Summer is filled with opportunities to explore and adventure around Ontario and abroad, but it also tends to represent a season in which individuals spend quite a bit of cash. As such, Ontarians should take care to follow various best practices of personal finance going into the middle of spring and through the end of summer so that they do not break the bank or wind up with no spending money by the holiday shopping season.
Let's take a look at a few quick and easy ways you can have a great time this summer while maintaining financial health and stability:
Managing travel costs
Minimize the total amount of money you spend on your trips and account for all of the moving parts involved. One way to do this is to follow the best practices of business travel cost management. Fast Company outlined some of these tricks, such as purchasing plane or train tickets further in advance and at times in which sales are offered.
According to the magazine, researching your destination to see if it is a particularly busy time of the year for tourists can help you to make smarter decisions. Consider booking a trip to an area that is not quite as popular over the summer, as virtually all of the general costs - including airfare, hotels and even tours - will likely to be lower. Fast Company also suggested utilizing a travel agent, as these individuals tend to be more keen on deals and budget travel options.
Setting a budget and sticking to it
Budgeting is the other side of this coin and will be important at times in which you are traveling or spending more money than normal. Forbes recently suggested several personal finance best practices related to budget that are effective and easy to follow. After deciding on personal goals or a set budget, follow U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's plan of devoting 50 percent of income to monthly bills and food, 20 percent to savings and 30 percent to fun, the magazine suggested.
Forbes stressed the value of utilizing credit cards rather than cash or debit cards, as building points, miles and other rewards is a great way to stretch your dollars as far as possible. This is of course assuming that a credit card is right for your particular financial situation, and that it is used responsibly. Given many creditors offer cards that specifically cater to travelers, consider applying for one of these products before beginning to book all of your travel this summer.
Finally, get creative when it comes to saving dollars while you are away. Make sure your home's lights and other applicable utilities are not running while you are gone, seek out a friend to watch your dogs or cats instead of boarding them and take other small steps toward reducing the cost of your vacation.
Have fun this summer Ontario!