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Put some fun in your summer and your wallet

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are finally here. It’s vacation season and the kids are going to be out of school soon, so it’s also time to make some plans. But no matter what your budget is, some good, clean fun doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The Capital Region is rich in opportunities to get out, enjoy the season, and even plan ahead for fall.

Seek out local festivals.

The Hudson Valley and Capital Region host local festivals of all kinds that can turn into an entertaining day trip, and many are totally free. Whether it’s the Northeast Fiddler’s Convention (Pittsfield, MA), the Fantastic Bubble Festival (Schenectady), or the Saratoga Balloon Festival (Ballston Spa), there’s sure to be something out there that’s worth seeking out. The Albany.com website has a handy list HERE.

How about some music?

There’s free music available almost every weekend in the Capital Region. From Alive at Five at Empire State Plaza to Freedom Park concerts in Scotia to Lake George Jazz Weekend, the area is full of great sounds carrying on the summer breeze. Check out a very complete list HERE.

Book your own “staycation.”

Ever been to the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howe’s Cave? How about the Roosevelt Museum in Hyde Park? Or the Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs? Take an inventory of Capital Region attractions you’ve never visited, then play tourist. There’s a wealth of things to do that could easily fill up a fun week of day trips right in your own backyard.

Hit the local thrift store.

Spring is the time of warmer weather, beautiful flowers—and spring cleaning. Local thrift stores see an influx of “new” merchandise in almost-new condition from spring cleaning campaigns, and you often support local charities by shopping there. Plus there’s the added thrill of never knowing exactly what you’re going to find.

Save on fitness memberships.

Gyms and health clubs have decreased participation in the warmer months as members go exercise outdoors. Many offer special promotions to get new members, and you can profit. Or if you’re already a club member, check to see if you can put your membership on hold until this fall for a reduced monthly membership fee.

Organize a neighborhood garage sale.

Admittedly, this one takes some work to put together. But the payoff for a garage sale can be multiplied when you get your neighbors to participate, too. More sellers in one location makes it easier to organize and promote a sale to attract more customers.

Pig out now—and later—on in-season foods.

Summer is the time of nature’s bounty, and prices are at their lowest for fruits, vegetables, and berries. If you have a freezer, it’s easier than you think to buy strawberries, corn, and even tomatoes, then store them for enjoyment in the dead of next winter. Even herbs like basil, sage, and mint freeze well. Click HERE to visit a handy guide on how to do it.

Plan that new deck for NEXT summer.

The big national home improvement chains buy huge amounts of home project construction materials every year. If they haven’t sold it all by Labor Day, they need to move it out, and you can find some great deals on all kinds of home improvement supplies, from decking to fencing and more.

Visit your local farmer’s market.

There are over a dozen different farmer’s markets locally that can provide an entertaining trip in addition to healthy, farm fresh produce, local baked goods and meats, snacks, and more. Some also offer local crafts and live music. Need some fresh honey, maple syrup, or goat milk soap? One of the farmer’s markets will have it. Check out the list HERE.

Don’t forget the coupons!

Thee are more of them than ever, and they can help you save on everything from food, museums to river cruises and roller skating. Check out your local newspaper or go online sites like Groupon, LocalFlavor, or Albany.com can help you find some great deals.