How To Manage Vacation And Event Spending

2015-08-06   minute read

Donna Carson

Lifestyle Debt

Spend too much during stampede? No room for your annual vacation? Here are some Calgary debt consolidation options and spending tips.


Hard to believe that another Calgary Stampede is in the books. If you live in the Calgary area, I hope that you were able to attend some of the events. Or if you’re from another part of Canada, maybe the Stampede was part of your annual vacation plan.

On that note….what’s the right way to budget for your annual vacation or an event like the Stampede? Or for any type of irregular spending, for that matter? Prior to Stampede, the media was saying how corporate Calgary was cutting spending this year on Stampede events. With the current state of oil prices and countless job layoffs in Alberta, people and businesses are having to budget tighter in order to avoid getting into debt.

Consumer budgeting involves a few things: planning out your paycheques and where / how to spend them, planning for the usual monthly expenses and planning for irregular or annual expenses. All of these steps help to avoid or reduce your debt and hopefully prevent you from having to look at debt consolidation options.

Creating a spending plan starts with knowing where you are at now. If you’re uncertain as to what your current monthly or annual expenses are, it will be tough to know where to make any changes. Step 1 would be to write out what your current income and expenses are or at least your best estimate for now. That’s a huge start. Maybe this involves saving receipts for a month or two to get an idea. To help with this, we have a great Budget Worksheet on our website. Click here to download the form / resource.

Part of your monthly budget needs to include an allocation for irregular or annual expenses, like the Calgary Stampede or any annual vacation. To do this, write out expenses that happen once or twice a year on our Irregular Expense Tracker Form. This will include expenses such as property taxes, Christmas gifts, vacations or events like the Calgary Stampede. Once you have them all listed, add them up to get a total. Divide that total by 12 months to get a monthly “allocation” for these expenses. Then fit this monthly allocation as a regular monthly expense into the budget you did above. By setting aside this money each month into a separate account, you’ll then have the money saved up for when the event happens.

Once you’ve balanced your budget to include annual expenses, you then need to figure out the best way to track your spending each month. Some people use an envelope system, others use spreadsheets to track their spending weekly or monthly. You are welcome to use our spending tracker. It’s a PDF booklet that helps you track how much room you have left in the monthly amount you allocated for each expense. Click here to download the booklet. For example, if you’ve budgeted $500 for groceries, spending $50 today will leave $450 for you to spend the rest of the month. A tool such as this will help you see where you are at any day of the month. If you contact one of our qualified counsellors, we can give you more #budgettips in this area.

But what if it didn’t all fit? For example, what if you overspent on your Calgary Stampede or annual vacation and now need to look at consolidating some debt? There are debt consolidation options. These options can be either informal or formal options. Informal options could include a bank consolidation loan, family help, tweaking your budget, etc.

If you need something more formal, we can review a Consumer Proposal or the Orderly Payment of Debt program. These are formal options to help people consolidate their unsecured debt into one easy payment. This is often a very helpful option for getting rid of unmanageable debt.

Call one of our government licensed counsellors or Trustees to discuss budgeting or any of the debt consolidated options above.

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