Summer is the ultimate test – should you focus on your debt-free lifestyle or spend all of your money dancing the night away in outdoor cabana bars? You do only live once, and it can be a trick to avoid debt trouble while enjoying life to its fullest. Too much fun without enough income can eventually lead to something we call overextended credit. Time really does fly while you’re having fun. Before you know it your epic summer adventures will become interest bearing balances on credit cards that you can’t afford to pay off.
Living a debt-free lifestyle can be a piece of cake if you know how to enjoy yourself while still saving money. Before you start using your credit cards to book trips, rent cars, or purchase concert and festival tickets this summer; consider these tips to help you save on costs.
Amusement Parks, Carnivals and Fairs
If you crave adventure in the form of roller coasters and funnel cake, be sure to look for and take advantage of special offers. Buying tickets in advance can often save you money off of the admission price to most parks, carnivals and fairs. Waiting to purchase tickets at the door usually means paying full price or more. Sign up for newsletters online for the places you like to visit each summer and you will likely be one of the first people to know when a new offer becomes available.
Pack lunches and bring snacks and water. Check the park rules, and if it’s okay to bring your own beverages and food into the park with you, pack a lunch and snacks. Food and drink prices may be inflated inside the park, lower your costs easily by planning ahead.
Many parks and exhibitions offer special rates if you book as a group. Find out how many people it takes to qualify for group pricing and see if you can get enough people interested in booking together to save money.
Concerts, Theatre and Festivals
Similar to amusement parks and fairs, the early bird gets the worm. Concerts, theatre tickets and festivals often advertise advance ticket discounts. Following your favourite places and artists online and in email blast newsletters will ensure that you find out when a promotional code is available for advance ticket purchases. Why pay full price when you can save by buying early.
Set a budget for expenses like souvenirs, merchandise, drinks and food. Once again, concert venues, theatres and festivals tend to boost the prices on food and drink. If you attend unprepared and bring your credit card, you may be tempted to overspend. Set a budget for yourself in advance so that you don’t buy more than you can afford. Be very careful at events that drive impulsive shopping such as comic book conventions. In these scenarios, browse everything before you make any purchases and be sure that you use your budget to buy the things you want the most. If you spend too early on one collectible, you might be disappointed or overspend when you find another piece of memorabilia later.
Free Municipal Events
Each summer municipalities schedule free events such as movies or concerts in the park. Check with tourism in local cities and towns (doesn’t even have to be where you reside) to see what free events they offer. Pack a lunch/snacks and beverages and attend free events with your friends to truly reduce your entertainment costs and save money.
Natural Attractions and Camping
Find natural, admission-free attractions to visit and take a road trip to explore waterfalls, natural springs, and other places that may be of interest to you and your debt-free seeking family/friends. Ontario boasts a wealth of natural attractions to see, travel north for the Canadian Shield or head out to Niagara Falls and explore the gorge and escarpment.
Camping is another way to save on entertainment costs. Book your trip with friends and family members to share the cost of the campsite and work together to contribute to food for the duration of your stay. Camp food is usually inexpensive to begin with and well in-line with a debt-free budget. But if you cook as a group, sharing the costs of camp-food staples like, canned beans, corn on the cob, hot dogs, breakfast foods and marshmallows – your group can have a feast for a relatively low cost.
If you’ve already added to your credit card debt this summer and worry about returning to school in the fall with debts to pay, we can help. Our licensed insolvency trustees can help you fix the debt problem you already have and help you to avoid more debt in the future. Call 310-4321 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation of your options. You owe it to yourself to get ahead of your debt and create the debt-free future you deserve.