Sail into summer with a savings plan

Sail into summer with a savings plan

By Leah Drewcock, LIT, CIRP

With spring on the way, and summer close behind, it’s natural to start dreaming of lazy lake days and family barbecues, vacations and long-weekend road trips.

And with some simple planning we’ll look back on our summer with warm memories instead of mountains of debt.

Sail into SUMMER with a budget:

  • (S)et specific and realistic goals
  • (U)nderstand and Use credit wisely
  • (M)eet your needs first, wants second
  • (M)easure your progress
  • (E)nvelope system
  • (R)ecord your expenses

(S)et specific and realistic goals: Be specific and realistic about how much you can spend, and save. Track spending for a few months, tallying receipts at the end of each month, by category (i.e. housing and utilities; vehicle; food; personal expenses).

Now, what will you need to save? If plans include a road trip, that means fuel, maintenance, meals, accommodation and activities. If you want $1,500 set aside for your vacation in six months, that means saving $250 per month. Is this realistic based on current spending habits?

It’s also important to build an emergency fund – before you save for anything else – to cover your obligations in case of lost income or unexpected expenses.

(U)nderstand and use credit wisely: Before using your credit card for major purchases, understand how credit works. Here are a few tips for using credit on your vacation:

  • Notify your credit card company that you’re travelling so they don’t flag your card for abnormal purchases.
  • Take advantage of additional purchase protection and travel insurance offered by some cards.
  • Use points to pay for a rental car or hotel.
  • Pre-pay your credit card and use it for purchases while vacationing, rather than carrying cash.
  • Remember that credit costs money in interest charges. Only use credit if you can pay it in full every month.

(M)eet your needs first, wants second: Prioritize spending goals, looking at needs first – what you need to survive. After budgeting for your needs, consider what you want. By cutting back on “wants” now, you can save for those summer extras.

(M)easure your progress: After tracking spending and setting budget goals, you’ll start to see spending trends. Compare actual expenditures to your budget.

A budget is a constantly changing thing. No one month will be the same as another and you need to allow for spending overages – reducing spending in one category to address overages in another. For example, exceeding May’s mobile data means a bigger June bill. You may need to adjust other June spending to balance the budget. Ideally you have savings in place to cover the unexpected.

(E)nvelope system: After tracking expenses and setting your budget, the ‘envelope system’ can help you stick to your budget. Put your cash in separate envelopes labelled for each expense category. If you’re tempted to use money from another envelope, ask if you can accept the consequences. If you take the money, leave a note – several notes mean it’s time to revise your budget!

(R)ecord your expenses: Record every expenditure – before you set a budget and after. You can’t properly forecast spending without reviewing your history. Sort expenses into categories and total the categories every week. Compare them to your budgeted amount and adjust spending if required. There are many choices for tracking your expenses, including a notebook or chequebook, calendar, computer spreadsheet or APP.

Now you should be all set to sail into SUMMER!

If you do find expenses are higher than your income and you’re struggling with monthly payments, don’t suffer alone. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to learn your options for a permanent fresh and a debt-free future.

Based out of Prince George, Leah Drewcock, CIRP, LIT, is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and Vice President at MNP Ltd. Contact Leah toll-free at 310-DEBT or 877-898-2580 for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation to find a Life-Changing Debt Solution that fits your unique situation.

Debt

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
COVID-19 exposure notice shuts down Hazelton school

Closure to last for one week and school is to be sanitized

MacCarthy GM staff and customers raised $700 for Pink Shirt Day. (Submitted Photo/Mudit Mehta)
Terrace dealership raises hundreds of dollars for Pink Shirt Day

MacCarthy GM staff and customers raised $700 for anti-bullying initiatives

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read