Valley First

Keeping Spring Break spending in check

March 11, 2015

Penticton, B.C.—Countless teen comedies would have us believe that Spring Break means it’s time to jet away to an exotic localefor some fun in the sun without any financial constraints.

While this may be an enduring movie theme, the reality for many is significantly different and SpringBreak rituals more often consist of keepingthe kids busy without breaking the bank.

A survey of First West Credit Union employees, which includes Valley First and Enderby & District Financial, showed that almost 50 per cent of respondents are taking some vacation during Spring Break. However, they plan to spend less than $250 by sticking close to home, exploring the local area and taking advantage of the early arrival of spring.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, one in six employees said they’d likely spend more than $1,000 during Spring Break. The majority of this going toward either travel or additional childcare expenses.

Carole Barker, who is going to Mexico with her husband and daughter acknowledges the Spring Break spend, but has planned and budgeted carefully.

“We don’t take a lot of time off as a family during the year, so Spring Break is our opportunity to spoil ourselves,” says Barker. “We’ve planned, saved and budgeted and know exactly how much we can spend. Because this is something we love to do, the sacrificesto get us here make it an even more rewarding break.”

Closer to home, the staycation crew said they’d keeping spending in-check by taking advantage of the Okanagan’s outdoor smorgasbord for a little park going, picnicking, walking, bike riding fun. And, making little savings along the way by packing a lunch or spending a rainy day inside cooking and baking up a storm with your kids and taking that food along on your next sunny day outing.

“If you’re not careful, holiday expenses can add up very quickly,” says Ivy Wood, a branch manager at Valley First. “To keep spending in-check, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead, set a realistic budget and, most importantly, have the discipline to stick to it.”

Beyond this common-sense financial advice, other employees surveyed have their own personal tips and tricks they use to ensure a relaxing and financially stress-free vacation.

“A really creative option I’ve heard from a colleague to keep costs under control was to let your kids figure it out,” says Wood. “Give them a per diem for each day and put the onus on them to balance their own Spring Break budget. It’s a great money management lesson and very empowering.

“Playing tourist in your own town is also another way to entertain without doling out the dollars. Most communities have a lot of free activities that are appropriate for all ages. Take advantage and get to know your city a little more.”

About Valley First

Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, offers British Columbians throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making. A leading employer in the region, the credit union also provides community investment with its signature cause Feed the Valley, which raises food, funds and awareness for food banks where Valley First operates.

Follow Valley First on Twitter at @Valley_First

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