Summer Saving Strategies

Hobson said this is preferable to credit cards because you won't go into debt. However, she cautioned that some layaway programs have initiation or cancellation fees, so make sure you read the fine print.

Need New Summer Clothes?
Wait a few weeks to buy summer clothes, Hobson suggested. Stores will begin clearing out their current merchandise in favor of the fall line, and you could benefit from a few sales.

Towards the end of June, Hobson said, JC Penny will have one of their biggest sale of the year with 70 percent to 80 percent off summer clothes.

In the Market for a New Car?

September is usually the best time to buy a car, Hobson said, because dealers are looking to replace last year's models with new inventory and therefore have an incentive to give you a better deal.

Even though September is still a few months away, Hobson said the extra time gives you an opportunity to determine you budget, research cars on Web sites such as Edmunds.com and check your credit report to make sure there are no errors, which could mean paying more in interest if you decide on dealer financing.

No matter what month you decide to buy a car, purchase it at the end of the month. Dealers need to fill their monthly sales quota, Hobson said, and therefore might be willing to bargain to meet that goal. She also suggested going to a dealership on a weekday instead of a weekend, because you are more than likely to get better attention.

Web Extra Tips From Mellody Hobson

Banks and credit unions are offering saving accounts specifically for vacations and holiday shopping to help you stay within your budget. You can make periodic contributions to a separate account and then before Christmas or your vacation they deposit the money back into your checking account or cut you a check.

In addition to the layaway program for back-to-school shopping mentioned above, Hobson said to also shop on state sales tax holidays when you don't have to pay tax on school supplies and clothing. These holidays are currently in 14 states and are usually right before the school year begins. To find the exact dates, check your state's tax department Web site for details.

Heading to an amusement park this summer? Hobson said you can save a bundle if you pack your own food and save on the pricey concession stands. Additionally if your family goes to the park multiple times during the summer, it might be worth investing in an annual pass.

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