10 cool ways to spend your summer job money

1. Start your summer off with a bang. Grab a few friends, pitch in some cash for fireworks and head to a pyrotechnic-friendly area. Spend a couple days celebrating your newfound freedom with a spectacular light show. Just make sure to research the safety rules behind the thrills first.
Estimated cost: $50

2. Drop some dollars on a movie reminiscent of your childhood. "Toy Story 3" and "The Karate Kid" come out this summer. "Toy Story 3" revolves around what happens to Woody, Buzz and the rest of the crew after Andy leaves for college. Similar to the 1984 film of the same name, "The Karate Kid" focuses on a boy who moves to a different town and learns martial arts to save himself from a bully. Soon he realizes that his new practice leads to a new way of life. Both movies premier in June.
Estimated cost: $7-15

3. Don't be embarrassed. We all read the series and possibly even dressed up like a Hogwarts character for the midnight movie premiers. Now fans can take a break from Muggle life to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The new addition to Universal Orlando Resort opened in the spring of 2010, and allows visitors to tour Hogwarts, shop and eat in Hogsmeade and ride dragon roller coasters. Passes range from $79 for one day to $160 for a week.
Cost: $79-160 (plus travel and stay)

4. If you're in the mood for some music and moshing, blow $215 on a three-day pass to Lollapalooza this August. This year, the lineup for Chicago's music festival features artists such as MGMT, Spoon, Lady Gaga and Soundgarden. DJs, including 2ManyDJs and Digitalism, will play Electronica tracks for the third year at Perry's stage. Tickets for one and two-day passes are already sold out, so be sure to grab a three-day one fast. (The photo above is from Cage the Elephant'[s appearance at Lolla.)
Cost: $215 (plus travel and stay)

5. Get your game on with one of the new video games scheduled for release this summer. Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Nintendo Wii started off the summer game sales on May 23 for $50. The newest of the Rock Band series, featuring Green Day, hits shelves June 8 for $60. Dead Rising 2 for Xbox 360, PlayStation and PC computers is scheduled to come out on August 31 and will also sell for $60.
Cost: $50-60 per game

6. Grab a backpack and a couple friends and fly to Europe for a memorable summer vacation. Hit Amsterdam for non-stop partying or down some beer in Munich. The drinks sure beat your local college bar. Save a few bucks by staying in hostels and booking plane tickets through student discount websites such as Student Universe.
Estimated cost: $3,000

7.Admit it, after all the commotion, you'd like to see what the iPad has to offer. It's the perfect place to store pictures, music and movies. Plus, games seem more realistic on that huge screen. You could even convince the 'rents that the reading applications will help you with your studies in the fall. Wi-Fi-run iPads cost anywhere from $500 to $700 -- depending on the size -- while ones with 3G capability will set you back $630 to $830.
Cost: $500-830

8. Hit up a local food festival and munch on some tasty treats. Grant Park's Taste of Chicago runs from June 25 to July 4. New York's Food and Wine Festival takes place June 18-24 and includes everything from dessert to cheese. Gilroy, Calif. holds a special celebration for garlic lovers at the Gilroy Garlic Festival over the weekend of July 23. Most have free or low-priced entry, but you'll end up emptying your wallet on the delicious spreads.
Estimated cost: $15-30

9. After disappearing in 2008, rock fans feared that they had seen the last of Ozzfest. Luckily, the music festival will return this summer. Throughout mid-August, the musicians will hit six spots across the country. The 2010 lineup features artists such as Nonpoint, Drowning Pool and Ozzy Osbourne himself. Purchase tickets from LiveNation.com before June 18 and get four for $120, along with a copy of Osbourne's new album.
Estimated cost: $30-100

10. Spend some cash on a cool, summer soundtrack. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Mojo" will be released on June 15, followed by Three 6 Mafia's new "Laws of Power" later that month. Both Eminem and Miley Cyrus have albums coming out on June 22. In July, M.I.A. and Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's latest works will premiere. T.I.'s "King Uncaged" will wrap up the summer track releases on August 24.
Estimated cost: $15-23 per CD
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