The holidays are over and along with some regrets about the amount of eating and drinking you did, you might also be a bit shocked when your next credit card bill comes.
If you’re struggling with debt, the holidays are a really difficult time. No one wants to tell your friends and family that you can’t afford to buy things, so you end up spending more than you should, creating huge problems in your financial life for months as you struggle to pay everything off.
In fact, your January financial health is a pretty good indicator of your financial well-being overall. If you spent the year saving bits of your income so holiday gift-giving would be fun instead of stressful, the rest of your financial situation is likely well planned out as well.
On the other hand, if your heart-rate accelerates before you opened the credit card bill and you break into a cold sweat when you finally see the total at the bottom of your statement, then there’s a good chance this isn’t a one-time occurrence and you could probably use some serious help with regards to financial planning.
Getting On Track
Depending on the severity of your situation, you might just need some help getting organized. A great place to start is an online money tracking service such as Mint.com or Ynab.com (You Need A Budget).
If you find yourself smacking your forehead and thinking “I really thought we had the money for that”, then you might just be a bit forgetful, and this type of service can help you a lot to keep track of all your accounts, bills, and investments.
If you’ve been struggling with debt for a long time and constantly make purchases with credit cards because you’re waiting for your next paycheck then your problem might be more serious.
Tools That Help
Problems like lack of a budget can be pretty easy to fix. Problems like a job loss, medical issues, or a long history of bad habits can put you so far underwater that you can’t even imagine what the surface looks like.
Sites like http://www.debt.ca/ can help a lot. There are a wide variety of helpful calculators which can really drive home how much your debt is costing you and how long it will take to get out.
You can also motivate yourself by seeing how easily small additional payments can accelerate the process.
Getting Professional Help
If things still look bleak, you may really need to speak with a professional. In Canada debt relief program solutions such as debt settlement, debt consolidation, credit counseling, and consumer proposals are all valid options to explore.
Each comes with a different set of advantages and disadvantages including how helpful they will be, how flexible they are, and how they will affect your credit score. If you truly don’t know how to get out of your situation, contact a professional and see what options can help, and celebrate the holidays next year stress-free.