Victoria Day has come and gone. As most of you know, the Victoria Day Holiday traditionally honours the May 24th birthday of Queen Victoria. While most are aware of the origins for this celebration, it also signifies the opportunity for us to enjoy a long weekend in May, before the summer months arrive. Moreover, this holiday often also marks the beginning of the spring and summer travel season and so it is an exciting time for many Canadians. This year the long weekend fell on Monday May 18th and it’s not long until our next holiday – for Canada Day. Yes, it is quickly approaching.
While you may be planning a weekend getaway or a get-together with family or friends, – one other important thing may also be on your mind – the act of saving money! If you currently have any concerns about the state of your finances and yet still want to have fun in the summer – who says you can’t have both? Why not build in some activities and take some steps that can help you to even reduce your costs? Here are a few ideas that may help you save some additional money this coming long weekend, that in turn you can put towards paying off your debts.
1) Host a Garage Sale
Having a garage sale at any point in time throughout the summer can be a fun attraction for many neighbours and out of town visitors. Having one on the weekend of the long weekend could also contribute a bit of fun into someone else’s weekend as well as your own. If you have yet to do your big spring cleaning or maybe you already have collected some items that you wish to part with – this then can be a great opportunity for you to earn some extra money. With the likelihood of nice May weather – you may be able to attract a decent amount visitors who are looking to shop. As a result you could end up with a decent amount of money to help you pay off some of your debt this summer.
2) Turn off/Unplug Appliances & Electronics
This weekend can also be a good time to shut off your electrical appliances and in particular, shut off your cable, cell-phone and internet. Whether you go outside or stay in and spend some quality time with family and friends, having a holiday away from technology can also give yourself and your wallet a nice break. While this may save you some money – via cutting back on your electricity, internet and cell phone charges – this may also lead to a more long term behaviour of reducing and using these services less over time. Perhaps you will find you can opt out of or scale down your current cable program or TV streaming service, as you don’t need them as much as you thought you did. In the mean time, you can put your immediate savings towards your debts, following the success of your weekend.
3) Go Outside and Enjoy the Outdoors
Again, just as reducing your indoor services and going somewhat ‘offline’ can help in the finance department, it also can help you re-discover the outdoors. As a result of not having as much to keep you occupied inside the home, you may find that you have a lot more time to spend to other things – outside things. Depending on how nice the weather is you can have backyard gatherings – a camp fire, an outdoor dinner, organized games – anything that suits you and your surroundings. Going for walks or bike rides – or other activities may also be an option in your area. Ultimately, not only can you reduce your spending -if you plan to stay home or take part in activities that cost very little, you could instead allocate a bit more money towards your debt re-payment fund.
4) Buy Second Hand
If you have the need to do a little shopping, instead of going to buy new, instead look for garage or yard sales of your own. You could also venture out to second hand clothing stores or other thrift stores that sell a variety of used items for a lot less. Once again, while some shopping, it turns out is often necessary for you – you don’t have to spend too much. All in all, your debt won’t grow too much, and you can still continue to pay if off more consistently over the summer.
5) Use the BBQ instead of the Oven
If you know you are going to be cooking this weekend, instead of using the oven and contributing to your household electricity costs you could enlist the help of the good ‘ole backyard BBQ. Making a delicious dinner on the BBQ can be a nice touch to an outdoor party or simply for your own family. As well, these meals do not need to be complex or extravagant – if you are barbecuing burgers and hot dogs for a few friends, this not need to mean you are forking out a lot of money. You have to eat – so why not reduce your costs and have a nice meal via the BBQ this summer.
6) Look for Deals:
Lastly, if you do plan on going out to paid events and activities this long weekend – you can also look on sites such as Groupon for deals on a variety of activities. In many cases, you can save as much as 50% on average off of regular priced tickets and services, For example, if an event normally costs $140, you can get this for $70 instead – resulting in a fair bit of savings that can instead be used for future expenses and unpaid debts. If you are new to the idea of Groupon, rest easy, you can access it from their online site at: www.groupon.com and there is also a mobile app, offering even further convenience.
Overall, while each of these ideas on their own may not attribute to a large amount of saved income, they can however be totalled and tallied to reveal quite a decent amount of money. These savings can help out a great deal when used towards your debt this year. Furthermore, even saving enough to make one additional payment off your debt in the next months, can make a huge difference in terms of how much interest you can save and also by lowering the total balance of your outstanding debt load. This way you’ll be better positioned to save & be out of debt by the next holiday that rolls around!