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-- TD Canada Trust Summer Spending Survey finds 77% of Albertans feel more relaxed about spending & saving in the summer months --

CALGARY, July 13, 2011 /CNW/ - The lure of the warm sun, restaurant patios and holiday destinations has seen many Albertans to turn a blind eye to their budgets and dwindling savings accounts this summer, according to a new survey by TD Canada Trust.

The TD Canada Trust Summer Spending Survey found 77% of Albertans admit they are more relaxed with their spending and saving habits during the summer months. In fact, Albertans are most likely in the country to have let their budgeting (41% versus 38% nationally) and saving (47% versus 37% nationally) slip by the wayside as they enjoy the warm weather this year. More than half (55%) also admit they haven't been paying all their bills on time.

"Summer is a great time to relax and have fun with friends, but it doesn't mean you should take a vacation from your financial responsibilities," says Raymond Chun, Senior Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "If you take a little time to plan ahead and tweak your budget in preparation for your summer spending, you can make the most of the warmer weather without compromising your savings plan."

Albertans attribute the lure of the summer sun, patios and travel opportunities as the cause of their lax attitudes towards their personal finances.

More than half say the weather makes them feel happier and more willing to spend money (67%), they take more vacations in the summer so the costs add up (57%), and that there are so many activities to enjoy in the summer they figure they'll make up the money in the colder months (56%). Albertans were the least likely in the country to attribute their splurges to eating and drinking out more with friends (50% versus 61% nationally).

"Summer vacations can certainly take a toll on your wallet. If you think you've been too carefree with your spending, there are simple things you can do to get your finances under control without compromising on summer fun so that you're in good financial shape by the end of the season," says Chun.

Chun offers his advice on how Albertans can enjoy this summer without compromising their savings plan:

  1. Automate your financial responsibilities - Set up pre-authorized transfers to your regular bills and minimum credit card repayments. That way you don't have to worry about interest and fees incurred on forgotten bills while you're out enjoying the summer sun.

  2. Revisit your budget - Calculate how much money you earn each month then subtract your expenses, like rent or mortgage repayments, food, utilities, insurance and credit card bills, to understand how much you really have left over. Subtract the amount you want to save every month, and only then do you have a true picture of what you have left for discretionary spending. "Many Canadians find their food and entertainment bills are higher in the summer, because they're out more with friends. If this is the case, you should revisit your budget to cut down on spending in other areas to make up the difference, and not cut into your savings or take on debt," says Chun.

  3. Don't get carried away with summer spending - Look at ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses, but don't deprive yourself or it will be a tough budget to follow. Invite friends over for a backyard barbeque instead of frequenting restaurant patios regularly after work. Canada's summers are beautiful so it's tempting to splurge on summer accessories, but remember you may only get another two months out of a new pair of sandals or summer dress before the cooler weather starts rolling in.

  4. Get any debts under control - Review your unpaid bills and debt obligations. If you're low on cash and can't make all your payments then pay the minimum required. High interest debts like credit cards should take priority. At the end of the summer if you're still struggling with your repayments, then speak to your bank about ways to consolidate and manage your debt.

  5. Start planning now for your next seasonal splurge - While enjoying the summer months can be fun, getting yourself into serious credit card debt is not. You need to break the cycle on how you pay for summer activities like vacations and eating out. Start putting aside money in advance for next year's holidays.

What else falls by the wayside in the summer?

More than half of Albertans admit they let their standards slip in the summer when it comes to keeping their homes tidy (65%), exercising (58%), keeping in touch with family (57%), and eating healthily (55%).

About the TD Canada Trust 2011 Summer Spending Survey

The TD Canada Trust 2011 Summer Spending Survey polled a representative sample of 1,000 Canadians through a custom, online survey; 125 Albertan residents were surveyed. The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group between June 21-26, 2011.

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

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