About this Report
The National brings you stories on how Canadians are dealing with debt
Tips on How to Beat Debt
1. Keep track of all spending and develop a budget, tracking how much money is “going out” and how much money is “coming in” each month. If the two don’t balance, you could be slowly sliding deeper into debt.
2. Once you draw up a budget, STICK TO IT! Put “needs” before “wants.” Try to avoid small, recurring expenses like expensive coffees and going out for lunch. They can add up to thousands of dollars a year.
3. To avoid spending more money you don’t have, stop using credit cards, and avoid “buy now-pay later” offers which just defer debt and then usually come with high interest rates eventually attached.
4. Pay down your highest interest rate debt first. If you realize it’s going to take several months, try to arrange a line of credit or a consolidation loan at a lower rate. You must clear all the debt from credit cards each month. If you don’t pay off the entire outstanding amount, not just the minimum amount owing, you trigger a change in the way your interest is calculated. Usually you get about three weeks after a purchase, a grace period, before the interest kicks in, but if you don’t pay off the entire amount owing, most credit card companies will suspend that grace period. In other words they’ll start charging you interest immediately on every new purchase until you clear the entire debt off that card. Some will even keep doing it for several months after.
5. Some folks have more credit cards than they actually need - four or five instead of one or two. If you have credit cards you don’t really need or use, get rid of them. Because even if you aren't using them, what you may not realize is that having access to all that potential credit, even if you don’t use it, could affect your credit rating. Say you want to buy a new car, or a even a house. If you have, potentially, access to say, another 20 thousand dollars in credit because of the cards you own, you are liable for that potential debt. Creditors may say the risk is too high and turn you down, even if you never or almost never use those cards. As financial institutions tighten access to borrowing, this could have an effect on you. So if you are not really using those extra credit cards, the best move is to pay them off and get rid of them. For more information on this, go to investmentexecutive.com