Bargains for satisfying summer living

June 24, 2011|Alicia Notarianni | Making Ends Meet

Living life frugally doesn't mean living life deprived.

This idea resonated with me as I read "Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy" by Jonni McCoy.

I like to stretch my money as far as possible, within reason. I don't want to live on pork and beans, forgo entertainment or wear dog-tired clothing. I think decorating and fashion are fun. I like cooking, and I want my kids to go to a camp or take a class that interests them.

When summer rounds the bend, spending threatens to heat up along with the temperature. The call of evening cookouts with friends and family is nearly audible, but entertaining adds up. Rolling jeans into capris only passes muster so long before those comfy sundresses start beckoning from display windows. Thoughts of activities to enrich my children's days swirl through my mind.

These things come at a price. But here is the good news. Sometimes they come at an awesome price. And on ever-so-rare occasion, among the eye-popping bargains, you might even stumble across a freebie.

Here are some summery deals I've found or heard of lately.


A friend takes her family for an annual jaunt to a clothing store at the mall for two-for-$5 flip-flops, and festive, $5 T-shirts. They wear the red, white and blue frocks to Fourth of July and other summer fetes. For a maxed-out deal, wait until after the Fourth and pick them up in next year's size half price.

Don't forget to browse the clearance rack. I recently snagged a green, cotton sundress at the same store for $4.

Grooming products

Browse racks for discontinued items. Pool chemicals and extreme heat dry hair. In defense, I found name brand shampoo and conditioner for frizzy hair at a grocery store on clearance for more than half off. At a discount store, I found a similar markdown on multiple packs of typically pricey disposable razors. A popular bargain store sells famous maker sunscreen for less than half price.


Call recreation parks, zoos and the like to see if they offer special deals. A local recreation park just ran a deal of $50 gift certificates for $25. One local theater shows $1 matinees twice a week, while another does the same for free.

A friend enrolled her middle school-aged son in a golf club. Over the course of the summer, he'll golf 18 holes at various country clubs and have lunch when he's finished. The cost — nothing.


Two discount grocery stores in Hagerstown have deals on plump, tasty produce that typically beat even the sale prices at regular grocers. I buy cucumbers for about 50 cents each, peaches and nectarines for 99 cents a pound, and a large bag of crisp apples for less than $3. Ground beef — and other varieties of "yesterday's meat" — are marked at 50 percent off or more early in the morning at one grocery store. Look for the yellow stickers. And brand name buns are less than 60 cents at a local bread outlet.

Take that, deprivation.

Alicia Notarianni is a reporter and feature writer for The Herald-Mail. Her email address is

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