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Avoiding the Summer-Time Blues - How to Afford a Summer Vacation When Money is Tight

Getting away during the summer months for a much needed vacation is an expense many Canadians struggle with. When money is tight, here are 6 things you can do to help avoid the summer-time blues and still catch a break.

1. Set a savings goal

How much money do you need to go on a vacation? An expensive holiday might not be possible this year, so think about how much you do need to still enjoy some time away. Once you determine how much you need, break down how much to save per pay cheque to help you reach your goal.

If you're thinking that this is easier said than done, keep reading...we're getting there.

Related: A family heading off onto a summer vacation.How to Save for a Summer Vacation in 30 Days (30 Day Savings Challenge)

2. Create a spending plan

If you don’t have a personal or household budget, this is the first step to finding money for your vacation. It'll be hard to set a little extra aside if you don't know what you need for the rest of your expenses. Click here to learn how to budget (or click here for the really simple version). Once most people take the time to track their spending and create a budget, they usually find it easy to identify expenses that they can cut back on.

3. Look for expenses to trim

One of the easiest ways to find a little extra money is to trim back somewhere else. As part of your budgeting process, track what you're spending your money on. Look at all of your expenses and decide where you can cut back. It could be as simple as putting your cable bill on hold for the spring and summer months when the weather is nicer. It might mean planning your meals and shopping better so that you've got leftovers that you can take for lunch.  In a separate article we have laid out 7 ways that you can trim your current spending to save thousands of dollars. One of these tips may be your ticket to a vacation this year. 

4. Look for places to save money

When trying to find either a little extra income, or a way to trim expenses, taking a step back can help. What advice would you give a friend who is in your situation? Extra savings can potentially come from using smarter shopping strategies, your job, the government or your expenses. Click here to find 9 places where you can find money to save. Sometimes it's so easy to overlook the most obvious. 

5. Setup automatic transfers

We can be our money's worst enemy, so we need strategies to keep it safe from ourselves. Your bank or credit union can help you set up automatic transfers from your chequing account into another account that is hard to take money out of. This could be a high interest savings account that is not linked to your bank card. If, for example, you were to automatically transfer $25 per week into a separate savings account, you would have $1,300 saved within a year. Many people wouldn't really miss $25 a week, so a simple arrangement like this can help you save for your vacation almost “automatically.”

6. Go on a “staycation”

If money is really tight, or you prefer the comfort of your own bed, you don’t have to travel anywhere to get away and relax. “Staycations” have become really popular (click here to find out what a “staycation” is). If you're not sure what you could do for a "staycation," we've created a list of 30 "staycation" ideas.

Use these tips to get started sooner rather than later. Your ticket to a summer get-away can be as easy as planning ahead! 

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