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Summer brings more than just trips to the beach and back yard barbecues — it can also skyrocket your monthly expenses. As the weather heats up, so does most people’s spending. Not only do people dish out more money on travel and entertainment from June to August than any other time of year, a laid-back, summertime attitude can lead to people tracking their spending less and being a little more care-free with their credit and debit card tapping.
It’s important to get out there and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather with your friends and family, but it’s equally as important that you don’t blow your budget having fun this summer – and the great news is, you don’t have to. We’ve put together five tips to debt-proof your summer and avoid having to pinch pennies in the fall.
During the hot summer months, you may be enticed to head to a patio and splurge on cocktails with friends or grab your swimsuit and head to the beach on the weekends – we’ll see you there! There’s no need to compromise, but it’s essential to plan for these summer activities and budget accordingly (which will also mean reducing other unfixed expenses to avoid going into debt). For added security, download a budget tracking app on your phone so you can spot potential overspending this summer before any debt starts to accumulate.
Pro-tip: try Mint – it helps you track all your accounts in one place and lets you set monthly budgets for all your expenses.
Head to Google and do some research. There are all kinds of activities in your area where you’ll be able to enjoy the warm weather at little-to-no cost. Take advantage of free activities and reading programs at your local library or check out community listings for free events in your neighbourhood, which might include outdoor concerts, festivals, workshops and movies in the park.
And let’s not forget that taking your family for a hike, bike ride or going for a picnic in the park are some pretty great ways to enjoy the outdoors without emptying your savings account. After all, we do live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Whether you’re looking to stimulate your children’s minds by taking them to an exhibit at the museum, or if it’s adventure you’re seeking at an amusement park, be smart about when you go and how you buy your passes. Many museums, zoos and parks offer free or reduced-priced admission on certain days of the week.
When it comes to going to the movies, trim costs by considering a matinee or midweek screening, where you can receive up to 50 percent off tickets along with deals on the best part – the popcorn!
Summer is also wedding season and that means a lot of love and dancing and champagne and…money! Weddings can be a huge financial burden in the summer months – but you don’t have to check “Declines with Regret” on the RSVP.
It’s critical to plan ahead by considering all the potential costs of attending. Check rates at nearby hotels if the wedding block of rooms is out of your price range. Otherwise, renting a home with other family or friends is another way to reduce travel expenses. Recycle an outfit from last season, rent some designer clothing or borrow from a friend. When it comes to the gift, check out online shops to find savings, using coupons for items on the registry or give something homemade.
And of course, the option is always there to choose not to attend. By prioritizing your wedding calendar, you can spend more on the weddings of those you really care about, and just send a gift and a card to acquaintances.
Hosting a backyard barbecue is generally considered a budget-friendly affair, but the costs can add up quickly. If you’re planning to have a meal with friends, consider hosting a potluck where guests bring a dish or drink instead of you having to prepare food for everyone. By making just one or two dishes yourself and having guests bring other items along with their preferred beverages, you can save on the cost of food and cooking supplies. A potluck will not only help save you money, but you’ll also be serving guests a well-rounded, diverse meal that everyone contributed to. Choose a dinner theme and coordinate it in advance with your guests. For entertainment, choose games or activities that keep with the theme.
Your fun, summer spending shouldn’t have you struggling year-round. Be proactive and take these steps to ensure you’re not accumulating more credit card debt this summer.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to stick to your budget this summer, or are juggling increasing bill payments each month, Smythe Insolvency is here to help you get back on track. Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees are trained to work with you to determine the underlying cause of your financial difficulties, as well as assist you in improving your financial management skills, and provide you with effective budgeting strategies to help you achieve your monetary goals.
If you’re ready to start your journey to becoming debt free, contact one of our trusted advisors at one of our 13 offices conveniently located throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Licensed Insolvency Trustee
Greg Best enjoys working with clients to create solutions for their financial needs.
CPA, CA, CIRP
Licensed Insolvency Trustee
Chris Sinclair believes a practical approach is required to solve serious financial difficulties.
Cynthia’s goal is to ensure that every client feels respected and understood and to instill hope that they can get their life back by giving them the fresh start they deserve.