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How To Avoid Debt And Still Have Fun During Spring Break

Although many school-aged children look forward to this time of year with eager anticipation, many parents often feel a little stressed when it comes to planning care and activities for their kids, as well as the extra expenses that come along with all the March break fun.

According to our spring break spending poll conducted last year, almost 80 percent of parents spent extra money on March break activities for their children and 1 in 5 used a credit card in order to pay for these activities.

However, March break doesn’t have to equal more consumer debt. Here are three simple tips for avoiding debt and still having a blast with your family:

  1. Focus on what is important

Before getting too overwhelmed by the thought of spring break and spring break debt, it’s a good idea to stop, take a deep breath and focus on what is really important. Remember, spring break is about having fun and spending time with your family, not about going on a fancy trip or spending tons of money on activities.

Spending time playing outdoors, going to the library to pick up some new books to read or getting crafty with some new art supplies are all great ways to have fun and avoid adding more to your debt load. For more free or low cost activity ideas, check out Ottawa Kids as well as the Savvy Mom blog online.

  1. Create a plan

A good way to reduce stress and avoid adding to your debt is to create a plan and a budget for March break. To create your budget, determine how much you can comfortably spend on extra activities and trips and plan your week using this amount as your guide.

Involving your kids in your March break planning session is not only a good way to ensure that everyone has fun, it’s also a great opportunity to teach them some really valuable financial planning skills. Let your kids know the total amount that is available to spend on activities, then have them create a wish list of the things they would like to do this spring break. Once they’ve created their list, you can work together to see what is possible financially and what won’t quite fit in the budget this year. Explain to them that any activities that you can’t do this year, can be added to the list of things to do next year with the goal of saving up for those activities throughout the year. This will not only help kids understand the importance of planning ahead and budgeting, but it will also help them better understand the difference between a want and a need.

  1. Increase your knowledge

If, after creating your March break budget, you are concerned about the impact that your debt is having on your ability to afford everyday expenses, it might be a good idea to take some time this spring break to focus on creating a plan for debt relief. Remember that there are a lot of great resources online that can help you determine a better plan for reducing your debt and getting financially back on track. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), for example, hosts many excellent resources online focused on helping Canadians get out of debt and manage their money more effectively.

How do you plan to keep expenses low and still have fun this March break? Join the conversation and share your tips using hashtags #DebtSolutions #ParentingTips #KidsAndMoney

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