With the holidays quickly approaching, the dollar signs may quickly begin to add up – this time of year never fails to leave the wallet feeling just a tad lighter. When you are in debt, the excitement brought on by this time of year can rapidly be overshadowed by the stress that comes with having to spend when sometimes spending isn’t the best idea for your bank account. In the spirit of giving, here are some pre-holiday debt reduction tips that may just help you ease that stress and allow you to enjoy the season.
1. Stop avoiding. Just because you ignore that fact that you have debt doesn’t mean it isn’t there – and avoiding it is not going to make it magically disappear – if anything this will just tempt you to continue spending. Be proactive and admit that you need to get on top of your debt reduction plan.
2. Establish a debt reduction plan. Yes, you need to sit down and think about your financial goals for the next year, 2 years and 5 years. Getting rid of debt in a month is not feasible for most individuals, so don’t be unrealistic. However, jumping in head first without a plan may just leave you worse off than when you started.
3. Set a budget – for both monthly spending and holiday spending. Monthly – again, be realistic, but starting a budget may mean cutting out some luxuries that are not really necessary. For example, you may not need to eat out or order in dinner once a week, but be realistic – don’t cut it out altogether. With holiday spending, set maximums. Maybe it means doing a gift exchange by drawing names, rather than buying something for everyone.
4. Stop using the cards. This may be difficult, but remember, if you can’t pay cash you really can’t afford it. Stop purchasing on credit if you can avoid it. Since it is likely this spending that got you into trouble to begin with, quit it.
5. Seek out debt help. You don’t have to do it alone. One of the best ways to get your finances back on track is to seek out the assistance of a professional, someone who can work through all of the roadblocks and speed-bumps and help you on a path to becoming financially fit. The solutions may include things like credit counselling, consolidation, or a consumer proposal or bankruptcy – it will depend on your own unique financial situation.
When you are in debt and feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, just remember: getting out of debt may take time, but it is possible. Use these tips to help ease the stress caused by debt and take back control of your money.
For more tips on developing a debt reduction plan before the holidays get underway please contact DebtCare Canada at 1-888-890-0888 or visit www.debtcare.ca.