Summer fun has just begun!

Keeping your family entertained at home and on the road all summer can tax the wallet, but here are some Savvy Sleuth suggestions to keep fun in the mix, while keeping costs down.

1. Plan ahead.

Compare your work and vacation schedule with local guides that provide calendars listing ‘Things To Do This Summer” in your area.

Free concerts in the park, children’s activities, parades, tours, county fairs and summer festivals, all provide something new to do with the kids during summer vacation.

Get a map of the local parks in your area and make a plan to check out a new one each summer outing.

Discovering new places and seeing new things is fun, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Put things on the calendar and consider your options for cheap summer fun.

2. Include the kids in saving for family fun.

Have a change jar where money from recycling, change out of pockets and the bottom of purses goes each day.

Consider putting the cash you’d spend on a latte into the jar instead of the coffee and see how fast those bits of change add up!

3. Look for gift card deals.

Online deals are available for gift cards at regular intervals throughout the year from various merchants.  Usually in bundled packs as with iTunes cards.

Sometimes you’ll find local warehouse stores like Costco often have gift cards at 20-30% Off their face value.   For example I get movie theater gift cards for $19.99, with a face value of $25 that I use at my local theater.

 Amusement parks, local eateries and entertainment venues offer discounted tickets through these stores as well.

Apple iTunes

4. Consider adding to your entertainment at home this summer.

The best investment in home entertainment I’ve made has been Netflix combined with Roku.

After my Free 1 month trial of Netflix I was hooked!

Now plunking down my $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming of movies and tv shows is a pleasure. So much cheaper than cable, and we use it every day.

Roku devices make it easy to stream Netflix to TV’s without cable access and they work flawlessly with Amazon Instant Video service too.

We can rent movies off Amazon for as little as $1 each and stream for as long as we have the rental.  Watch Amazon for deals on movies.  They stay in your video library with Amazon for a month, so even if you snag a deal at $1, you don’t have to to stress about watching it immediately or losing it.

Another cool thing is that more than one Roku box on the same home network can work with one Netflix account at a time.

247086_TV episodes & movies instantly streaming from Netflix. Start your FREE trial!

5. Music, books and apps for less.

 Tablets, MP3 players, smartphones… all screaming out for new music and apps.  No, wait… that’s the kids screaming.

To keep them happy, you can get free downloads at the iTunes Store  (apps, music, tv episodes, podcasts) and on Amazon (apps. Kindle books, and music), as well as $10 of free music from eMusic when you sign up for the free trial.

Try eMusic and get a $10 Music Credit towards MP3 downloads. Cancel Anythime and keep your music.

 Keep the service it’s $11.99 a month for up to 24 song downloads (or more if you choose another plan), or cancel it and keep your free $10 worth of songs.

emusic.com
6. Coupon books are on sale and offering great summer discounts!

Entertainment books are an amazing way to do a lot for just a little money this summer.

Get your Entertainment Book today! Discounts on dining, hotels, and fun!

Right now you can get Entertainment books which have coupons for savings on…

Casual dining

Fast Food

Groceries

Floral Deliveries

Movies

Sporting Events

Golf

Amusement Parks

Travel

Hotels

Musical Events

Home Repairs

And much more!

Your purchase of an Entertainment Book also entitles you to print off monthly coupons for local merchants once you get your book and register it with Entertainment.

I find that I use my Entertainment book most for savings on local dining and attractions.  I always get my money back on within the first few coupon uses and the rest is simply savings for my family.

These books are also great if you’re going to be traveling to a specific place where you’ll be vacationing for a week or so.  The coupons will save you a bunch in 2 for 1 deals for dining, and travel discounts for your summer adventures.