As the summer approaches the temperatures start to rise and, unfortunately, so does the credit card bill. For many families getting by financially, the annual summer vacation is often accompanied by an increase in credit debt. In order to avoid racking up more credit card debt this summer, follow a few simple tricks:
Play locally – the idea of a staycation has become more popular in recent years. Chances are we all live within driving distance of fun family activities. Every major city has fun venues like museums, zoos, theaters or campgrounds. Branch out this year by staying close to home to enjoy time with the family. Not only will you save money on travel and accommodations, but you will find a renewed sense of appreciation for your local culture.
Plan ahead — one of the biggest mistakes people make in vacation planning is waiting until the last minute. While it is true you can find money saving offers in airfare or hotels by booking late, the catch is that you may miss an even bigger deal by failing to research all your options for accommodations. Renting a car is cheaper than flying, camping out or staying in an RV is cheaper than a hotel, and packing lunches is a more cost effective meal replacement than dining out. Take the time to really plan every aspect of your vacation before you set off for adventure.
Pay in cash – the problem most people face when it comes to paying in cash is they simply don’t have enough saved to cover their expenses. This problem is twofold: (1) if your cash supply isn’t enough to cover what you want to do this summer, why don’t you find a cheaper alternative? and (2) if you do have the cash on hand to cover your expenses and choose to use your card for convenience make sure you actually pay off that bill when it comes in.
Although the need for bankruptcy isn’t brought on solely by overspending, the truth is that we could all use a little help in boosting our money management habits. Remember that your summer vacation doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag or debt balance.