Avoid Olympic-Sized Debt

In Rio or at home, don’t let your Olympic festivities bust your budget.

Whether you’re headed to Brazil to watch the games in person or you’re hosting a watching party at your home, here’s what you need to know about the cost of enjoying this year’s games.

Graphic Displaying statistics for How much people will spend to enjoy the Rio Olympics

 

Most fans watching from home this year

Originally, estimates for the number of Americans attending the Olympics in Rio this year was around 200,000 but one U.S. official says that number is more likely to be around 100,000 thanks to the Zika virus scare. In fact, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) predicts there will only be a total of 480,000 tourists in total in Brazil to watch the events.

So while it’s interesting to see how much people can expect to pay to attend the games in Rio, most of us really need to focus on the budgeting and party planning we’ll do around the event while watching it at home. And while you may not think you need to budget for an event like the Olympics, savvy spenders know that one-off events like these can easily bust your budget.

How little extras add up to credit card debt

“A small watching party can easily turn into a significant budget drainer if you go overboard or don’t pay careful attention to your spending,” says April Lewis-Parks, Financial Education Director for Consolidated Credit. “You think a few snacks and some drinks won’t be a big deal, but it depends on what you’re buying. So while a $250 grocery and beverage budget for one week may sound high, that’s really on $18 per day. Things like craft beer, frozen cocktails and prepared party planners can easily eat that money up and then some.”

With that in mind, you should plan out any viewing parties with friends or even family TV nights with a little thought to ensure you shop smart and don’t overspend on your events – particularly when it comes to food and beverages.

“It’s easier to avoid going overboard by deciding you’re not going to buy a new TV or sound bar for the Olympics, but one too many over-the-top party snacks or specialty beverages can just as easily add up. You don’t want to get to the checkout line and have that sinking feeling as you swipe your credit card knowing that you spent too much.”

Consolidated Credit offers these tips to help you keep your Olympic party planning costs low:

  1. Budget for all groceries and drinks that you plan on purchasing
  2. Go for generic brands – especially for things like beer, where craft beers can be significantly more expensive
  3. Make party snacks instead of buying premade – you’ll avoid additives in your food AND extra cost
  4. Don’t buy electronics for the Olympics unless your devices already need replacing and you have money allocated for the purchases in savings
  5. Try to make sure you do all your shopping in 1 trip. Multiple trips to the store usually increase the number of purchases you make because you find “just one more thing to buy”
  6. If you have to charge any purchases, make sure to put them on a low-interest rate credit card and pay off your balance within the first billing cycle to avoid interest charges.

Remember, if you’re struggling with high-interest credit card debt caused by overspending, we understand and we’re here to help. Call Consolidated Credit today at or complete an online application to request a free debt and budget analysis from a certified credit counselor.

Use this infographic

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