I always finish my summer holidays with a much lighter wallet then I started with. It can be hard to resist the temptation to spend with and on family and friends, but if you plan ahead, create a budget (and stick to it), and think of money saving ideas, you are sure to have a wonderful (and stress free) summer.
Plan Ahead for the Party
During the summer there are always parties and events to attend. Whether it be parades, a family BBQ, or a trip to the beach, vendors know when there are going to be a lot of people in one space (especially children) and the prices are raised exponentially. Last year I took by nephews to the beach on a long weekend and remembering all of the money I had spent on hats and snacks the year before I decided to plan ahead. I looked around my house and went to my local dollar store where I purchased the same items for a fraction of the cost. Then when they asked for the goodies I was able to pull out my purchases and keep everyone happy.
Gift Giving Ideas
Gift giving can be the worst when your budget it tight and picnic and BBQ invites keep coming. Here are a few ideas that will make a smaller dent in your pocket. If there are a lot of family parties coming up try suggesting a family price cap on presents (ie no one spends more then $10.00). This way you can buy more gifts with less money and you don’t have to worry that anyone will feel like their gift falls short. If no one else wants to get in on the savings you can always look to homemade gift ideas. Think about what you have to offer the other person (ie a homemade meal, a feel house cleaning, a home manicure, or a movie date) or you can even do some baking. Have fun and be inventive because I find that my favourite gifts have not been the ones that cost the most but the ones that someone thought about.
Free Weekend Excursions
While you are planning ahead, be sure to investigate all of the free outdoor events, concerts, and street parties offered in your city. The internet and you local library or community center are great resources. Free is always a perfect price (especially when you have kids) and can be just as much fun as some of the expensive theme parks. It is also important to note them on your calendar because if you fill your schedule with free events you will not be as tempted to end up at any of those last minute events that can come at a high cost.
Make Reservations in Advance
It you do decide you can afford to splurge and go away during you summer holidays, you can often get discount of most kinds of travel, hotels, camp sites it you book in advance. This idea comes back to simple supply and demand. If you book there not many other people are booking the vendor is more like to discount their item to ensure a sale.
Create a Budget (and stick to it)
I often find the key to keeping out of financial trouble is making a plan that will work with what you have and sticking to it. Thinking about what we spend before we spend it often helps us get perspective on ‘want’ vs ‘need’. It is always nice to spoil ourselves if we can afford it but we have to be realistic and find a way to enjoy what we can afford. Great cities such as Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph have so many outdoor activities to offer in the summer months and find events that work in your budget even if the event does not work out exactly how you wanted you can walk away from it knowing you didn’t put yourself into a negative financial situation