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Mississauga, Ontario
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Secure a Luxury Date Night with Your…Personal Debt?

Chances are good that you don’t have much love for your personal debt.

Quite the opposite, thanks to all the anxiety and stress it gives you. But all that animosity isn’t doing you any favours if the debt keeps climbing or getting in the way of a good night’s sleep. Maybe it’s time to change your approach and develop a new relationship with debt through regular dates.

What’s a debt date night?

It’s an evening where you spend time with debt, getting honest about it and figuring out how to work with it.

Sound terrifying? Or deathly dull?

It’s anything but if you take the right perspective.

By securing a regular date night with your debt, you’ll slowly become more comfortable with it. As your comfort level increases, you’ll be better positioned to get rid of the debt and make stronger financial decisions.

Why it’s important

Household debt just keeps climbing.

The Province’s Financial Accountability Office states that Ontario’s household debt grew by an average of 5.6 per cent each year between 2010 and 2016. In 2016, Ontario households owed $1.71 for every $1 of income.

Some of these people will probably end up filing for bankruptcy. While that’s not the end of the world, it’s an emotional and challenging process that’s best avoided by dealing with debt earlier rather than later.

So what’s the deal with debt and why does it continue to grow? Those are some of the questions you can get answers to on your debt date nights!

The first date

Prepare carefully for your first debt date night, just as you would for any first date.

Gather everything you’ll need: credit card statements, information about student loans or lines of credit, monthly budgets (if you have them), income information, paper, pencils, and calculator.

Choose a comfortable place in your home where you can have 30 minutes to an hour to yourself. Now simply review all your financial information.

Notice how you feel as you get to know your non-mortgage debt. Is the experience setting off feelings of fear and insecurity? Try to let those go during this time, and remind yourself that the more you know about your debt and your financial behaviour, the better prepared you’ll be to take control of your finances.

Once you’ve reviewed everything and have a clear picture of your situation, schedule another date in the near future.

An ongoing relationship

What you and debt get up to on subsequent dates will depend on your unique situation and the tools you need. For example, if you don’t have a budget, date two is the perfect time to put one together. Here’s one to try.

After creating your budget, you’ll know how much you can set aside for reducing your debt load.

What if there’s nothing left at the end of the month to pay more than the minimum payment? Then you need to explore your options: reduce spending, increase income, or consider meeting with a professional like a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) to tackle your debt more effectively.

You can spend your debt date nights exploring debt management tools, identifying ways to save, setting financial goals, or reading stories about people who have successfully overcome debt.

Check out how Krystal saved to get a down payment on a home at Give Me Back My Five Bucks.

Take this new approach to your personal debt, and you’re more likely to increase your confidence and decrease your debt. You have nothing to lose and a debt-free life to gain.

What are your plans for your date night with debt? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #DateWithMyFinances #DebtAdvice

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