How to get rid of the holiday financial blues

Read the fine print on your financial services agreements

After the holidays, many people are looking to undo some of their bad spending habits of the previous year and tidy up their debt.

Knowing what to pay off first can seem like a daunting task but with this six-step plan from Wendy Kraft, branch manager at the Kitimat branch of Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, you’ll be well on your way.

Pay off high-interest debt first

I recommend paying off your most expensive debt first – typically your high-interest rate credit cards—as those can quickly get out of hand. Making two smaller payments per month instead of one, will eliminate your debt much faster and save yourself a lot of interest. You can then take that money and focus on paying down the next most expensive debt.

Take advantage of free banking

Read the fine print on your financial services agreements to scout out what has service charges. Shop around for services that are free, such as no-fee day-to-day banking, e-transfers or online bill payments. Those costs add up if you aren’t aware of them. You can reallocate that saved cash to your debt repayment plan instead.

Set up automatic payments

Automatic payments will ensure you don’t miss any payments and incur penalties—which can also inflict serious damage on credit ratings and impact future borrowing such as getting a mortgage or loan.

Get free rewards and use points for household expenses

It also makes sense to take advantage of reward programs on credit cards—but only if you immediately pay the balance off in full. You’ll rack up reward points that you can in turn use to buy free groceries every few months.

Renegotiate your car loan

Cars have become a necessity, but as a depreciating asset, you need to be mindful of the potential consequences of having a term that’s too long. If you have a 10 -year term, the car might not even be running by the time you pay it off.

Talk to an expert

Lastly, visit your local Envision Financial branch.

Our financial professionals are here to help you establish a budget or manage your debt repayment plan—and our advice is always free.

Just Posted

Proposal could see Haisla reserve double in size

Ellis Ross says waterfront development would be ideal

Kitimat CDC benefits from special technology for special kids

“The kids participate now where they didn’t before.”

Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows, advocate says

More deferring property tax, using rent subsidy to stay at home

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

Skeena Sawmills audit good overall, but fault found in tree planting

Violation only issue discovered in Forest Practices Board report

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Health authorities insist – it’s not too late for a flu shot

Children and adults targeted by this year’s flu

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read