Cheap tricks for fun trips. Budgeting for getaways.

by Credit Canada on September 2, 2015


travel budget creation

Travel and adventure needn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Have fun and save some coin by exploring these nine money-saving travel tips and secrets that make for smart trip budgeting.

  • 1)  Compare and monitor airfare. Costs for air travel vary widely depending on the month, day and even time of travel. Check out sites such as to compare flight prices across a whole month to see the cheapest days to fly. You can also sign up for price alert emails to monitor prices for flights.
  • 2)  Travel during the off season. Nix plans to visit Australia for Christmas or to Spain as the summer holidays begin. Travel off-season for bargains.
  • 3)  Fly indirect. Where money takes priority over time, consider flights with stop-overs.
  • 4)  Beat expensive baggage fees. Travel light. Think through bare essentials and easily washable necessities for likely activities and varying weather conditions.  
  • 5)  Save on accommodation. Avoid hotels altogether and consider home swaps that can cost you nothing (visit home-swap sites online). When creating a budget also consider budget boutique hotels and private rooms, including bed and breakfasts. The really adventurous – and mostly the young – can consider very cheap hotels and hostels (be careful, do your research). Make use of apps and the Internet.
  • 6)  Eat like a local. Research the place or area you’re visiting to learn about good, cheap places to eat and grocery shop. Again make use of apps and the Internet when creating your travel budget.
  • 7)  Do fun things during the trip that cost little or nothing. This is a no-brainer. Why rent a car when you can rent a bicycle or scooter? Why rent a boat, when you can swim? Then, of course, there’s walking and hiking. The mere fact that you’re in a new place – and possibly in a a different culture – ought to offer plenty of interest and entertainment to begin with.
  • 8)  Save on foreign currency exchange. Withdrawing money abroad can cost plenty in charges. Using a debit card can be cheaper than a credit card. But remember that most banks will charge for each cash withdrawal in addition to a commission fee. Take out larger sums but keep the money in separate places for safety. Also, for better rates, exchange currency before you hit the airport.
  • 9)  Think about a paycation. Paycations allow for paid work during your excursion, but they normally apply to extended trips. Can you teach English or perhaps just pick grapes? How about travel writing or photography? Find out more about the subject through this link:

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.


credit counselling for students

College and university students above all need to find ways to wisely manage money. Credit counselling for college students can help them avoid taking on unnecessary debt. Getting a post-secondary education is expensive these days, with lots going to tuition, textbooks etc. – and having a life, too, of course. It’s the smart student who puts a monthly budget together ahead of time and sticks to the plan, spending frugally all along the way. Just remember the Canadian Federation of Students pegs average post-secondary student debt at $27,000.

Going away for school can be a great experience, but the trade off is that it is much more expensive.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) offers sound advice to help students save and manage their money intelligently. Here are some tips from the agency that can help you avoid taking on debt while away at school:

  • Live at home for school. Going away for school can be a great experience, but the trade off is that it is much more expensive. In recent years, the average cost of a four-year degree for someone living away from home has exceeded 70,000 compared to more than $50,000 for those living at home; a big difference in cost is clear. If living at home isn’t an option for you then consider roommates. Sharing your accommodations is usually much cheaper than living in residence or living on your own.
  • Apply for grants, bursaries and scholarships. It’s worth your while to research and apply for as many as possible. If your application is successful then the big benefit is it’s money that you won’t have to pay back. Better credit counselling advice than that is hard to find. Keep in mind that many post-secondary institutions offer automatic scholarships for maintaining your grades at a certain level. Generally the higher your grades the more money you receive. Check out sources for grants, bursaries and scholarships. Visit and to see what’s available. Also, visit the website of the college or university you plan to attend.

Credit cards can be a very expensive way to borrow money if you aren’t diligent about paying off your balance in full every month.

  • Manage your student loan and other borrowing carefully. If you are offered more money than you actually need, request a lower amount. Avoid the mistake of spending everything and increasing your debt simply because the money is available. Review your spending against your budget each month to be sure you are on track and that your money will last until the end of the term.
  • Be wary of credit card debt. University and college campuses are popular advertising spots for credit card companies looking for new customers. Be cautious. Credit cards are a very expensive way to borrow money if you aren’t diligent about paying off your balance in full every month. The average interest rate for student credit cards hovers around is 17 per cent (based on student cards in FCAC’s credit card selector tool database). For example, if you have a $1,000 balance and the minimum payment is either 2 per cent of the balance or $10 (whichever is greater), and you make only the minimum payment, it would take you 19 years to pay off your balance and you would have paid about $1,900 in interest. Your total cost would be almost triple the original cost of your purchase.

Tuition often includes fees for medical insurance. Opt-out of health and dental coverage if you already have similar coverage.

