ACCC Offers Massachusetts Consumers Helpful Tips to Save on Summer Expenses

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With the temptation of summer it can be easy for consumers to overspend on vacation and travel

It’s important that Massachusetts consumers know that they can have a great summer vacation while minimizing some of the costs that add up and can bust your budget. Luckily, there are ways to effectively plan for vacation without overspending.

With summer in full swing, it’s not hard to overspend while having fun in the sun. With the lure of warm weather and sunshine, consumers are planning their weekend getaways. Average vacation costs—primarily due to travel—have continued to increase year after year. In an effort to help consumers avoid overspending, American Consumer Credit Counseling offers some dos and don’ts of summer travel.

“When the weather grows warmer, consumer are eager to get out of the city for a much needed vacation – to the beach and elsewhere,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “It’s important that Massachusetts consumers know that they can have a great summer vacation while minimizing some of the costs that add up and can bust your budget. Luckily, there are ways to effectively plan for vacation without overspending.”

According to AAA, more than a third of American families will be spending a portion of their savings on special family getaways this summer. Forbes says that families will pay an average of $1,000 to $1,600 for their vacations this year. The cost of a vacation has also increased in recent years – largely due to rising airfares and hotel costs.

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers tips to Massachusetts consumers on how to save on summer expenses so that New England families can get away and enjoy the summer:

DO:
Develop a spending plan
Many people overspend on vacation because they don’t effectively allocate and budget where their money is going to be spent. Decide how much you are going to spend before you leave and be specific. Include plane tickets, hotel prices, gas, meals, souvenirs, park admissions, etc. If the total amount looks too high, cut back costs until the vacation is within your budget. You can find an online Travel Budget Calculator that can help you figure out the cost of your vacation.

Consider off-peak travel
Traveling during the week is significantly cheaper than on the weekends. If you can take off weekdays and travel Monday through Thursday, you’ll beat the crowds and the weekend prices. Visit popular summer destinations in the winter and vice versa to get a great deal.

Think outside the hotel box
Hotels can be very pricey. For a more affordable stay, look at other accommodations such as home shares, condos, summer cottages, campsites or search on Airbnb.com. Especially if you are traveling with a group, these options can keep costs down. If hotels are your only option, check out websites like Hotels.com, Priceline.com and the app HotelsTonight to score deals.

Consider a road trip
Instead of flying and paying for baggage costs, consider driving to your destination. Bring fun trivia and car games to turn what could be a boring car trip into an exciting adventure. You can also pack your own food to avoid restaurants and keep costs down.
Travel during restaurant week

It is nice to treat yourself on vacation, but fancy restaurants don’t have to cost a fortune. Consider traveling during restaurant week at your vacation destination and dine at restaurants for a more reasonable price.

DON'T:
Get charged credit card fees
If you are traveling internationally, make sure your credit card does not charge fees for foreign transactions. The fees, albeit small, can add up quickly.

Eat out every night
Bringing food with you on vacation can save you tons of money. Eating out every night can be expensive—not to mention unhealthy. Pack food that you can cook each night and some snacks to help you stick to your vacation budget.

Shop in tourist stores
Souvenirs are great mementos of your vacation, but touristy souvenir shops often overcharge customers. Check out local grocery stores, which have similar stuff, but with a much smaller price tag.

Delete email deals
Kayak.com, Living Social, Groupon and many airlines alert you when there are deals on tourist attractions, flights, and restaurants so you can get the most for your money.

Underestimate the value of free
Do your research ahead of time to see if there are any special offers happening where you are vacationing. Also, free activities a few states away can be a great way to take a road trip and save money.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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