Debt counselling

Dealing with debt

How do I know if I need debt help?

Most people have some form of debt. It can be difficult to get by without it. Debt can be a useful tool to help you accomplish your goals and can even help you deal with unexpected expenses. But debt can accumulate quickly and weigh on your financial health.

Worrying about debt is one of the first signs you have too much. And there are others. The hard part is realizing that you have a debt problem and that you need debt help.

Here are some steps to help you work through the process of finding the right kind of debt help.

How can I deal with debt on my own?

Make sure you have a budget

Having a budget is key for building healthy spending habits. When used consistently, the right budget can save you thousands of dollars every year.

Think of your budget as your own personal spending and savings plan. It’s how you keep track of what’s coming in and what’s going out so you can avoid overspending. New debt is often directly related to the expenses you don’t plan for. The right budget will also help you find savings opportunities so you can achieve your financial goals.

There are many ways of maintaining a budget, from pen and paper to a budgeting app. The most important thing is to find something that works for you.

Define your debt repayment strategy

Whenever you acquire new debt, you should have a plan to pay it off.

The quicker you can pay off debt the better. Set debt repayment goals for each of your debts. You can use this debt calculator to help you establish a timeline as well as the right monthly payment amount.

Are you only making the minimum payment on high-interest debt? If so, it will take you a long time to pay it off. Paying the minimum on a credit card balance of $5,000 will take almost four years to pay off and will cost you around $1,983.60 in interest.

How can I deal with debt on my own?

Not all debts are created equal. Different types of debt require different solutions, and there are many ways you can go about dealing with them. On the following pages, we take a closer look at some specific forms of debt, and explain the options that can help to reduce or eliminate the various forms of debt you owe.

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Credit card debt

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Student loan debt

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Payday loans

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Mortgage or family-related debt

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What are my options for finding debt help?

In some cases, budgeting may not be enough to deal with your financial challenges. You may need to explore other debt help options. There are many to consider, from debt consolidation to debt forgiveness programs, like a consumer proposal or bankruptcy.

The best strategy for learning about your debt help options is to speak with an empathetic debt professional who can offer trusted advice and encouragement. This is exactly the type of service you receive when you meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).

An LIT can explain all your options free of charge. It’s their mission to help people fix their debt problems. They are also the only debt professionals who can administer a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. 

If you are struggling with debt, an LIT can offer one-on-one support on a wide range of debt relief options to help you find a path forward.