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How to Avoid Vacation Envy and Kick Debt

Every summer, you want the best vacation possible for your family. Whether that’s staying home or heading out of town, there’s stress relief in bucking the daily routine. That stress can show up again, though, if your summer ends in vacation debt.

It can be tempting to rely on credit during the summer months. In beautiful Vancouver, it’s easy to fall victim to vacation envy — seeing your friends and others on blissful getaways, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, or just in everyday conversation.

Three-quarters of Canadians own a smartphone after all, with half using Facebook daily. It’s not hard to see why many are left with a fear of missing out, or summer FOMO. It’s a feeling that can bring on guilt for parents who feel they’re not giving their family a great summer vacation.

For long-term financial goals, though, it’s important not to use the summer adding to your debt load. So how can you avoid this kind of envy and keep your debt relief a priority? Here are a few strategies you can use.

Keep mindful spending and your budget front and center

Going into summer with a budget is a great starting point. A BMO survey from 2015 found that spending doubles during July and August, so preparing accordingly can leave you with less surprises.

Part of this budgeting strategy should be to practice mindful spending. During the summer, FOMO can have you rationalizing impulse outings — take-out dinners, after-work patio drinks, or other spending that’s not part of your budget.

Financial services consultant Anita Saulite writes about mindfulness and finances in this Huffington Post article, and advises changing your mindset and making conscious spending decisions. Avoiding impulses can leave more money at the end of the month for debt repayment (and a vacation savings account, if you set one up!)

Make a solid debt plan so you can build vacation savings

You can also reduce your stress by visiting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) to explore debt options. Beyond answering common debt questions, they can explain debt solutions like consolidation, which combines your debts into one payment. One loan (instead of many debts) can make it easier to budget and add to vacation savings over time.

Think about the social media “fog”

Do you believe everything you see on social media? Often, people are creating a fog on these websites — showing the best side of themselves. The fog goes for vacations too.

This Wired article is a great devil’s advocate opinion on social media and getaways, asking “is Instagram ruining vacation?”. Increasingly, it seems like the focus of going away is to snap the perfect photo, which can leave the viewer feeling left out of that pristine moment.

Ultimately, summer fun is summer fun, no matter where you’re having it and how much it costs. Next time you open up Facebook or Instagram, take what you’re seeing with a grain of salt! This just might help you be less envious and more secure in your decision to reduce debt.

Want to share your advice on avoiding summer FOMO and keeping debt relief a priority? Get to it on social media, using the hashtags #DebtSolutions and #FamilyFinances.

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