Monday, March 4, 2024

Here are 9 tips to afford a summer escape


The warmer it gets, the more we all want a break from routine.

But what good is a week of vacation if debt is weighing you down the whole time?

Here are nine simple equations to help you determine your budget for summer fun and relaxation. Feel free to apply one or all to your summer planning and then feel at ease knowing you won’t have to work overtime when the bills come in.


ADD to rainy (or sunny) day savings.
If you have an account set up to save money for vacations, direct any additional dollars you can to it for a few months. For example, I set up an automatic transfer of $5 a day, and in two months that amounted to $300 in extra summer savings.

MULTIPLY the days until vacation begins by your amount of extra expenses.
When you have a big goal in mind, it’s easier to motivate yourself to redirect extra spending money into savings. I try to skip restaurant purchases and prep simple meals (avoiding name-brand groceries), use a fitness app instead of my personal trainer, trade golf for lengthy walks, and stream Netflix series instead of hitting the cinema. On average, cutting $15 a day gives me an extra $450 to spend by the end of a month.

SUBTRACT costs associated with running the household.
Just because you’re on hiatus doesn’t mean your service providers are taking a break. Make sure to account for the usual expenses (like utilities), as well as additional costs like a house sitter when you’re away.

ADD some overtime.
If you’re keen to try a pricey experience, something that calls for more than can easily be saved in a couple of months, you’ve got to put in some extra work. Try to budget your time differently. For example, I’ve pulled extra shifts and taken on side jobs at times, funneling all those earnings into vacation savings.

SUBTRACT my excess baggage.
I once had a garage sale net me $1000 that I turned into a week at a four-star hotel. If you’ve got stuff around the house that’s unused and non-essential, you could do the same. Take a couple of days to tag and sell, and then haggle your way to a much bigger holiday.

Pay less PERCENTAGE rate on debt.
Any lending rate has some wiggle room. I regularly keep an eye out for lower interest rates and use them to negotiate on my line of credit, credit cards, mortgage, and loans. See if your lender will beat or match the competition. Even a 1 per cent reduction can save thousands if you’re carrying significant debt.

During vacation

DIVIDE my money into each day.

The simplest way to stick to your budget during summer break is via some easy math. I divide my total savings by the number of days on vacation and balance any big-ticket spending. If one day needs a little more money, the next needs to be frugal. Be flexible, but smart, and watch the bottom line.

RATIO free activities into the agenda.
Not only do free activities allow for more spending on other memorable experiences, but having no-spending days introduces some much-appreciated rest time.

COUNT on special deals.
Most businesses have money-saving options like coupons, early-bird times, and referral perks. Sometimes you have to be flexible with the details or timing, but in the end, you’ll have a great, affordable experience.

This summer I’m incorporating all these methods to explore Vancouver Island without breaking the bank. Hopefully, you can too.

What will your epic adventure be?

Travis Koivula
Columnist for Victoria Buzz, and financial planner with Island Savings Insurance Services. Keeping it simple for you to understand the best ways to save and spend your money. What financial question do you need answered?

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