Escape holiday debt! An expert offers solutions
Published Friday, January 9, 2009 9:16AM EST
The average Canadian usually spends around $1,200 per year at the holidays.
Here are 5 tips from financial planner Robert Abboud, on getting out from under that debt.
- 1. Create a budget and a 90 day repayment plan
One thing you also need to do is when you are shopping, work off a list and don't buy anything that is not on your list. It is a tough thing to do and you need discipline but it will help. I've met so many people who say they are very tight on money, but they spend $50/month on cell phones, $100 on cable, $50 on high speed internet. If you are paying off credit card debt it's time to chop these expenses and pay off the plastic. Remember, you pay almost $100/month in interest on a credit card bill of $6,000.
- 2. Put your credit and debit cards in the deep freeze and start the envelope system
Literally place them in a protective container, then put the container in a large glad bag, fill it with water and put it in the freezer. Next time you want to buy something on the spur of the moment you'll have to wait for the cards to thaw. For the envelope system, you take a chunk of money in cash from your paycheque and it put it in various envelopes labeled "clothes", "groceries", "entertainment", etc.
- 3. Get a lower interest rate loan like your line of credit, but still pay it off
If you have a line of credit, you might find that the interest rate is 12 per cent cheaper than a credit card, so transfer the balance and pay it off faster.
- 4. Skip a mortgage payment
Many institutions let you skip a mortgage payment. Take the money you would have used on the mortgage to pay off your high interest credit card. If people own a house and make their payments diligently, they can just ask their bank if they can skip a payment.
- 5. Don't let it happen next year - start saving each month
If you spent $1,200 this year on the holidays, start saving $100/month or $25/week automatically to a high interest bank account - when the holidays come, you'll have the money all saved up.