Avoid Debt This Summer With Easy Ways To Save Money

Summer is upon us at last! Doesn’t it seem like we trudge through the whole year just to experience these glorious plus-temp days?. As the sun grows stronger, so does the fun-loving attitude – and we are determined to live it up.

T’is the season for firing up the barbeque with friends, hitting a beach party, or jetting off to exotic places – and that can have you shelling out big bucks. Hey, they say it pays to be popular – but your seasonal summer spending shouldn’t have your struggling year-round. Here are a few pricey pitfalls to avoid this summer:

Save on Summer Shopping

Wait For It: Why does it seem like you’re paying so much more for much less fabric? It’s not your imagination – as hemlines rise and sleeves shorten, retailers are cashing in on the seasonal shopping stampede. Of course it’s reasonable to relish the banishment of your Sorrels in exchange for a sundress – but there’s no need to pay through the nose for new summer threads! You can save BIG bucks with a little strategic timing. Deals abound at end-of-season sales – the trick is catching them in the fall the year before. So mark those calendars!

Go Online: Looking for a few new must-have trends? Elude the mall and log on instead – online discount retailers like e-LUXE.ca or Overstock.com both offer this season’s picks at competitive prices, and in Canadian dollars to boot – you won’t get dinged with pricey over-the border shipping.

Take Advantage of Vintage: It can really pay to recycle! If you’re uninitiated to the wonders of vintage shopping, you’re really missing out. Think $10 or less for those basic tees and tanks – and chances are you’ll also find some stunning style gems at steep discounts. The best strategy is to make a day of it. If you live in a city, chances are there are a few vintage neighbourhood hot pockets – seek them out, plan a map, and start your savings hunt!

Pinch Pennies On The Patio

Those rising temps call for some serious refreshment – but don’t unwittingly drain your savings along with your pina colada. While it can be hard to resist the temptation of joining coworkers for after-hour beers, there are a few easy ways to spend less when eating out:

Check out the Entertainment Book: My mother was sure to pick up this coupon-filled tome every year – and she scoured it for savings whenever we set off for our family-friendly summer adventures. Well, it’s also brimming with great restaurant deals in your neighbourhood – enough to last you all summer long. Visit the site to order one for your location.

Get Chatty: Looking for even more great Canadian coupon deals? There are tons to be found at sites like redflagdeals.com. Check out the forums to see what other savvy shoppers are saying. See – it can pay to be social!

Rewards Are On The Menu: If eating out is a regular part of your lifestyle, you could benefit from a restaurant-specific rewards card, like the CIBC Aventura World MasterCard. In exchange for a $120 annual fee, you’ll earn triple Aventura points at over 40 high-end restaurants in Canada, 1.5 points for gas and grocery purchases, and 1 point on the dollar for all other purchases.

Be Honest: Can you REALLY Afford That Vacation?

It’s time to come clean here – are you still paying off debt from getting outta dodge last year? If so – and as much as it hurts – you’re really in no shape to jet to any exotic destinations this time around. For many Canadians, pricey trips are the kryptonite to their debt reduction plans. If you need to justify your jet setting desires, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did you save for it?: So maybe you’ve got a few bill wads hanging out in your savings account – but are they earmarked for other expenses or emergencies? If so, I hate to break it to you – even though you’ve got the cash on hand, you technically still can’t afford it. This is when it really pays to plan ahead – set aside $100 bucks on a monthly basis and you’ll be amazed at what you can make possible.
  2. Would it derail your debt reduction?: Would taking a vacation cause setbacks to your debt payment timeline? Trust me, it’s not worth the additional interest you’ll be paying. If you can’t cough up the cash without decreasing the commitment to your debt, you’ll need to stay a little more local.
  3. Is credit the only way?: Here’s what you need to do: Freeze your credit card in a block of ice… and back away slowly. In all seriousness though, this is a BIG no no – it’ll take a lot longer than the two weeks you spend soaking up sun to pay it all off. That said, using a credit card with great travel rewards can really bring you the world. Find your best rewards mix here.

Cash In on Road Trip Rewards

If your travel plans are a bit more grounded – think heading north to the cottage – make sure you’re taking into account all that extra filling up. Choosing a credit card with special gas and grocery rewards can take the pain out of the pumps. The MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard Credit Card has been a huge hit on our site, and no wonder – shoppers score up to 5 per cent cash back with every gas and grocery purchase for the first six months – and then they’ll be bringing in 2 per cent with every swipe.

Does it look like a staycation is in the cards this summer? Fear not – there are still good times to be had with our Frugal Summer Vacation tips. Now, don’t forget that sunscreen!

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Personal Finance / Your Budget

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