TORONTO, ONTARIO, March 09, 2017 – It is that special time of year for many Canadian families; it is time to celebrate March Broke…er March Break!
Now some families may be cringing at the thought of March Break especially if your finances are really tight right now. A million thoughts must be running through the heads of Canadian parent’s, but everything is starting with, “What are we going to do with the kids?” Or ”Can we afford to go anywhere?” For many parents, the answer is probably no. The reality is some Canadians are still trying to shake the debt they racked up during the holidays and the thought of spending time away is an expense many simply cannot afford right now. But a new poll by Ipsos for BDO says Canadians plan to spend almost $600 this March Break and depending where they live in Canada they are planning to spend more or less of the same:
- British Columbia ($913)
- Alberta ($756)
- Ontario ($594)
- the Atlantic provinces ($552)
- Quebec ($423)
- Saskatchewan and Manitoba ($384)
However with Canadians carrying record levels of debt (the average household carries $22,081) and almost 50 per cent of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque – many consumers will turn to their credit cards to finance their March Break plans.
“Canadians are living beyond their means and they are sitting on a mountain of debt. When you are plagued by debt the last thing you should do is add more to your debt load. You’re adding more stress to an already stressful situation. March Break is about fun, not about being plagued by your debt,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“Canadians need to focus on what they can afford and nothing more. Yes it’s nice to go away and enjoy a relaxing vacation however if you can’t afford it, find other, more affordable ways to bring the vacation relaxation over to you,” says Schwartz.
As Canadians prepare for their spring break plans with their kids, it’s important for consumers to think of frugal ways to have an enjoyable March Break. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada recommends the following tips:
What can you afford?
A trip to Disney World would be great however if you’re knee deep in debt, that’s not realistic. So create a budget to help you see what you can afford and stick to it.
Pack only what you need
If you do plan on travelling, pack your suitcase underweight so you won’t be subject to any overweight charges when you check your luggage at the airport or even find a way to your carry on only. Remember your whole purpose of your getaway is to unwind and have some fun. So the fewer things you bring – the better!
If you have travel points – use them to save some of your hard earned cash. Or take your points to help you save for a rental vehicle or travel insurance – do what works best for you.
When in doubt stay home and enjoy March Break in your home town. There are a variety of free local activities around your city. Or you can enjoy various festivals and events at a nominal cost for your family.
Get the kids involved!
This opportunity to involve your children in the planning is two-fold; let them plan activities that they want to do, and give them a budget to live within. The lessons on money management and sacrifice will stead them well into their financial future.
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Natasha Carr, Community and Public Relations Manager,
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.,
T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-830-4720, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]