TORONTO — Shannae Ingleton Smith has a busy schedule this summer.
Known online as @torontoshay, the Toronto influencer and co-founder of talent agency Kensington Gray has scheduled two or three events a week, including some in New York and New Orleans.
“It’s a lot in terms of budgeting,” she said.
“Staying at home during the pandemic has been really great because I’ve been wearing a lot of loungewear, not a lot of makeup… It’s been great for my skin and for my bag because I haven’t shopped too much, but since the events of this had resurgences, I find myself spending more.”
While the last two years of the health crisis have been spent canceling or postponing weddings, showers, birthdays and other celebrations, the decline in severe COVID-19 cases and the growing comfort of being together is urging many to make up for lost time by celebrating again.
But at the same time, inflation has hit a 39-year high, driving up the cost of going out. Payment processor Moneris found that the amount Canadians spent on beauty and hair salons alone in April was up 67 percent from last year.
Gayle Ramsay said the big question is, “How do you still get back to it – whether it’s baby showers or weddings – and at the same time be able to give a gift and have the things you haven’t done in a while?” , how do you deal with the costs of rising inflation?
The answer lies in a budget, said BMO Financial Group’s head of day-to-day banking.
Having money set aside ahead of time for a jam-packed summer makes managing costs easier, but also highlights areas where you may need to save if you’re dying to make it to every event, she said.
To help decide where to back off, Ramsay noted that some banks, like BMO, have services or account features that warn customers if they’re spending more than usual in a category.
If someone has multiple invites and can’t budget for all of them, Shannon Kennedy recommends prioritizing events by location to reduce travel costs.
Once you figure out which invitations to accept, there are also ways to save on the outfit, said the Ottawa-based owner of Kennedy Event Planning.
“There’s no shame in re-wearing a dress or a suit at two different events,” she said.
Ingleton Smith agrees.
“That dress you wore three years ago, no one remembers,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you posted it on Instagram or not.”
She’s been scouring her closet for outfits that she can wear again but spice up with different jewelry, accessories, and even hairstyles.
Others recommend raiding a friend or family member’s closet if you want to vary your look. Some suggest turning to dress or suit rental services, although consumers need to be aware of membership fees and rental fees, which can sometimes cost as much as a new dress.
If you’re traveling for an event, consider carpooling or staying with friends or family to reduce hotel and gas prices, Ramsay said.
If neither is an option, look at what discounts you can get through loyalty programs you’re already subscribed to and consider redeeming points you’ve earned for gas or plane tickets, she added.
Ingleton Smith also recommended booking ahead, researching deals and preparing for what will be more competition in flights, car hire and accommodation than there has been in the last two years.
While Ingleton Smith stresses that no one should go into debt or pay their bills because of their social calendar, she said it’s important not to take the fun out of it either.
“Will you die happier knowing that you went to that villa in Mykonos with all your girlfriends and created memories that will stay with you forever? Yes you will,” she said.
“If you come back with a little less money in your pocket, then maybe work a little harder or do a few more things to make a little more money to offset those extra expenses.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022.
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