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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 bicycles.

Getting ready for summer often means buying new clothes, beach gear and other seasonal “must haves” to enjoy the warm weather break. But 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 2018 and is subject to change):

RUNNING SHOES

Running is one of the best ways to shed unwanted pounds, 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 our member favorites from Finish Line, where you can get up to 40% off sale styles and earn 4X the WOWPoints on your order. 

  • Women’s: Nike Air Max Sequent 3 running shoes (for under $60)
  • Men’s: Under Armour Charged Bandit 3 running shoes (for under $50)

BICYCLES

Getting some quality pedal-power time is a great way to enjoy the summer and stay in shape. It’s possible to spend as much on an ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber bike as you would on a used car. However, you really don’t need one of those unless you’re training for the Tour de France.

“For starters, you can find very affordable, quality products by going with a road bike instead of a mountain bike, which is more expensive,” Bakke says. “And don’t be swayed by a sales rep who insist that nothing but a super-, ultra-light frame will do. That’s not true, and you’ll pay an exorbitant amount.”

Our NEA Click & Save pick:

You can find several options for less than $300 at Performance Bicycle via NEA Click & Save. And don’t forget you can earn 1x the WOWPoints for every dollar spent at Performance Bicycle.   

  • Mountain Bike: GT Palomar Mountain Bike – 2016 (for under $200)
  • Path & Pavement Bike: GT Palomar Mountain Bike – 2016 (for under $200)

SUNSCREEN

Some bottles retail for as much as $30 for a mere 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 16-ounce bottle of No-Ad, 15 SPF, for less than $10 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.”

BEACH UMBRELLA

Never buy anything bigger than you need to cover the people in your party. When selecting an umbrella, avoid fade-resistant varieties—unless you’re a total beach bum. “You don’t need water-repellant either,” Bakke says. “Once it starts raining, you’re not likely going to be staying at the beach very long.”

Our NEA Click & Save pick: A 9-foot blue and white Sport-Brella from Sears will keep you covered, and protected from UVA and UVB rays, on the beach—or at a kids’ sporting event—for $44.99 (search: sport-brella).

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-absorbant. 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. Shop the 2018 Summer collection and get stylish sunglasses starting at $95 and earn 5x WOWPoints on every dollar you spend. Plus get prescription sunglasses starting at $175 and Progressive Prescription Sunglasses starting at $375.

  • Women’s: Jones with Rose Guava with Flash Reflective Brown Gradient lenses (starting at $95)
  • Men’s: Fletcher with Black Matte Eclipse with Olive Green lenses (starting at $95)

LUGGAGE

Sure, 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 40% 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 $110)
  • Travelpro Crew 11 21" Expandable Spinner (under $170)

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, which is having a 40%-off sale until July 2018. Plus, get free shipping on all orders over $49. The “Premium Summer Cookout Assortment” combo, for example, includes two 10-ounce Bone-In New York Strip steaks, two Boneless Pork chops, four 4-ounce Omaha Steak Burgers and one 16-ounce package of Omaha Steak fries.

MOVIE TICKETS

When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, it’s great to cool off in a movie theater. But with movie ticket prices at an all-time high, it can cost a small fortune to take your family to a summer blockbuster. If you can live without 3D and attend a matinee, that can help keep the cost down a bit.

Our NEA Click & Save pick: You can save up to 35% on Regal, AMC and Cinemark movie tickets. Search for your local theater, download your e-tickets and enjoy the show!

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