Take Control of Your Debt With These 10 Steps
With debt repayment being Canadians' top financial priority for each of the last 10 years, we know it can be hard to keep your head above water. Bills keep coming in and your paycheque disappears before you even see it. Like many Calgarians, you just need a little help.
here are some handy tips on where and how to start taking back control of your finances.
1. Write down your debt and make a budget
Writing absolutely everything down can easily draw the line between wants and needs. Make a realistic budget and stick to it.
2. Pay more than the minimum
You won’t pay off your debt by paying only the minimum payment. The minimum payment on a credit card covers only the interest, not the actual loan or credit card amount.
3. Pay off your most expensive debts first
If you can afford to pay one bill first, choose the one with the highest interest rate. This way, you’ll save money now. If you have a few different bills at high-interest rates, consider a consolidation loan. Did you know that we offer a payment break from your personal loan without penalty? Skip-a-payment on your First Calgary personal term loan*.
4. Consolidate your debt
One bill, one payment. Organizing your debt under one roof can save you money. A low-interest consolidation loan with flexible repayment options can free up some funds to save you more.
5. Cancel old credit cards
If you belong to your favourite department store's credit card program, you’re probably paying close to 30% in interest. The rate on your consolidation loan is nearly half that! Get rid of those credit cards to help avoid the temptation and quit paying exorbitant rates.
6. Stay away from Payday Lenders
A high interest payday loan isn’t your only option. The Cash Crunch Loan® is for people facing unexpected budgeting challenges, where their expense and income timing is misaligned. Avoid predatory interest rates and find a loan to keep you on the debt-free path.
7. Cut back on costs
You can’t avoid electricity or water bills, but there are some costs you can cut to lessen the debt burden. Did you know that banking fees cost anywhere from $10-20 per month? That’s $120-420 per year! Get a free chequing account like No Fees For Me. That’s right, no fees. Cutting a few simple costs can save you an extra $50-100 per month which can be put towards debt or savings.
8. Change your spending habits
Find ways to make your social life a little thriftier. Go out with friends during happy hour, watch the latest blockbuster on cheap movie night and buy secondhand clothing. There is always a cheaper option out there, you just have to look for it.
9. Gain financial freedom
Now that you’re on the path to becoming debt-free, don’t slip! Use those extra funds to begin a savings plan. Make your money work for you. Contribute to a Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) or invest in something else. Have you ever heard of Responsible Investing? Learn the basics about investments that benefit the earth and your community.
10. Get help
Whichever step you’re on, we’re here to help. Financial planning is what we’re good at. As a credit union, our personal bankers take a special interest in removing barriers to banking and creating financial freedom for everyone in the community.