A credit counsellor in Sudbury says she's frequently seeing people who use credit to make ends meet.

Linda Morel, the executive director of Credit Counselling Sudbury, said the New Year is usually a time when more people come through her door asking for help to deal with Christmas over-spending.

But in Sudbury, many people who ask for help with debt problems these days aren't shopping themselves into debt, Morel said.

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Linda Morel, the executive director of Credit Counselling Sudbury, says many people who ask for help with debt problems these days aren't shopping themselves into debt. They simply aren't making enough to live. (CBC)

They simply don't make enough to live, she noted, and most don't have anything to tide them over in emergencies.

“They may have made very good financial decisions based on two incomes, or based on the job that they were currently in,” Morel said. “[However] they may have met with some tragedy that involves losing their current job… a marriage ending … one of the spouses losing a position.”

Morel added she's seeing an increasing number of clients who are scraping by on minimum wage and using revolving credit to pay for food and utility bills.

The current average household consumer debt in Sudbury is just under $26,000, Morel said. That's below what the consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion forecasts for the average Canadians this year, which is about $29,000.

“Locally we aren't as bad as the rest,” she said. “But that number does tend to fluctuate on a monthly basis. But we haven't hit the 29 mark yet and we haven't broken 30.”