(TORONTO, ON) – If there was an Olympic event for credit card usage, Canada would be preparing to get its silver medal. Canada sits behind only South Korea in the number of purchases made by credit card by the average person.
A recent study by the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearing Institute states that Canadians make an average of 89.8 credit card transactions per year (2012 figures) – putting us ahead of such countries as the U.S.A. and Australia.
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., is concerned that this reliance on credit purchasing will lead to a lifetime of debt for the average Canadian.
“Relying on credit cards to buy things is a slippery slope. It’s a lot easier to fall into a debt hole than it is to climb out” says Schwartz. “This study shows that Canadians are more comfortable buying on credit than most other countries. If used irresponsibly, frequent credit card use can cause significant financial problems.”
The 89 purchases made by the average Canadian on credit amounted for $10,000 in credit expenditures – placing Canada second once again behind Australia. The high rankings are a concern for Schwartz, who offers these tips for avoiding debt.
· Reduce the temptation – Leave your credit cards at home. You do not need to carry it with you wherever you go. By leaving it at home you will avoid the impulse purchases on credit which create debt accumulation in the first place.
· Sleep on it – Before making any purchase, think about it. By waiting overnight, you may realize that you don’t really need it in the first place. It’s a lot easier to just not buy something in the first place than it is to make payments on it for the weeks, months and years to come.
· Keep track – Many who fall into debt don’t know how they really got there. Sure, the major purchases of TVs or expensive clothes are obvious, but little things like a fast food meal or a movie ticket also add up. Write down everything you buy and you’ll soon see where the money goes.
· Get help – If you see yourself falling in debt, talk to someone. Sometimes you have to say the words – “I have a debt problem. I need help.” – before you accept them to be true. Sit down with your spouse, parent, friend, credit counsellor or someone else you trust. Suffering in silence will only lead to bigger problems.
“We used to save up to buy something we wanted but these days, people are buying first and saving later. The problem with this behavior is that debt loads get to be so high that they never stop paying and never start saving!” – says Schwartz.
Consolidated Credit urges Canadians to think twice before purchasing something on credit. Good money management starts with living within your means and avoiding debt.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Eric Spence, Public Relations Coordinator, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-731-5588, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]