Don’t let summer fun leave you in debt, financial expert says

As Canadians are feeling the urge to spend on summer fun, one financial advisor recommends being realistic and cautious this year.

“People have this urge because they’ve been locked up for the past couple of years. So, we know they’re ready to get out there, ready to spend,” BDO Canada’s Jasmin Brown told CTV News.

“Things are opening back up. People are looking to spend money on travel, leisure, outdoor, recreation,” she said. “We’re just saying exercise some caution because of a few different factors.”

“Inflation is at a 31-year high, which means everything down to the backyard barbecue is going to cost more money.”

CANADIAN CREDIT CARD DEBT INCREASES

Brown also noted that household debt was at “near record highs.”

“We know that people are relying on credit cards to fill the gap already. And we know that interest rates are rising. So it’s creating a perfect storm for people to get in trouble with debt if they don’t mind what they are spending.”

Canadians’ credit card spending climbed by 17.5 percent in the first part of 2022, according to an Equifax press release.

The average Canadian is over $20,000 in non-mortgage debt. In total, consumer debt rose to $2.3 trillion in the last year.

 

BE CREATIVE THIS SUMMER

Brown says its vital to stick to a budget.

“There is still some time to look at what you can actually afford to spend this summer. I always recommend start by looking at what is coming in and what is left over after the monthly bills are paid. You want to use that budget and make sure you’re tracking as you go to keep your spending in check.”

She also said consumers can get creative when it comes to having fun and saving money.

“You might consider a staycation versus a vacation where you have to travel far away. If you are travelling, use the websites to find a lower priced hotel. Look at buying food from the grocery store instead of dining out. Look at the creative things you can do to save some money.

“You might have a backyard barbecue but make it a potluck so you can share some of that expense because you will not be the only one that is feeling the pinch.”

 

FOMO

Brown also said that people should not let the ‘fear of missing out” drive them into debt.

“It’s important to be realistic about what you’re seeing. You’re seeing posts of the beaches, the drinks on the patio, the dining out but what you don’t see with that is affordability or the credit card statement. Just be realistic about what you can actually afford in your budget.”

If nothing else, she said, turn off your device.

“If you’re already struggling financially and you’re finding you are experiencing FOMO, summer is a time to relax, kickback, think about unplugging. Just disconnect from your social media. It will help you financially if you’re prone to giving in to keeping up or comparing yourself with others,” she explained.

“Keep in mind summer can be fun. You can have fun without breaking the bank. You just want to be careful and preplan as much as you can. Look at that budget and keep yourself on track.”