What constitutes a good deal? Getting something you need at a fair price — or finding something amazing on sale that you never thought you could afford? 

I think it’s both.

Hi, I’m Alison and I’m a Web producer at WCCO. With this blog I’m hoping to guide you on your way to finding great deals on the Web and right in your own backyard.

In this new economy, everyone is trying to find ways to cut costs and not cut the quality of life. I want to show you some ways to get the most for your money and save some of that extra cash for a rainy day. You may have to sacrifice your spending, but there is no need to sacrifice the good life.

I’m no financial expert, but I’ve been told I have a knack for finding the best bargains around — dining deals, free events and ways to cut your expenses.

Here are a few favorites this week to get you started:

• National Parks from across the country are offering free admission three different weekends this summer — the first being June 20-21. That includes Grand Portage National Monument and Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, as well as some of the nation’s more well-known parks like Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Grand Canyon.

This would make a great Father’s Day trip, saving on average fees of $3 to $25. The two other weekends you can snag this deal this summer are July 18-19 and Aug. 15-16. Note: camping fees still apply.

• If you’ve never heard of the Entertainment book, it offers hundreds of 50 percent off coupons and 2-for-1 discounts. Right now, they are offering the 2009 book for free when you reserve the 2010 edition. That means you’ll have a plethora of coupons to use throughout the summer to get deals on dining, entertainment and travel — and a book for next year!

That’s two books for $35, which I can say from experience, pays for itself after using one or two coupons. The coupons in the 2009 book are valid through Nov. 1, 2009. The 2010 book coupons are good to use once you get the book until November 2010. You can preview all the merchants that have coupons here.

So, whether it’s an inexpensive lunch or fabulous, affordable trip to Europe, I’ll try to find it all for you here and post some of your shared tips along the way.

Until next time, shop smart

-Alison Lorge is a web producer and consumer blogger at WCCO. Text WCCODEALS to 84816 for deals of the week.

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