Curing the holiday bill hangover

The holiday season is just about over, but most Canadians won't feel the hangover until those credit card bills arrive in the mail. Here's what you can do to get your finances back under control.

Consumer debt expected to climb by $1,100 in 2014

The holiday season is just about over, but most Canadians won't feel the hangover until those credit card bills arrive in the mail.

All those Boxing Day sales are still luring shoppers like Gerry Bodarnchuk. who's busily adding those deals to his Christmas tally.  Three credit cards mean three bills, he says.  "This card has $5,000, this one $1,500."

And while Boadarnchuk says he isn't spending more than he has, many other Canadians are.

New figures suggest more than a third of all Canadians will make a financial New Year's resolution, and that's a good idea since it's likely  consumer debt will reach an all time high.

Consumer debt is expected to hit a record high $28,853 by the end of 2014, according to a recent study, up $1,100 over 2013 figures.

Gord Neudorf, a trustee in bankruptcy with MNP Ltd., says calls always pick up after Christmas.

His advice is simple: "Take a deep breath, sit down and tally it up," he told CBC News, and then use these techniques to get your finances under control:

  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Pay down the credit cards with the highest interest rate first. Department store cards are a prime example.
  • Plan to save.
  • See a credit counsellor if you're feeling overwhelmed.

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