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How to Use Summer as an Opportunity to Reduce Debt

What would a finances-first summer look like for the average millennial? How would it look to reduce debt as a priority?

Those aged 25-and-older are dealing with a number of financial challenges, not the least of which being vacation envy brought on by social media. For those dealing with debt, it can be difficult to log in to Instagram or Twitter and see what friends and family are doing on a lavish vacation.

Summer can also be a season to put finances first, though. Rather than add to debt by going on an expensive vacation, you can put it off for another year and find innovative ways to pay off debt. There are plenty of ways to get started.

Young workers have more opportunity for a summer side hustle

With new job opportunities arriving as part of the “gig economy”, millennials have new opportunities to grab part-time work and apply extra income to their consumer debt. The Financial Post calls this the “uberfication” of part-time work and cites examples like DateNight (an app that offers on-demand childcare through babysitters in the area) or Uber as examples of work that can be done on an as-needed basis.

Use time off to try a new budgeting app

With a new source of income, you can use other extra time during the summer to test drive a budgeting app that works for you.

The website How To Save Money has a few examples of these, but one more is Mylo, which rounds up all your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests them in a savings fund for you. By taking the time to sign up and tracking contributions through the app, you can start on a fund that can be used toward vacations in future years.

Find “staycation” opportunities in the Winnipeg area

If you’re making the commitment to stay at home and focus on your debt load this summer, quick getaways within the province can help satisfy the travel itch. Manitoba is full of provincial parks for day tripping with friends, including those in the Pembina River valley and Bird’s Hill Park just a short drive north of Winnipeg.

You can also go to one of Winnipeg’s many summer street festivals, grab tickets to a Bombers or Goldeyes game, or just pitch a blanket on a lawn at The Forks for a picnic. These low-cost summer solutions can keep you entertained during the summer without blowing your budget.

Make a plan for paying off summer spending

You can also spend some time exploring solutions for consumer debt. Young Canadians can benefit from a visit with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), who can go through an individual’s debt and provide the best solution for that person. Time off in summer is a good opportunity to do some research on your own too.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has a number of pages and resources that deal with debt options, and getting familiar with the process of each might get you on an either path to eliminating debt. You can also use the FCAC’s Financial Goal Calculator to figure out how long it will take to reduce off a specific kind of debt — whether it be from credit cards, mortgage, or a line of credit.

Making it your first priority to reduce debt during the summer can be challenging at the start. By finding ways to change your mindset and create solutions, though, it can actually be rewarding over time.

Want to share a tip on prioritizing debt relief during the summer months? Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #FrugalTravel and #DebtSolutions.

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