Dealing with debt during the holidays

TORONTO, ONTARIO, November 30, 2016 – Albertans and Saskatchewanians are feeling an extra pitch this holiday season. Why? Canadians in these provinces are struggling with their debt and as a consequence they are filing for insolvency at an alarming rate according to new statistics from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada.dealing with debt

The September 2016 consumer insolvencies report for Alberta and Saskatchewan paint a grim picture year over year:

  • Alberta +37.4 per cent
  • Saskatchewan +34.5 per cent
  • Newfoundland +33.6 per cent

Not the kind of news anyone wants to hear as a busy holiday season looms near for Canadians. Traditionally, many Canadians get caught up in the gift giving mood of the holidays and will rack up hundreds of dollars of high interest rate credit card debt.  As a consequence some suffer from a massive debt hangover in the New Year with no relief in sight. However during this spirited time of year, no one wants to be known as the Grinch so those who are carrying record levels of debt, still buy gifts for their loved ones.

“It can be a difficult time dealing with debt this time of year. I know the holidays can create some added pressure however it is important to take a step back and realistically decide how much you can afford,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“If you can’t afford to buy gifts then look at other ways of spreading some holiday cheer. You will be less stressed and you will celebrate your new year on a high note,” says Schwartz.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada understands this time of year can be a happy however stressful time for many families dependent on the oil patch, to help consumers cope, we offer the following tips for a joyous holiday season:

Track it

Create a budget to track all of your money and this means even your small purchases like your morning coffee run. Every dime and nickel adds up!

Make a list

Create a list and stick to it. Assign dollar amounts to each name to help you stay on track.

Offer your talents

The holidays are about spending time with your family and friends not about who can give the most expensive gift. Think of your talents and give it as a gift (e.g. baking, cooking etc.).

Switch your plastic

Don’t spend money you do not have. If you do not have the cash on hand or in your bank account – do not make the purchase. Put your credit card on pause and get used to using your debit card.

Carry cash

If you are dealing with debt and enjoy the thrill of buying things on credit, it is time to put a stop to this by using cash instead. Carrying cash around your wallet will help you to only spend what you can afford.

No band aid solutions

When you are struggling to manage your debt, avoid from taking on new debt. Taking out a payday loan to help you manage your cash flow is a recipe for debt disaster.

Seek help

Sometimes in life, we bite off more than we can chew. If your debt is too much – get some help from a trained credit counsellor.


About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:

Natasha Carr, Community and Public Relations Manager,
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.,
T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-830-4720, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]


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