Take A Summer Vacation… From Your Bills!

July 8, 2013

Vacation from credit card debtIn Canada, it seems we have two main seasons: hockey season (which, alas, has already ended this year), and “Not Cold” – also known as the much-awaited summer season. We certainly love our warm weather months – trading school and the office for the open road, sandy beaches and warm docks is a rite of passage for anyone who has weathered a Canadian January.

While you may be taking time off this summer, it seems there’s no putting those pesky financial commitments on hold – aka your bills. Fortunately, there are ways to downsize the amount you’ll be shelling out. Follow these tips, and the living really will be easy this summer.

Pay Less For Gas – And Get Paid For Filling Up!

There are a number of ways to pay less at the pump – and those savings can go a long way to funding jaunts to the cottage or cross country road trips.

  1. Plot your gas route. Why pay more at gas stations with inflated prices? Often, stations within city limits or those that are the last option before a long stretch of road are priced higher. Using a resource like gasbuddy.com, which allows you to plot your gas route, can help you avoid these petrol money pits.
  2. Get up to 5% cash back at the pump with a gas rewards credit card. If you’re pulling out any old plastic when filling up, you could really be missing out. Some gas rewards credit cards earn points on gas purchases, which can be redeemed for further savings (hint: ensure participating stations are located along your road trip route!).

    However, a great alternative is a card with great cash back features, like the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® Credit Card. This card earns up to 5% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases for the first six months (it goes up to 2% after that), and will even send you a cheque once your earnings reach $50. Now that’s a sweet pay day!

    BONUS Tip (FREE $100 Gift Card): Right now, those approved for this credit card through RateSupermarket.ca will also receive a FREE $100 gift card. Click here to learn more.>

Stop Paying Credit Card Interest

Now, before you get too excited, I’m not suggesting that you rip up that dreaded monthly envelope and take an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to your debt. Sadly, you are on the hook for any balance you may have incurred – but if you’re looking for an effective way to minimize it, a credit card balance transfer may do the trick.

Balance transfers allow you to move the balance from one credit card to another with a lower APR, giving you the chance to pay your debt at a lower interest rate. The MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard® Credit Card offers 12 whole months with ZERO interest on your balance – that’s a whole year FREE from those crazy interest charges (plus no annual fee!).

If you’re the type to carry revolving debt, an interest rate holiday gives you the opportunity to pay it down – fast. Keep in mind, though, that this rate applies only to transferred balances – any new purchases made on the card will be subject to the usual interest rate.

Pay Less On Your Insurance Costs

Insurance costs can take a big bite out of any vacation budget – but it’s absolutely vital to be covered for the worst when out of province or country, or when on the road.

  1. Get a better car insurance policy: Not all car insurance coverage is made equal – some insurers may be willing to give you a better rate, especially if you have maintained a clean driving record or even if you’ve upgraded to a safer vehicle. It’s important to compare your options regularly to always ensure you have the best possible policy. Looking for a better rate? Click here to compare car insurance quotes.>
  2. Save on rental car insurance with credit card coverage: If your summer travel plans include renting a vehicle, you may have the chance to save on your insurance. All rental agencies will give you the option of signing up for their damage waiver – but your credit card might already have you covered.

    Both the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® Credit Card and Platinum Plus® MasterCard® Credit Card feature rental vehicle insurance, meaning you’ll be covered against vehicle accident damage or theft up to a certain amount. As well, if you already have personal car insurance, your credit card coverage will go toward covering the insurance deductible, rather than act as primary coverage. So, call your credit card company to see what your actions are, before signing that dotted line!

  3. Get the best travel insurance coverage: Travel insurance can be a tempted feature to skip when planning a trip – but it’s so important to have some emergency medical coverage, especially if travelling out of Canada. An accident or illness can put you on the hook for thousands of dollars – medical attention does not come cheap! Even if you’re travelling within the country, don’t assume that your health card will cover health costs outside of your home province.

    As well, insuring your possessions and baggage from loss or theft can also help ease your costs should your bags not show up at your destination. Wondering where to find better travel insurance quotes? Check out the best options in your region here.>

Penelope Graham
Editor, RateSupermarket.ca Money Wise Blog