Monday January 17 marks Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year. The third Monday of January is the period when Canadians see less sun, abandon New Year’s Resolutions, and begin receiving credit card bills from the holidays.
According to the Retail Council of Canada’s 2021 Holiday Shopping Survey, 76% of consumers planned to spend the same or more on gifts, and 80% planned to buy gifts for others. The survey discovered that Canadians had a desire to return to more “normal” holiday traditions after a difficult year in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In honour of Blue Monday, SolveYourDebts.com offers five tips for Canadians to help manage increasing holiday debt.
- Stop adding to the total. Even though it might seem like a very simple concept, you have to stop adding to your total debt. If you keep adding to it while you’re trying to pay it off, you’ll simply run in circles and will never make a dent in the debt. Put the cards away, cut them up, or do whatever you must to put a freeze on credit spending. With much of the country in lockdown right now, there’s not much to be spending money on anyway.
- Add extra income. While the economic situation is tough right now, many people are finding themselves with excess time on their hands. If possible, it might be a good idea to look for a way to supplement your income. Consider selling some household items that you don’t use anymore, ask for more hours at work, or look for a side hustle in the gig economy to help bring in some extra money. Make sure you put that additional income towards your debt.
- Scrutinize your expenses. Review your expenses regularly and identify if there’s anywhere you’re able to cut back. For example, perhaps your gym membership has been put on hold temporarily. Can you put that money towards debt in the interim? Try to identify which of your monthly expenses are non-negotiable and which ones you can eliminate or reduce.
- Look for better terms. If you’re always making at least your minimum payments, consider asking your creditors to lower your interest rates. If your history with them is good, they might help you out, which will ultimately help get you to your goals faster. Going to your bank and trying to have your service fees lowered is another way you might be able to save some money each month. Better yet, switch to a free bank.
- Get some help. If these changes aren’t working for you or you can’t seem to find the motivation, consider credit counselling. Sometimes a professional is better able to take an objective lens to your finances and help you identify ways you can cut back on your budget. They can also help you with debt consolidation and work directly with your creditors.
For more information on credit counselling, visit www.SolveYourDebts.com.