Avoiding the Summer Splurge

Many Canadians aiming to downsize their summer spending

When you live in a country as cold as Canada, the lure of a sultry summer breeze can be enough to melt any budget.

Year after year, Canadians let down their frugal guard and give into summer vacations, patios, and home renovations.  Last summer, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA) reported nearly four in 10 Canadians (39 per cent) spent more than anticipated during the summer, with 29 per cent overspending by $1000 or more.Summer Splurge

Perhaps we have learned our lesson. Summer travel takes up a large chunk of the summer splurge, and Canadians are planning to stay close to home this summer.  A recent Tangerine survey found the following:

  • 25 per cent of Canadians will not travel this summer.
  • 58 per cent will travel within Canada or their home province.
  • 27 per cent changed their US travel plans due to the Canadian dollar.
  • Only nine per cent of Canadians will travel to the US, with eight per cent planning to leave the continent.

Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, thinks the poor exchange rate might be a mixed blessing.

The low Loonie is forcing our hand in some ways, causing us to make tough travel choices that we wouldn’t if it was strong,” says Schwartz.  “The end result is we are seeing a lot of Canadians making frugal travel plans that will help their bottom line.”

Schwartz contends that a smaller spend doesn’t equate to smaller fun.

Budgeting forces us to be creative,” says Schwartz.  “Whether it’s re-thinking our vacation plans or choosing a public pool over an amusement park, there is a lot of fun to be had on a dime.”

Schwartz and the team at Consolidated Credit offer the following tips for Canadians who are champing at the bit for the summer season:

Reconsider the hotel. A hotel room is where you rest your head after a long day of fun at your destination.  Does it really need to be full of bells and whistles?  Go for cheaper options, consider AirBnB, or try camping.

Your patio, not theirs. Summer patio season can be a lot of fun, but if you have a patio or backyard of your own, you can have just as much fun with your friends, at a fraction of the price.  The sunshine is free of charge!

Special dates and times. Amusement parks, museums, zoos, and many other attractions have promotional days or offer discounts during non-peak hours.  Go online and find ways to have the same amount of fun with a smaller price tag.

Find the freebies. Summer is when towns and cities across the country offer free children’s programs as well as festivals galore.  Check your municipality’s website to see what is on offer – remember, there may be a registration deadline to think about.

Take a vacation from credit. If you have a tendency to overspend during summer vacation, put away the plastic.  Cash has a way of keeping you honest.  Budget out an appropriate amount, and when the cash runs out, the spending stops.

If heavy credit card debt loads are causing you to dread summer rather than rejoicing in the sunshine, it may be time to seek professional help. Call our credit counsellors at 1-888-294-3130 to learn how you can regain control.

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