Spend Less This Summer With Our Easy Cheat Sheet

Before you stock up on this season’s must-haves, we’ll tell you how to save a bundle on everything from sunscreen to burgers.

Couple riding bikes on the beach

by NEA Member Benefits

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Summer is here and the U.S. is starting to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic. While we still can’t leisurely browse through shops or gather in groups for beach parties, we can prepare for physically distanced summer fun in the sun. Most summer staples can be bought online, perfect for planning safe family barbecues in our backyards and for socially distant beach or park outings—six feet away from others.

We’ve gathered tips to help you get new shoes, beach gear and other seasonal “must haves” for enjoying the warm weather break and plan for future travel. And you don’t have to pay for expensive, designer items when there are quality offerings out there for far less.

Our summer shopping guide will tell you how to keep cool and collected with suggested items from NEA Click & Save (Pricing is as of May 2020 and is subject to change):

RUNNING SHOES

Running is one of the best ways to shed unwanted pounds—and it’s a pandemic friendly activity that doesn’t require a gym! But do you have to shell out for high-end shoes with descriptions—“anatomical eyerows,” “thermomoldable” design, “Lunarlon” cushioning—that make them sound as if they were engineered by NASA scientists?

Fortunately, you don’t. “You need a shoe that offers stability and cushion, and you get the best sense of what will work for you by trying on several pairs,” says David Bakke, a consumer expert at MoneyCrashers.com, a financial-advice site. “Unless you’re a diehard runner, you also don’t have to have shoes that feature gel, air cushioning or other special features.”

Our NEA Click & Save pick: There are a wide variety of running shoes and athletic wear available at a discounted rate via NEA Click & Save. Check out these best sellers from Finish Line, where you can get up to 50% off new markdowns and earn WOWPoints on every dollar your spend. 

  • Women’s: Nike Legend React 2 running shoes (on sale for $80)
  • Men’s: Nike React Presto running shoes  (on sale for $70)

SUNSCREEN

Some bottles retail for as much as $30 for 5 ounces. The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that anything with at least a 15 SPF (aka sun protection factor) rating should be fine. That should prevent reddening at least 15 times longer than however long your unprotected skin burns. (That’s five hours if it takes 20 minutes for your skin to turn red in direct sunlight.)

Our NEA Click & Save pick: You can buy a 6-ounce bottle of No-Ad Face Lotion, 30 SPF, for less than $8 at Walgreens.com (search: no-ad). “It keeps its overhead low by not advertising, like the name says,” says shopping expert Brad Wilson, author of Do More, Spend Less. “And in an L.A. Times test of 22 different sunscreens in 2011, No-Ad out-performed the entire field while providing the cheapest per-ounce buy.” 

SUNGLASSES

It's important to keep your eyes safe while you’re out in the summer sun. While posh sunglasses are fun and fashionable, make sure your choice will also protect your peepers. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so make sure the pair you pick has a consumer protection label that states they’re 99-100% UV-absorbent. Once you have that checked off your list, you can play with options such as polarized lenses that help with glare. You can get stylish prescription eyewear as well, or your eye doctor’s office can convert the lenses of an older pair of your glasses to shades. 

Our NEA Click & Save pick:  Warby Parker offers an alternative to over-priced and bland eyewear. Get stylish sunglasses starting at $95 and earn 10x WOWPoints on every dollar you spend. Plus get prescription sunglasses starting at $175 and Progressive Prescription Sunglasses starting at $375.

  • Women’s: Aubrey in Marzipan Tortoise with scratch-resistant lenses (starting at $95)
  • Men’s: Fletcher with Black Matte Eclipse with Olive Green lenses (starting at $95)

LUGGAGE

You may not be able to travel during the COVID pandemic, but many are planning ahead! To celebrate your upcoming trip, you could fork out a couple hundred dollars on new bags. But unless you’re a total “road warrior,” you can go without specialized pockets and toiletry kits—and you’ll probably get along just fine.

“Focus on luggage made of quality material,” Bakke says. “That means nylon instead of polyester. And check the zippers to make sure they’re durable.” Because when you can’t zip and unzip your bag, well, it’s time to get a new bag.

Our NEA Click & Save pick: eBags offers a range of luggage, including your favorite brands like American Tourister, Samsonite and Tumi. Save up to 50% or more on all of your luggage needs when you shop at eBags on NEA Click & Save plus earn 4X the WOWPoints on your order.

  • Delsey Helium Titanium 25" Spinner Trolley (under $150)
  • Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner (under $225)

STEAKS/BURGERS

Grocery stores will mark up prices on pre-marinating meats, but there are plenty of pre-mixed sauces out, as well as simple but tasty recipes available online. And consider cuts such as the flank or flat-iron, which are quite tasty with the right marinade.

Regardless of the cut you want, the best way to save is to buy in bulk when you see a big sale. “We’ll get 10 pounds of ground beef at one time, then divide into batches and freeze it,” says Wilson, who runs the website BradsDeals.com.

Our NEA Click & Save pick: You can get a large assortment of meat combos to grill from Omaha Steaks, and save 40% or more. Plus, get free shipping on all orders over $159. The “All-American Grill Out” combo, for example, includes four 6-ounce Filet Mignons, four Top Sirloins, four Boneless Pork chops, four boneless chicken breasts, 4 filet mignon burgers, 4 gourmet jumbo franks,  eight kielbasa sausages and one Signature Seasoning packet.

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