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Dreading Summer Debt? Here’s How To Avoid It

Now’s the time to start planning for your summer, and how to avoid summer debt. In this podcast, we talk about some ways your family can plan for a debt free summer. One of the tried and true methods is reframing how you look at summer spending, and deciding what you need, and what you want (and what can wait).

Families already face high costs

Money is tight for many Canadian families. And there’s little doubt about why: couples with kids carry half of all of the nation’s household debt, according to Stats Canada. Raising kids is an expensive endeavour and with extracurricular costs, adding an average of $1100 per child, these expenses all contribute to a family’s debt load.

And there will always be expenses that you can’t avoid as a family. The list of “needs” goes on and on; mortgage payments, utility bills, child care costs, transportation, groceries, and health care costs all add up very quickly.

So it’s important to consider these unavoidable costs and work your summer fun budget around these to avoid debt.

Focus on what you can control

Overspending in the summer isn’t unusual for many Canadians. But there are a lot of expenses in the summer months that can be avoided, and don’t qualify as “needs”.

If eating well and trying new foods in the summer is a favourite of your family, then cut costs elsewhere. Don’t take any expensive day trips or week long vacations out of town. Stay local and explore the world of local cuisine. If water parks and carnivals are more your speed, think about cutting costs on those trips, like packing snacks and drinks, and car pooling or taking public transportation.

Look at your budget and determine how much you can put towards summer fun activities and base yourself on that when you plan your summer outings.

Check out how to get the family on the “frugal bandwagon”  with this article by Pink and Blue magazine.

Focusing on those costs and prioritizing what you can afford only can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary consumer debt that could follow you into the fall.

Don’t let summer fun affect your other financial priorities

Don’t sacrifice important goals, like retirement, or emergency savings, for immediate summer fun. Those savings might seem far away or even unlikely to be needed, but circumstances can change quickly and you could be facing more debt in the future.

The best way to make sure your financial goals aren’t forgotten is creating a budget and putting money aside each month for your goals. Add a summer fun category to your budget where you can save money all year for those fun activities. Saving up for them will allow your whole family to not miss the summer fun and help you avoid debt by not relying on credit.

Your family is unique, and so are your interests–and your budget. Make the choices that will bring the most joy with the least (or no) debt possible.

How does your unique family have fun in the summer? Tell us on Twitter. #ParentingTips #Budgeting

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