If any of these apply to you, your financial situation may be in distress:
- You don't know how much you owe until the bills arrive.
- You often pay your bills late.
- You're often unable to make a minimum credit card payment.
- You pay bills in 60 to 90 days that you used to pay in 30.
- You frequently approach or exceed your available credit limit.
- You use your chequing account overdraft protection or cash advances to pay bills.
- You work overtime or a second job to keep up with debt payments.
- You're spending your savings to cover everyday expenses.
Here are some ways to help regain control of your finances:
- Always pay bills on time and make at least the minimum payment.
- Set aside a portion of your available credit for emergencies like car repairs or unplanned medical costs.
- Make note of your spending habits to identify patterns and then create a budget, making adjustments when necessary and tightening your expenditures wherever possible.
- Drastically reduce your card usage. Leave your card at home or put it in a different place in your wallet as a reminder not to use it.
- Revise your current budget and make credit payments a higher priority. Cut down on other expenses. Make at least the minimum payment each month and set up a firm timetable to pay off your debt.
- Contact your creditors. They'll want to work with you and together you should be able to figure out a realistic payment schedule.