How to Survive Summer and Reduce Debt at the Same TimeMay 12, 2018
If summer is stressing you out as a parent, it’s time to start planning on how to keep your kids busy and still manage to reduce debt at the same time.
Having your kids home from school obviously brings on added costs. A BMO survey from 2015 shows that Canadian families double their spending (111 per cent increase) on social outings, entertaining, groceries and gas in the summer months versus non-summer months. The average spend is $2,735 per month.
With this kind of fluctuation from the usual household budget, it’s no surprise that many families are resigned to taking on debt during the summer. According to Stats Canada, couples with children carry half of all household debt in the country. Whether it’s finding child care for the days when both parents are working, planning a trip where the budget goes awry, or just being pinched by rising gas prices — summer can be difficult on the pocketbook.
If you want to make an effort to limit summer spending and get relief from consumer debt, it’s important to start early and make an action plan. Evaluate your plans and whether they fit into your budget. Can a vacation be reconsidered? Are there daily expenses you can save on? Are you ready for back-to-school?
Explore some low-cost activities in the Regina area
If you’re rethinking your vacation to save money, take the initiative to look at local activities that can fill time without breaking your budget. In Regina, these can include visiting the Saskatchewan Science Centre, taking a ride on one of the city’s pathways, or, of course, getting seats at a Riders game.
There’s also do-it-yourself outings, such as geocaching and a neighbourhood sports team — both suggested in this great Canadian Budget Binder article. Geocaching can make a simple park trip exciting, as your kids use a smartphone or GPS device to find treasure hidden nearby.
Find ways to save on daily expenses
You can make little changes to your lifestyle to save money each month. Bike to run errands instead of driving can save money on gas. Host barbecues instead of dining out can make you save on social outings.
You can also save money by preparing your home for the summer months. Debt Free Spending has some great tips on this front, including updating your insulation, adding window coverings, installing ceiling fans, and planting trees. Beyond saving money off your hydro bill, some of these can even turn into fun family projects.
Remember your back-to-school budget amidst summer fun
It’s also important to keep the fall months in the back of your mind when planning summer spending. A 2017 survey found that half of Canadian parents say back-to-school shopping strains household finances, as they spend almost twice more on supplies than they do on holiday gifts.
Falling behind during the summer can leave a family scrambling to make credit card payments in the fall. Make sure you’re considering the long-term picture when budgeting. This concept extends further than fall, as well. If you want to make debt relief easier, you can look at solutions like consolidating your debt, which combines your debts all together into one simple monthly payment.
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) can also help you explore options like a consumer proposal to see if you require a more formal debt relief solution. Making a point to reduce debt now, will make future summers less stressful and more enjoyable for the whole family.