  • Opt-out of health and dental coverage if you already have similar coverage. Your tuition will often include fees for health and dental insurance. However, in most cases you’ll have the opportunity to “opt-out” of the school’s coverage. If you opt-out, you will usually be reimbursed the fees that would have automatically been included in your tuition. Depending on the school’s plan this can be up to a few hundred dollars a year. But keep in mind: Do not opt-out unless you have similar health and dental coverage elsewhere.
  • Sell old textbooks. Sell or trade your textbooks yourself, or find out if there is a student run or local consignment shop that will sell your old text- books for you. They will take a share of the money, but you will still almost always earn more than you would get selling your books back to your campus bookstore.

Use your student card for discounts. Check with your school’s student association for a list of local businesses that offer savings.

  • Buy used books. New textbooks are expensive. Whenever possible, buy a used version of the textbook you need. There is often pressure to buy the latest edition of a textbook, but keep in mind that the latest version may not have changed significantly from the previous version. Look into whether you can use an older (and cheaper) version without missing out on any key information.
  • Use your student card. Many businesses offer discounts to students, so take advantage. Check with your school’s student association for a list of local businesses that offer savings. You can also sign up for the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which can get you a discount on a range of products and services, including travel. The ISIC is usually free for university and college students. Visit the ISIC website to see what kinds of discounts are available.

Be aware that both federal and provincial governments offer tax deductions and tax credits for students.

  • Shop around, use coupons, and look for bargains. It might seem tedious, but for the budget conscious student, a few dollars in savings will add up over the course of a degree or diploma. Take advantage of tax deductions and tax credits for students. Both the federal and provincial governments offer tax deductions and tax credits for students for things like tuition fees, books, moving expenses and more.
  • Save on transportation costs. Walking and biking are the cheapest ways to get around but if those options aren’t practical for you, consider public transit. Some schools include the cost of a transit pass, sometimes called a “U-pass,” in your tuition. Be sure to find out if that’s the case for your school.”

Hopefully these tips help you and yours while away at school but if you are already in need of assistance with debt then Credit Canada’s credit counselling services are available.

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.



Denial isn’t a river in Egypt. It’s an issue involving debt problems

by Credit Canada August 19, 2015

Forget Egypt. Denial can be found across Canada these days as many of us keep spending like mad creating debt problems for Canadians that are taking household debt levels to unprecedented heights. That’s not even counting mortgage debt, which also is mounting furiously thanks to what many experts say is an overheated housing market. So called […]

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Put more muscle into your financial planning. Credit Counselling to crush your mortgage.

by Credit Canada August 12, 2015

Credit Canada credit counselling offers financial help for Canadians struggling with their mortgage. Glee is the operative word for those who manage to shorten the time
 it takes to pay off their home mortgage in Canada. Most who put the debt to bed early feel wonderful, liberated, dizzy with joy. They’ve worked hard. They’ve made financial sacrifices to […]

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Living paycheque to paycheque? Here’s some advice on debt consolidation to help ease matters.

by Credit Canada August 5, 2015

For many people today living paycheque to paycheque has become a reality. Personal debt burdens a lot of families and individuals and saving money is hard. Under the circumstances blessings appear to be few and far between. But with effort you can move forward with less worry and indeed you can enjoy many blessings. In […]

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Teach kids about money early on for fewer debt problems later on.

by Credit Canada July 29, 2015

The times they are a changing – in a good way. Recent studies show that an increasing number of kids in Canada are eager to learn more about how credit cards work, what things cost, and why. They also want to know about how to save money and create budget. That’s a far cry from a […]

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Online financial literacy tools for families and teachers.

by Credit Canada July 22, 2015

Debt problems often start due to a lack of financial literacy. Financial literacy is the key to making every dollar count in life. And thanks to the Internet, fun and informative educational tools are readily available to students, parents, seniors, and teachers everywhere in Canada. Here’s a list of online destinations that are helping to […]

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Navigating life’s financial passages. Credit counselling can help.

by Credit Canada July 15, 2015

Life over the long run needs a financial compass that always shows you where you’re at. That’s very important in relation to the major life passages we all experience as we set course as young adults, as we mature, and as we grow old. Some of us never launch by putting a financial compass to […]

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Life Support. How To Create A Budget For Emergencies.

by Credit Canada July 8, 2015

The old saying is as true today as it ever was: it’s wise to save for a rainy day. Yet more and more of us in Canada are failing to create a budget that includes money for financial emergencies, which maybe shows that we’ve grown too comfortable with free-spending consumerism and credit on demand. Not so […]

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Someday is not a day of the week. Notes on procrastination.

by Credit Canada July 1, 2015

We hear a lot of jokes about procrastination. For instance, “One of these days I’m going to get help for my procrastination problem.” Or how about, “One of the greatest labour-saving inventions of today is tomorrow.” Then there’s the famous, “Procrastination always gives me something to look forward to.” Unfortunately, while the witty remarks bring […]

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