5 Old School Debt Tips Your Dad Would Give You

2015-06-23   minute read

Debt Solutions

Dads have been around. They know what’s going on in the world even if we think we know more. Sometimes they sit us down and tell us what we should know. Other times, Dads give us advice without us realizing it. It comes to us in offhand comments or subtle questions.


So what are some of those things that Dads tell us that we should listen to?

1. Budget Budget Budget

You’re not going to get anywhere without knowing what you’re spending. Decide if you’re happy with those expenditures. This is a good time to think about budgeting for an emergency fund and regular RRSP investments.  There are no guarantees in life. You can’t depend on getting credit in an emergency and you definitely can’t depend on someone supporting you when you’re looking to retire. It’s important to also remember that budgeting is not something you do and then never think about again. This is a moving target at all times. You need to look at your budget on a regular basis to make sure that it’s always working for you. Life changes and you’ll need your budget to change with you. Adjusting your budget to incorporate payments to your creditors will provide you some much needed debt relief. Your creditors want to see you making steady, regular payments. Generally, they will be willing to wait longer for debt to be paid if they can see an effort is being made.

2. Cash is King

If you can’t afford to pay it outright, don’t buy it. There are very few purchases that are considered necessities that need to be purchased with credit. Dad wouldn’t tell you to never use your credit card but he would tell you to use it to your advantage. You need to use your credit to increase your credit ratings. The best way to do that is to use it but then make a payment on it right away. That doesn’t mean once per month you try to pay it off. It means that you need to have the money in your bank account at the time of purchase and then make a payment on the same day, or as soon as possible. You’ll incur no interest that way and you won’t find yourself overspending.

3. Save Up

At the risk of repeating number 2 above, unless it’s something like a house, don’t make any large purchases using credit cards or other types of credit. Go back to number 1 above and look at your budget. Figure out how much you need to save and how much you can budget towards the purchase price each month or each paycheque. Work that into your budget and set up an automatic transfer in your bank account to a savings account. People tend to find that a purchase is much more rewarding and appreciated when they’ve had to work for it.

4. Recycle

Take what’s old and make it new. Visit garage sales for that “new” piece of furniture you’re looking for. Most furniture can be refinished at fraction of the cost. Spend time looking at Kijiji. There are often free items that people simply need to be rid of.  Try to repair broken items before replacing them. Look through the button stash for the replacement buttons before replacing items with missing buttons. Take yesterday’s roast and make it today’s beef stir-fry. Use up those veggies that are starting to get a bit soft. Get involved in a clothes exchange with neighbours and the community. What’s old to one person is new to another.

5. Piggy Banks

Dust off your old piggy bank or mason jar. Set it by the door so that every time you walk in the door you can add all of your loose change to it. This will work well if you can get into the habit of paying with cash instead of electronically. Not only will paying with cash help you monitor your spending, you’ll be saving significant funds for debt repayment or those larger purchases.

So once you’ve managed to generate some savings from the changes you’ve made you’ll have the ability to pay off some of those credit cards quickly and find some much needed debt relief.

If you find you’ve gotten into trouble, it might be time to seek the advice of a professional. A licensed Trustee office such as MNP will make sure all of your options are considered and you understand the benefits and risks of all of them. MNP offers a free consultation and can provide some peace of mind. Contact your local MNP office to speak with someone today. 

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