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BDO Etobicoke

155 Rexdale Blvd Suite 400
Etobicoke, Ontario
M9W 5Z8
Phone: (416) 741-9150

3 Ways to Get to Know Your Personal Debt Better

How is your relationship with your personal debt?

Whether it’s a casual fling or a ‘til-death-do-us-part situation, there are likely a few things you’d like to change about your debt relationship this year. Let’s gets tarted.

If you’ve set some financial goals this year but you’re unsure where to start, we’ve got you covered. And, since love is in the air this month, there’s no better time to get up close and personal with your finances.

Schedule a date night — just you and your personal debt

Good food,candles, wine, soft jazz…whatever you want to do to set the mood. Plan an evening in where you can turn your focus to finance. Gather your bank statements, credit card bills and loan statements and tally up those balances.Use our debt calculator to help.

Now ask yourself a few important questions.

  • Are your personal debt balances higher than you thought? Seeing your debt laid out in front of you can be an eye-opening experience. Don’t panic, make a plan.
  • How will you start making a dentin those balances? Start by listing your monthly expenses and income, using this budget worksheet. This will give you an idea of how much disposable income you have left after the bills are paid. From there, you can choose a debt repayment method to get back in control of your debt.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Thirty-four per cent of millennials and parents raising young kids feel overwhelmed by their debt and don’t know what to do. If that’s the case, look over your debt relief options using our repayment calculator, or schedule an info session with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can guide you through your repayment options.

Take an honest look at your spending habits

Set aside sometime (how about a lazy Sunday afternoon?) where you can go over your bank transactions. Notice how many times you’re hitting the grocery store or coffee shop. Has your retail therapy gotten out of control? Do these purchases fit within your monthly budget?

Create a few ground rules for your spending habits with one or more of these easy fixes:

  • Make a meal plan.  Involve the family in making a healthy, affordable meal plan that you can stick to each week. This will save you time on those busy nights, and save you from buying more food than necessary. Bonus tip: use Sundays as a meal planning day for the week and make some food to freeze and use on busy nights such as lasagnas, soups or even breakfast burritos.
  • Avoid impulse purchases. Unsubscribe to store emails and detach your credit card from Amazon. Consider shopping with strictly cash to avoid blowing your budget.
  • Spread out your rewards. You don’t need to stop enjoying life when you’re paying down debt. This is why you should make your rewards count. Set some milestones for yourself such as paying off one small credit card balance, and celebrate by rewarding yourself (within reason).

Make a commitment to savings instead of personal debt

Again, this is something the whole family can get on board with. This might mean carpooling to save on gas, increasing income with a side-hustle or cutting out other unnecessary spending in your budget. Even while you reduce personal debt, you should try to add money to an emergency fund in order to avoid adding to your existing debt when unexpected expenses come up. Set up automatic withdrawals from your chequing account and deposit a set amount into savings each payday to start paying yourself first.

How will you make your personal debt a priority this year? Are you open to regular financial date nights with yourself? Connect with us on Twitter to share your story. #LeaveDebtBehind #DateWithMyFinances #WomenAndMoney.

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