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Cut costs this month with the following tips from the ladies behind Golden Girl Finance.
Whether it’s drinking on the patio, dancing at an outdoor concert or lounging at the cottage, summer is a rite of passage. It’s also a time when spending can spiral out of control and leave you with a serious financial hangover in September.
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However, according to a recent survey by Angus Reid for American Express, Canadians are more budget-conscious than ever, and are even willing to make a few sacrifices in order to to save for the things that matter most.
1. Wardrobe reboot: 38 per cent of the 1,500 Canadian surveyed said they would ditch this year’s fashion trends and recycle last year’s threads. But for those who need to buy new clothing, there are other ways to save including: checking clearance racks, shopping at thrift stores, buying clothing out of season, shopping online or at big retail stores, selling old clothing to a consignment shop or getting together with friends and swapping outfits.
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2. Brown bag it: 25 per cent of respondents said they would bring lunch to work every day for the next couple of months, which means they’ll save $40 a week (that's more than $500 in savings over the summer). Another easy way to cut back on your food bill is to commit to cooking one meal a week, which means you can plan for leftovers.
3. Cut the cable cord: 14 per cent said they would give up cable TV for the summer. If you’re not into live TV, don’t like re-runs and are sick of only watching about 10 of the 150 channels you subscribe to, this one is a no-brainer.
4. Just say no: Of the respondents, 11 per cent said they would decline party and wedding invitations to avoid gift-buying. However, when it comes to weddings in particular, you may want to send a handwritten note or a small gift - depending on your relationship to the couple.
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5. Trim your own hair: 10 per cent said they would cut their own hair to save money. Laura McDonald of Golden Girl Finance admits this one may pose a challenge for some, but says that cutting children's hair can be a real cost-saver.
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6. Choose the family trip wisely: Susan Misener of Golden Girl Finance says camping is her family’s activity of choice in the summer. “I have never seen my kids happier than riding their bikes around the camp ground and enjoying the outdoors. It’s spending time with the family is the best investments.”
7. Cash in on free events: “If you’re a parent with one or two kids, you can easily spend thousands of dollars over the summer,” says Ms. McDonald of Golden Girl Finance. “And the truth is, kids don’t know the difference between a $0 and a $500 day.”
8. Plan ahead where possible: If you are set on going away somewhere exotic, Ms. McDonald emphasizes the importance of getting the whole family on board. Advance preparation allows you to take advantage of early discounts.
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9. Prioritize your spending: “Saving money is not about sacrifice but prioritizing what’s important,” says Ms. McDonald. “Don’t cut out Starbucks coffee or a manicure if it’s something you value, but if it’s easy, do it.”
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