How to save money this summer

Oh Summer, where to even begin?! Summer is easily my favourite time of the year. Here are four tips to keep financial stress out of your summer memories:

  1. Local events - You don’t have to leave the city for summer entertainment. Take advantage of low-cost or better yet, FREE, events in your neighbourhood. Visit your local events calendar or tourism websites to see what’s good in the ‘hood.

  2. Cancel your gym membership - Outdoor workouts are my favourite! Go for a bike ride, round up the crew for beach volleyball or outdoor basketball, hike up some mountains and go for an outdoor pool swim. The possibilities are endless!

  3. Redeem your miles - Use travel miles, rewards or cash-back to book your summer getaway. To save even more money, let’s not forget about those credit card perks - free nights, free upgrades, insurance coverage, etc. 

Keep utility bills low - Turn off the A/C when you’re not home. At night, open your windows and use a fan to circulate cooler nighttime air. Electronics and other equipment generate heat too, so turn them off when not in use.

Spring clean your finances

Spring is one of my favourite seasons! I always feel like I get a new lease on life. Spring signals the end of tax season, which means I have more time to relax, declutter my space, work more seriously on that summer bod, and it’s also a good time to hit refresh on my finances.

Here are 3 ways you can spring clean your finances.

  1. Audit your subscriptions. I’m talking Netflix, Hulu, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Diet/Fitness apps, BarkBox, and the list goes on! Look through your bank and credit card statements and tally ‘em up (don’t forget the annual ones). Are you surprised at how much you’re actually spending? The next step is to cancel anything unnecessary or redundant.

  2. Reduce your credit card limit or better yet, stop using your credit card! Take a set amount of cash when you go to the mall, grocery store, or when eating out. Also, delete your credit card information from your shopping profiles (ahem, Amazon - I love/hate you). By doing this, you are removing the temptation to overspend.

Implement the 72-hour rule. This is one of the best ways to curb impulse shopping and tackle overspending. The next time you want to buy something, wait 72 hours before adding it to your cart. During this waiting period, ask yourself: Do I actually need this? What else can I use this money for? Can I get it for less? Giving yourself this time-out will help you reevaluate whether or not you really need to buy the item.

What to do with your tax refund

We did it! We survived personal tax season. The most exciting part about tax season is getting that tax refund - am I right? While receiving a refund may feel like a bonus that we want to splurge, is it really a bonus if it was your own hard-earned money all along? Here are five financially smart ways to use that refund:

  1. Pay down debt - start with highest interest or your most stressful debt (what keeps you up at night)

  2. Invest - don’t underestimate the power of compounding, start now!

  3. Create a rainy day fund - work towards having three to six months worth of your typical living expenses 

  4. Pay it forward - give to your favourite charity or share with someone in need

  5. Have fun with it - save towards a much needed vacation

Can’t decide where to put your money? Don’t stress! With proper planning, you can do all 5! Always remember that money takes time, so don’t wait until you’ve paid off all your debt to start saving for your retirement or rainy day fund. The key to building wealth is to start today!