From the Wires
Were You Naughty Instead of Nice With Your Holiday Spending?
RateSupermarket.ca Offers Top Tips for Dissolving Debt!
By: Marketwired .
Dec. 27, 2012 12:00 PM
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/27/12 -- One of the top New Year's resolutions is to get out of debt - especially with consumer credit at all-time highs, and record low borrowing rates poised to rise in the new year.
The good news? It's never too late to turn your finances around - and what better time than the dawn of a new year to get started down the path to financial security?
Improving your financial health doesn't have to be complicated. Follow these proven steps to tackle that credit card debt and start 2013 off on a strong financial foot.
1. Stick to a budget!
Though most of us are still coming down from our holiday spending "shoppers' high," pretending your bills aren't there doesn't make it true. The first step is to face reality and determine how much debt you really have.
Find those credit card and loan statements to get an idea of the outstanding balances and the interest rates each of them are charging. This will help you get an understanding of how much you owe and will make it much easier to set a budget.
A few tips for setting a budget include:
-- Review your total after tax income -- Keep track of what you're spending your money on each month -- Shop with a list to help avoid impulse purchases when you're out grocery shopping or at the mall (or better yet, avoid the mall altogether... at least for a while) -- Still coming up short every month? Revisit that budget and further reduce your costs -- Take advantage of fantastic free budgeting tools like www.Mint.com
Once you have a clear picture of what is left over each month, you can start putting it towards paying off your debt.
2. Pay Down Your Highest Interest Debt First
Start your debt-repayment plan by tackling those charging you the highest interest - typically your credit cards. They charge huge amounts of interest, up to 29%, and can take years to pay off if you only pay the minimum amount.
3. Take Measures to Reduce Your Largest Debts
Once you've got a handle on your credit cards, turn your focus to your biggest debt; for many Canadians, it's a mortgage. Most people are happy to think about their mortgage as a monthly expense rather than a large debt that should be actively managed.
A few quick ways to reduce your mortgage debt include making sure you compare the best mortgage rates before you purchase or refinance, move to accelerated payments, and take advantage of prepayment options. These steps can reduce the number of years and interest you'll pay over the life of your mortgage.
4. Compare the Market
Even if you're happy with your bank or credit union, if you're looking to renew or refinance your mortgage, or shopping for a new low interest credit card, always compare the market and find the best offers.
A lower interest rate can take years off of your mortgage, while a different credit card could give you a much lower rate, give you cash back, or help you earn valuable points towards monthly expenses like gas or groceries.
5. Ask for Help!
If you'd like help managing your debt, you can always consult a financial planner or adviser. There are also credit counseling agencies, many of which are not-for-profit organizations that specialize in helping people manage their debt. A quick online search can help find a local credit counsellor near you.
About RateSupermarket.ca (www.ratesupermarket.ca)
Over 2.8 Million Canadians have found their best rate for personal finance products on RateSupermarket.ca. Launched in 2008, RateSupermarket.ca is Canada's largest and most comprehensive rate comparison site, offering visitors transparent access to the best mortgage rates as well as credit cards, bank accounts, insurance quotes and GIC rates.
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