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How to Use Mindful Spending and Avoid Summer Debt

Summer should be a time to get outside and relax for a couple of fleeting months. For parents with tight budgets, though, stress over summer spending and debt can interfere with summer fun. When kids are out of school, living costs go up, and that can create pressure.

In a 2015 BMO survey, Canadian families revealed they spent an average of $2,735 a month during the summer, almost double when you compare that to spending during non-summer months. Spending on social outings nearly tripled, grocery costs went up 75 per cent, and money into the gas pump more than doubled.

There’s a good chance that Canadian parents have been cutting back since these survey results were released. But there’s no doubt that the summer months continue to be expensive for families.

How can parents cut corners when it comes to these kind of spending increases?

With back-to-school coming after summer, you don’t want to be adding to your consumer debt load now. One thing you can do is plan your summer spending now and start practicing mindful spending.

What is mindful spending?

Mindful spending, sometimes called conscious spending, simply means spending with purpose or a plan in mind (rather than spending mindlessly). It’s about aligning what you value and what you purchase in a way that won’t create regret in the future.

In order to start practicing mindful spending, you can take some of the lessons from personal finance writer Cait Flanders, who did things like:

  • Instituting a shopping ban and limiting times where she would eat out.
  • Opening a separate bank account for savings goals.
  • Decluttering and getting rid of items in the house that weren’t used or needed. (While this doesn’t impact your bottom line unless you’re selling old things, it can relieve mental stress.)

For parents trying to rein in summer spending, being mindful is just one of many ways to avoid accumulating debt.

For more tips on how to plan a debt-free summer when the family budget is tight, listen to this podcast with advice from our Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs). They get into topics like reviewing last year’s summer spending and committing to a budget.

You can also join the conversation happening on social media, using the hashtags #ParentingTips and #Budgeting.

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