It was only human to put concerns about cash flow and debt troubles on the back burner while you enjoyed the festive time with your family and friends throughout the holidays. Now that we are well into January, it’s time to take stock of where you are today and what you want to achieve in 2017.
The shed the debt professionals at Goldhar & Associates offer these 10 tips to help you shed the debt and have a happy and financially healthy 2017.
- Put paying down debt at the top of your new year resolutions list. Shed the debt and you shed the worry of missing payments or falling behind on bills.
- Change how you pay for purchases. Every time you make a purchase, you make a financial decision. Will you swipe your bank debit card, put it on a credit card, or put down cold hard cash? Choosing cash or your debit card mean you are using your own money. Your debit card is just as convenient as a credit card, but unlike a credit card, it taps directly into your own money in your bank account. There is no “second” bill to pay 30 days later, and no interest adding up on the purchase. Additionally, cash can be elusive. As in, “where did that $20 go?” When you can see where you spent it, you’re more in control. For everyday purchases, such as transit fares, gas for the car, coffee at Starbucks and groceries, using your debit card is a wise choice. Save the credit card for travel and large ticket items such as car repairs, home repairs, and home appliances.
- Use the ATM belonging to your bank. This saves you the network fees that the different banks charge each other for processing the transactions. Paying as much as $3 to take out 20 bucks doesn’t make sense. The transaction is likely free if the ATM is your own bank’s … and if it’s not free, switch to an account where it is free, or switch to another bank with lower fees. Paying to use your own cash is not smart.
- Pay your bills on time. The gas, hydro, water and cable bill. They all have due dates. Miss the date and you’ll be charged extra. Who needs to pay interest on the cable bill? You can set these bills up so that you get an auto alert on your email. Pay the bill out of your bank account as soon as the bill comes into your email box.
- That brings us back to the bank. The cheapest way to pay your bills is online, right out of your bank account. A good bank plan won’t charge you for each transaction. Again, if you get nicked $1.50 every time you pay a bill online, look for a better account plan. Or switch banks. Don’t pay the bills through a bank teller. There’s definitely a fee for that.
- Pay your cellphone bill on time. Not only because you pay interest on overdue balances, but because cellphone bills are now part of your credit score. Pay Rogers or Fido late and you’ve tanked your credit score. And your credit score is something you want to keep as high as possible, so when you need to borrow – for a mortgage, or a line of credit, or even a credit card – you can get the lowest rate possible.
- Attack your credit balances. Open all the January credit card statements right away. You may be dreading what you’ll find, but better to face it now and make a plan to start paying down the balances. Consider how much you can pay on each balance before the end of January. With some savvy budgeting, could you pay any of them off in full within three months? You’ll pay some interest in the interim, but whittling down the balance to zero will put you on a sound financial footing by spring.
- If you can’t pay off the amounts in three months, budget for all the minimum monthly payments, and then see what cash you have left over. Each month, contribute that extra to one of the credit card balances. You will save on interest if you apply these extra payments first to the card with the highest interest rate. Pay that card off as quickly as you are able.
- Don’t be late with or miss any of the monthly minimum payments. This can jack up your interest rate, and it does not look good on your credit rating. Miss two monthly payments and your card will be suspended, even if there is spending room available. Miss three payments and the card will be revoked and the credit card company will start collection action on the full balance.
- If you can’t meet the monthly minimums at all, it’s time to talk to a debt professional and shed the debt. When your debt load gets this heavy, debt relief is a smart financial decision.Call Goldhar & Associates to arrange a free, no obligation review of your finances. We’ll discuss openly and honestly the options available to help you shed the debt and get your finances back in shape. Anywhere in Ontario there’s a Goldhar near you. Call toll-free 1-855-541-5114, or fast dial #DEBT (#3328) on your mobile phone.
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Fast, friendly debt relief is only a phone call away. Talk to Goldhar today.