The first official day of summer is Sunday, but mentally, we've been there for a long time. It was a tough winter and as soon as water began dripping from the icicles, Canadians rejoiced.
We donned sweaters and got a jump start on patio season. We flocked to waterfronts for strolls and frisbee throwing and contemplated buying ice cream cones well before it was warm enough to warrant them.
Let's face it -- as a nation, our collective summer starvation turns us into ravenous sun-worshippers, giddy and eager to soak up every moment. And for many of us, money proves no obstacle, even if it means going into debt.
This week, Tangerine released survey results showing that nine out of ten Canadians (88 per cent) have no plans to spend less this summer, and one in five Canadians say they're likely to book this year's summer vacation by using credit or going into debt.
According to the survey, here are the top three reasons for increased summer spending:
• Food, drink, and entertainment: 67 per cent
• Weekend trips: 42 per cent
• Vacations: 37 per cent
The summer splurge certainly wreaks havoc on financial health. The overwhelming majority of Canadians (83 per cemt) said their carefree summer spending would have an impact on their ability to save during summer.
I hate to be a buzzkill, but proper budgeting and saving are good habits that require dedication year-round, not just when it's too cold and snowy to leave the house. Start-and-stop budgeting makes it really difficult to get ahead and achieve financial goals.
That's not to say we can't have fun during the summer. We're allowed to enjoy a cold beer on a hot day. But we need to make sure we meet our financial obligations first and also ensure that we're not paying our tab with money we don't have.
Here are a few ways that you can have your pint and drink it too:
Automate your savings. Warren Buffet once said, "Do not save what is left after spending, instead spend after you save." Automatically divert 5 to 10 per cent of your paycheque to your savings account so that you won't have the option to choose a summer concert ticket instead of a savings deposit.
Entertainment debt is bad debt. You might have heard about the concept of "good debt" -- education and mortgages are examples of investments that will help further your finances. On the other hand, throwing a round of mojitos on your credit card is about as far away from good debt as you can get. Pay for fun with cash -- no exceptions.
The sun is free. Much of the joys of summer come free of charge -- namely the great weather. You don't need to go on a road trip every weekend - there are lots of great ways to enjoy the sun in your own backyard (literally). Nearby parks or nature trails will work too.
BYOB BBQ. Seven letters that will save you a ton of money this summer. A good grill and a solid barbecue recipe will give pub grub a run for its money (and save you a lot). Invite some friends over and get them to pitch in on drinks and side dishes. You'll have all the fun of a patio at a fraction of the cost. Plus you can control the music!
The bottom line is that while resistance to the summer splurge might seem futile, there are some simple things that we can do to still have fun and soak up the sun, while not doing too much damage to our bottom line. If you have a favourite tip for summer frugality, please join in the conversation in the comment section below!
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