How To Avoid Debt and Still Enjoy Your SummerMay 12, 2018
If you think of summer and the first thing that comes to mind is debt, you may not be alone. The extra costs of childcare, family activities, day camp and family vacations can certainly add up and lead to spending more than you intended. A BMO summer spending survey states that Canadian families spend an average of $2,735 per month on social outings, entertainment, groceries and gas during the summer months, a 111 per cent increase compared to the non-summer months.
You will be happy to learn that it is possible to survive summer without adding more to your consumer debt. These four summer spending tips will help you enjoy summer while steering clear of overspending.
Summer spending tip #1 – Be Mindful
As personal finance blogger Jessica Moorhouse suggests, one of the best ways to reduce the amount of debt you’ll potentially encounter this summer is to engage in ‘mindful spending’. Mindful spending means being conscious of what you are buying and asking yourself whether this purchase is something that will really benefit you. If the answer is no, it’s best to leave it behind and save your money.
A good tip that she recommends is tracking your expenses and setting a budget for your activities. Whether it’s writing down all the things you buy in a note book, or using a spending tracking app like Wally, it will be easier to stay on track if you know how much you’re spending as you go along. Even the small things such as drinks on a patio, or an ice-cream outing, count them in, as during those hot summer months, even these little treats can add up really quickly.
Summer spending tip #2 -Avoid Temptation
Along with mindful spending, avoiding temptation is also key to a debt-free summer. You may be tempted to forgo your summer budget when you look at all your friends’ family vacation photos. Use these photos as a motivator to save for your next vacation. Use a goals worksheet, or set up a vacation fund where you put your extra savings in, that way, you don’t have to rely on debt, credit and interest charges to take a vacation.
Always remember that although you may suffer a little FOMO or Fear of Missing Out by avoiding temptation, you’ll also avoid experiencing the stress of carrying too much debt.
Summer spending tip #3 – Simple is Best
Although a fancy vacation seems fun, it’s also important to remember that the best things in life don’t necessarily cost a thing. For example, spending time playing outdoors or even hosting a campout in your backyard are all great ways to have fun with your family this summer without spending a ton of money.
Enjoy the sights, events and activities your city has to offer. Check out Sarnia’s Community Festival and Events calendar to find out what fun events are going on near you.
Summer spending tip #4 – Remember Your Goals
Thinking about your family’s financial goals and priorities this summer will also help you stay away from debt. Whether it’s saving for your child’s education or paying off the student debt you still owe, keeping these goals front and centre will also help you avoid overspending.
To help you remember your goals, make sure you have a budget and dedicate some funds to support these goals. Set automatic transfers, that way you won’t spend your goal money somewhere else. It will also be a nice surprise at the end of the year when you see all this money accumulated, or when you realise you’ve paid off certain debts.