spending

Pay Less for Leisure

1.

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, $196Annual Savings: $315(three games)

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

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

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)

TOTAL ANNUAL LEISURE SAVINGS: $2,241

Slideshow: Top Savings Tips for 2009Save $50 a DayPay Less for Banking & LoansPay Less for Health and Insurance CostsPay Less for UtilitiesPay Less for FoodPay Less for TransportationPay Less for Investing CostsPay Less for LeisurePay Less for Must-Have TrendsPLUS: How These Super Savers Do It

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