to be seen on the big screen (ahem, "Magic Mike"). But with ticket and concession prices so high, going out to the movies adds up quickly. These days, good budget Blu-ray players go for less than $150, making home viewing an enticing alternative. If you're willing to wait a few months for the Blu-ray release, you can ogle Channing Tatum in high-definition whenever you like.

    Related: Best budget blu-ray players

    See below for a preview of Cheapism's top picks for affordable Blu-ray players.

    Panasonic DMP-BDT220Panasonic DMP-BDT220The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 (starting at $130) provides outstanding video quality and features, according to expert reviews. In addition to the usual video and audio outputs, USB ports, and internet connectivity, it has an SD card slot for photo slide shows. Like many of the latest budget models, this one can not only play movies but also stream media from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Pandora.

    LG BP620LG BP620The LG BP620 (starting

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  • 8 Summer Date Ideas for Less

    By Raechel Conover,

    Blue skies abound, the sun is warm, and the grass is green - and you want to enjoy it with your special someone without busting the summer budget. Don't worry, we've got you covered with these low-cost, romantic summer date ideas.

    These summer date ideas are great for couples on a budget.These summer date ideas are great for couples on a budget.

    1. Play in the park. Remember how much fun it was to play in the park when you were a kid? It's still fun for adults and makes for a carefree and cheap summer date. The next time you take out your special someone, hit up the local park and go prepared with games and activities. Items to bring along for the perfect summer date in the park: kite, Frisbee, football, baseball mitts and ball, blanket for lounging, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

    2. Attend a local fair or festival. Forget the local pub, you can do that in the winter. Instead, head out to the community fair or festival for a merry summer date. Take a spin on cheap rides, play cheap games, sample local foods and drinks, and enjoy

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  • Cheap Gardening Tips for Starting Your Vegetable Garden

    By Victoria Kichuk,

    Gardening, as a hobby, can be expensive if you're not careful. You start off with a few planters and a rose bush, next thing you know you've got scalloped stone edging, custom trellises, and the finest organic tomato plants money can buy.

    Growing your vegetables from seeds will save you money.Growing your vegetables from seeds will save you money.

    But there is another way: Keep your backyard and your wallet full of greenery with these cheap gardening tips.

    The key to keeping gardening costs in check means taking a resourceful approach and getting your hands dirty. While your local garden center might carry hundreds of specialty plants, pots, and assorted green-thumb tools, most are unnecessary for a successful garden, particularly when growing vegetables.

    Check the dollar store. We've already showcased our deep love for the dollar store in previous posts, but they are a cheap gardening tip not to be overlooked. Dollar Tree and other dollar-store chains often carry a limited selection of seeds, gloves, pots, and other supplies in season. While

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  • The Best Inexpensive Barbecue Meats

    By Elizabeth Sheer,

    Along with summer come all kinds of sensory reminders about the pleasures of outdoor grilling. Staples like hamburgers and hot dogs, prime examples of cheap barbecue meats, are nearly universal on these shores. But that's no reason to limit your options. There are regional preferences worth considering and a wide assortment of relatively inexpensive cuts of meat that can liven up your barbecue feasts.

    We spoke with several grilling aficionados and butchers to learn about their favorite cheap barbecue meats and were quickly convinced that delicious outdoor cooking needn't singe your household budget. In fact, some of the best barbecue treats come from cheaper cuts of meat. We've set our sights on beef, poultry, and pork. Generally speaking, lamb and exotic meats like bison and ostrich are way out of our price range.

    Related: Best Budget BBQ grills

    A bit of clarification is called for here: If you come from the south, you know there's a

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  • Keep Boredom at Bay with 10 Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

    By Raechel Conovoer,

    Right now, your kids are no doubt on cloud nine - school is or just about out for the summer. But in short order, boredom will sink in, and whining, crankiness, and overall dissatisfaction - a major buzz-kill for the whole family - will no doubt follow. To hold boredom at bay, here are some kids' activities for summer that will keep their minds and bodies busy.

    Get your kids excited about their summer reading with the Barnes & Noble rewards program.Get your kids excited about their summer reading with the Barnes & Noble rewards program.

    1. Water play tops the list of fun summer activities for kids. Try these water activities for kids in the summer: organize a water balloon fight; set up the sprinkler so the kids can romp through; tape trash bags together and spray with the hose for a homemade slip n' slide. And don't forget to pull out a water table or kiddie pool for the really little ones. Don't have a water table? Improvise with any large plastic container.

    2. Put up a lemonade stand or organize a bake sale. Teach kids about money and responsibility with one of these popular summer activities for kids. Give

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  • Tips for Keeping Cool Without Cranking Up the AC & the Best Budget Air Conditioners

    By Raechel Conover,

    The first day of summer ushered in record temperatures in the Northeast and sweltering weather throughout the country. In this kind of heat, keeping a lid on the air conditioning bill during the summer is a challenge. It's so tempting to just reach for the dial. But before you do, consider these beat-the-summer-heat alternatives.

    Creating a breeze with a cheap fan is a frugal alternative to lowering the thermostat.Creating a breeze with a cheap fan is a frugal alternative to lowering the thermostat.

    Keep curtains and shutters closed. During the day this keeps the sun from streaming directly in. If it's still warm, invest in dark or heat-blocking curtains -- a cash outlay, yes, but surely cheaper than several months of steep AC bills.

    Related: Cheap air conditioner reviews

    Don't leave windows open. Except at night. That's right -- open your windows at night to let in cooler air and shut them first thing in the morning (preferably before the sun comes up) to lock in the cool air and beat the summer heat.

    Hang wet sheets in front of windows. Some summer nights just don't cool down and the house still

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  • The Best Dehumidifiers that Won't Bleed You Dry

    By Kym Pham,

    Some may like it hot, but most don't like it humid. The dampness that often accompanies warm weather can be blamed for allergic reactions, musty smells, mold, mildew, and bad hair days. A dehumidifier to combat these ills could easily set you back several hundred dollars, or even a few thousand dollars for a whole-house system. Cheapism's top budget dehumidifiers can remove excess humidity from large spaces without removing too much money from your wallet.

    Users like that this Frigidaire dehumidifier is easy to use and effective.Users like that this Frigidaire dehumidifier is easy to use and effective.
    • The Soleus Air DP1-70-03 boasts a capacity of 70 pints per day and starts at $179. A three-speed fan gives you the option of turning the unit down so it runs little more quietly. In online reviews, many consumers say this dehumidifier is just the thing for a damp basement. Among its many useful features: It restarts automatically after a power outage, can be set to turn off after two or four hours, and automatically defrosts if it's cold enough for the coils to freeze.
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