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Leisure Spending

Pay Less for Leisure

1. Save on Ticketed Events: Online reseller StubHub.com often (but not always) beats prices on Ticketmaster.com and TicketsNow.com -- especially for games that season-ticket holders want to unload. But be sure to check several ticket sellers (the following prices are for two tickets and include all fees and shipping).

EVENT: New York Knicks at New Jersey Nets.
BEST PRICE: StubHub, $91
COMPARABLE SAVINGS: Ticketmaster, $196
Annual Savings: $315
(three games)

EVENT: Britney Spears at American Airlines Center, in Dallas.
BEST PRICE: StubHub, $177
COMPARABLE SEATS: TicketsNow, $374
Annual Savings: $394
(two concerts)

EVENT: Premium seats at smash musical Wicked on Broadway.
BEST PRICE: Ticketmaster, $541
COMPARABLE SEATS: StubHub, $925
Annual Savings: $384
(one show)

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2. Swap Sitting Services: Round up another family or two with cabin fever and take turns baby-sitting the kids. If you go out for four hours every month and would have paid a baby sitter $10 per hour, you can save $40 per month. All you need to do is watch the other family's brood occasionally -- which gives your kids a few extra playmates.

Annual Savings: $480
(one night out a month)

3. Check Out a Film: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- the sixth installment of the popular wizardry series -- hits theaters on July 17. To see it on opening day, a family of four would pay $28 (the average ticket price is $7, according to the Motion Picture Association of America).

But you can see it free if you wait a few months and borrow the DVD from your local library. If it's checked out, request a hold so that the previous borrower can't renew. The library will notify you when it's available.

Annual Savings: $168
(bimonthly night at the movies for a family of four)

4. Travel Last-Minute: Whet your wanderlust and save big by booking an impromptu, package-deal vacation at LastMinute.com. Reserved a week before departure, a trip for two from New York City to Amsterdam in early January cost about $2,000, including a round-trip flight and five-night stay in a four-star hotel. If you had planned the same trip several months in advance and booked it all separately, you'd have spent $2,500.

Annual Savings: $500
(one package trip to a vacation destination)

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TOTAL ANNUAL LEISURE SAVINGS: $2,241



Slideshow: Top Savings Tips for 2009
Save $50 a Day
Pay Less for Banking & Loans
Pay Less for Health and Insurance Costs
Pay Less for Utilities
Pay Less for Food
Pay Less for Transportation
Pay Less for Investing Costs
Pay Less for Leisure
Pay Less for Must-Have Trends
PLUS: How These Super Savers Do It