Action Plan: Tips for managing money in August

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Summer is almost over, which means the frenzy of the holiday shopping season isn’t too far behind. So take advantage of the downtime in coming weeks to review your vacation expenses and strategize for the months ahead.

Here are some dates to watch and money-saving tips to help manage your money:

AUGUST

5: Consumers in 15 states can enjoy sales tax holidays for back-to-school shopping. Sales run at various times throughout the month, and weekend shoppers can benefit from the first of the sales starting on the 5th. For a list of states and what qualifies, visit the Federation for Tax Administrators at http://www.taxadmin.org/FTA/rate/sales_holiday.html .

6-7: Get a dose of the arts. Bank of America credit and debit card holders are entitled to free general admission to a range of museums, zoos, botanical gardens and more on the first full weekend of every month. To find a museum near you, visit http://museums.bankofamerica.com/ .

28. It may not feel like it now, but the start of the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Keep the chaos under control this year by starting to pay down debt and map out a budget now.

31: Set aside an hour or two to review your summer travel and recreation expenses. Crunch numbers to see how much your vacation ended up costing, compared with how much you intended to spend. Store the file away to help map out a budget for next summer.

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Also keep in mind:

—It’s almost time for the start of the school year. Before you know it, the kids will be heading to college. If you haven’t already, consider starting a 529 college savings plan.

— You’re entitled to three free credit reports each year. If you haven’t reviewed your report in several months, request a copy at www.annualcreditreport.com .

— Car dealers will be making room for the 2012 models. Watch for steep discounts and low-interest deals.