A holiday closer to home? Things to consider when planning a staycation
July 17, 2020
Summer has arrived, but this year many Canadians are finding it difficult to plan for a holiday. Health concerns are obviously top of mind, and the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought economic uncertainty and, for some, financial hardship. Still, many people want to find a way to relax with friends and family this season after a difficult few months.
It might be a good idea to use this time to reflect on your personal finances and, if possible, budget for an inexpensive staycation. Given the restrictions on international travel, now is a great opportunity to explore the wonderful sites within Canada, some of which might be close to home, and destinations you have been wanting to explore! It’s worth considering inexpensive day trips, or even overnight camping trips at provincial or national parks. Check that your destination is open before you go, and make sure you know the rules for staying safe.
You may also find activities in your own community, for example through local museums and community centres. Some are holding free virtual classes and camps, and while online you may find inspiration for other things to do.
Your first step in planning a staycation should be to decide what you can afford. The next step is to make a budget to help you keep your spending within your means. Don’t take a holiday from your budget! In fact, the current pandemic may be an opportunity for some to spend less and save more.
For people who don’t have a budget, it can be hard to know where to start. A budget is a simple but effective plan that helps you figure out how much money is coming in, going out and being saved. In these unpredictable times, it will help guide your spending so you can make sure you have enough for life’s basic necessities – a roof over your head, clothing, food, and medication.
Research backs this up. FCAC has found that when people start using a budget, they make better financial decisions and improve their financial well-being. They are also better at keeping up with their financial commitments and reducing their spending when money is tight – which is the case for many Canadians right now.
If you need help getting started, try FCAC’s Budget Planner. The Budget Planner draws on research into how people make financial decisions, and uses personalized educational content. Its interactive features will help you better identify priorities, where to cut expenses, and where to save. It can also help you compare your spending habits with those of other Canadians facing similar life situations. And it will help you identify what money, if any, you have to put towards a staycation this summer.
Remember that if you take the time to make a budget, you can enjoy your holiday without worrying about whether you can afford it.
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