Money & Career

Don’t let the heat burn your budget

Last Thursday, we let our guard down and ordered takeout for the first time in months. It also happened to be the hottest day on record and we were too hot and tired to cook. So I picked up the phone and within an hour we were enjoying a lovely chicken vindaloo with rice, courtesy of our local Indian restaurant.

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Masterfile

Last Thursday, we let our guard down and ordered takeout for the first time in months. It also happened to be the hottest day on record and we were too hot and tired to cook. So I picked up the phone and within an hour we were enjoying a lovely chicken vindaloo with rice, courtesy of our local Indian restaurant. 

Apparently when it’s hot outside, we’re more inclined to fall off the budget wagon. 
At least that’s what this survey by TD Canada Trust says. During the summer Canadians are more lax about sticking to a budget — we’re eating out more, saving less, and (gulp) missing bill payments. 
High temperatures = bad financial habits.
Now, I fully believe that as Canadians we need to kick back and treat ourselves in summer — after all, most of the year we’re locked indoors. But there are ways to do enjoy summer and stay focused on the budget. A few suggestions: 
Tote your own water and snacks: It’s hot, you’re thirsty — instead of buying bottled water or drinks while you’re out, simply tote your own. Keep it in an aluminum bottle and keep your drink cool all day.
Stock up on meat and fresh fruit and veg: The thought of turning on a stove in the hot weather is enough to make anyone order takeout. So plan your meals accordingly. Make sure your fridge is full of things that can either be BBQ-ed or don’t require cooking. Meat and veggies are BBQ staples. And at the end of a hot day, a nice plate of cheese, fruit and bread could be the perfect thing for a light dinner without the heat. 
Make your own Frappuccino for 32 cents: A lot of us replace hot coffee with iced coffee treats during the summer months. Watch out though — they cost more than a standard cup of joe. Instead, why not try making your own at home? Kerry Taylor at Squawkfox breaks a frappuccino down so you can try it yourself. 
Take a hike: Sure, camping is a cheap alternative to staying in hotels, but it can still be expensive — you have to have the right equipment and then there are the campsite fees.  Instead, find good places to walk and hike and make it a daytrip — pack your own picnic and enjoy a day out. 
Take a personal finance day: If you have a few extra vacation days, why not take one to work on your own finances? Go through your budget and find new ways to save. Review your bank and credit card arrangements and shop around for better rates or deals elsewhere. Summer is the perfect time to focus on getting in better financial shape.
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