Four tips for managing your holiday-related debt

February 1, 2017

It’s better to give than receive. But after all that holiday giving, you should get your debt under control.

It’s hard to manage expenses when there are so many people to buy for during the holidays. Like many Canadians, you likely put a number of those gifts on credit. If opening your credit card statement is something you now dread, consider these four tips for managing your debt.

  1. If you don’t have a budget, start one! There are plenty of budgeting apps that will help you manage your monthly expenses. By seeing how much you’re spending each month, you may find areas where you can cut out unnecessary expenses. The key is to put any excess money you manage to cut from your expenses into paying down other debt.

  2. Pay off higher interest debt first. Like many people, you probably have some credit card debt, a line of credit and a mortgage. Although it’s important to pay the minimum amounts each month to avoid hefty penalties, also try to pay as much as you can above the minimums on your higher-interest debt like credit cards, which impose relatively high interest rates. For every month that you’re carrying debt on your credit card(s), you’re making it harder to shake that debt burden.

  3. If you’re finding your debt unmanageable, it’s always a good idea speak to someone. Many of us will – at one point or another – find that we’ve taken on too much debt and are unable to manage it. If you ever reach that point, it is a good idea to speak to someone – be it a financial advisor, accountant or lawyer – who can recommend strategies to help you more effectively manage your debt.

  4. Spend a little less next holiday season – we know you can’t leave the important people in your life off the gift list, but it’s never a bad idea to impose spending limits with as many people as possible. It may feel a little embarrassing to broach the topic, but most people will appreciate the limit as much as you!

These are just some of the ways in which you can manage this year’s holiday debt and reduce your burden next year. You may also want to open a holiday savings account to which you can allocate a small amount of your paycheque each month. That way, when next December comes around – and there’s always a next December around the corner – you can use the money you’ve saved for gifts and accumulate less debt for the following year.

For more tips on managing your debt, please speak with your financial advisor and visit AGF.com.

The contents of this Web site are provided for informational and educational purposes, and are not intended to provide specific individual advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax. Please consult with your own professional advisor on your particular circumstances.

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