Let’s be clear. People who manage their debt wisely live better lives and enjoy more peace of mind. Those who don’t often live lives full of trouble, anxiety, and regret with debt problems dragging them down. If you’re gainfully employed but behind the eight ball with your finances, chances are it’s because you are not following a plan and lack self-awareness about your attitude toward money.
Truth is, in Canada even many who make small salaries find ways to get by comfortably and happily. That’s because they have made the effort to avoid debt problems by developing money skills. It all starts with understanding your spending habits and building a monthly budget that you set down in writing. It also involves staying alert to debt problems– and giving it respect, especially high interest credit card debt problems.
Make use of money and debt management tools available online, most of them free from banks and non profit debt consolidation agencies such as Credit Canada.
Fortunately, services and tools are readily available to help those who feel like they are drowning in debt. For those seriously suffering with debt problems, trustworthy credit counselling services such as Credit Canada Debt Solutions offer assistance. Financial advisors can also help through banks and independent services, along with financial coaches within the credit counselling industry.
For those facing less severe, but still worrisome, debt challenges, there are self-help tools that can assist with debt management. If you are troubled by debt but feel you can handle the situation on your own with a little direction, then you ought to make use of all the financial education and debt management tools available online – most of them free. Online educational aids for Canadians are readily available from Credit Canada, virtually all major banking and financial institutions, as well as the federal and provincial governments. All you have to do is search selected sites by way of keywords having to do with debt management, personal money management, and budgeting.
Check out helpful online apps. They can help you calculate debt interest, determine debt timelines and even provide you with payment strategies.
Plenty of free and cheap online apps are available to help you manage your debt. Here are a couple of good examples.
- Pay Off Debt. (click to view app in store) The app features a “snowball strategy”, which puts debt into the framework of your lowest balance or highest interest rate. The strategy encourages minimum payments on all debts except accounts with the lowest balance or the highest interest rate. As each debt is paid in full, the app acts to highlight the next debt, thereby creating a “snowball effect” for paying off debts. The app also tells you exactly how long it will take to pay off individual debts, and it identifies how long it will take to pay off all debt. Handy payment reminders come with it, too. (App is $2.99 – for Android)
- Credit Card Debt Payoff. (click to view app in store) Per the online description, the app shows you how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt. It also calculates the exact interest you can expect to pay on your debt. You simply enter your credit card balance and inter-est rate, then figure in your monthly expenses. The app also displays the date you can be debt free. (App is free – for iPhone)
* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.