Making ends meet can be a challenge. Many Canadian households have never been closer to the edge of insolvency. A recent survey shows that 53% of Canadian households are only $200 or less away from not being able to meet their bills or debt obligations each month, including the 30% of households already unable to pay all of their bills.
Unprecedented government supports rolled out in 2020 brought insolvencies down to their lowest level in twenty years, but as the pandemic drags on through 2021 and continues to keep many workplaces and industries shut, that trend is quickly reversing.
Canadian households are running out of wiggle room, living paycheck to paycheck and falling behind on credit card payments, rent, mortgage payments, and other obligations.
Debt Relief Programs in Canada
Credit card problems are among the most common sources of financial problems in the country. When you owe thousands of dollars to credit card companies, more of your monthly budget is eaten away by debt payments. On top of that, surprise expenses can erase all of your progress and land you back at square one.
Debt problems can feel insurmountable, but there are programs out there that can help you bring debt under control. One of those options is a Debt Consolidation Program (DCP), a program that can stop interest charges and collection actions from credit card companies.
By stopping the interest charges on your credit cards, you can focus on the principal and save money while you pay back what you owe. A DCP puts more money back into your monthly budget without you having to file for bankruptcy or take out an additional loan. You can use this debt consolidation calculator to find out just how much of a difference a DCP can make.
Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
Living paycheck-to-paycheck is stressful. You’re constantly worried about how much you’re spending, yet no matter how closely you budget, it always seems like you’ve spent too much.
It can feel like you’re trapped, but in addition to seeking out debt relief programs in Canada, these steps can help you find more financial stability and control over the situation.
#1 Pay Your Credit Cards Immediately
Instead of waiting for your monthly statement, pay down each purchase immediately. It’s like using a cash diet, but in a way that works for the era of online shopping. You also won’t be surprised at the end of the month.
#2 Stop Automatic Payments
Did you set up auto contributions to a TFSA, RRSP, or savings account in the past? If you’re scrambling to pay down debt, cancel them and focus on eliminating high-interest debt. Once you’re in the clear, you can go back to investing.
#3 Review Your Payments
Is there anything you’re paying for right now that you don’t need to be? Review your utilities, subscriptions, internet, cable, phone, and any recurring monthly expenses. Find out if there are more affordable plans or special promotions. If these are still costing you too much, cut the cable for good.
If you can’t increase your income, cutting your expenses is the most reliable way to take back control of your money.