Tackling post-holiday debt to help battle ‘Blue Monday’: Regina credit counsellor

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Tackling post-holiday debt to help battle ‘Blue Monday’: Regina credit counsellor
If you've been feeling a little down today, it might be because it's 'Blue Monday,' but it's also the time when credit card bills arrive and people start to realize how much they've spent over the holidays – Jan 16, 2018

The third Monday in January is better known as Blue Monday and is considered by many to be the most depressing day of the year.

But for some, it’s just another Monday.

“I didn’t want to get up, I think every student does that on Monday’s,” one University of Regina student said.

For others, it started off better than expected.

“It was a great morning because I got to talk to all of my family and I got to eat tasty food that was prepared for me, so it was a good morning,” another U of R student said.

Which is good news considering it is Blue Monday and although the science behind the day may be questionable; cold weather, getting back to work and post- holiday debt can all add up.

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“We’re starting to see a lot of clients that are feeling panicked,” credit counsellor Tanis Ell said. “They often say they feel like they’re drowning in their debt.”

Tanis Ell is a credit counsellor at the Credit Counselling Society in Regina, a free service for those looking to tackle debt.

Ell says now is the time of year when many are seeing their bills for the first time since the holidays.

“It’s credit cards, or lines of credit,” she explained. “Maybe people were taking out payday loans to pay for Christmas.”

According to PwC Canada consumers planned to spend an average of $1,507 over the holiday season, slightly higher than their U.S. counterparts.

“People tend to spend beyond their means,” Ell said. “They’re spending more than what’s coming in. So not having a spending plan is a big mistake.”

Ell says making a budget is one of the first things she helps her clients do.

“The first thing we want to do is look at how their spending and if we can revise what they’re spending, how they’re spending and creating a spending plan moving forward,” she said.

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Adding, it’s also important to pay off the highest-interest debt first and create a plan.

“You should give yourself a goal as to how to long you want to take to pay off a credit card, or your debt and make sure there’s enough room within your budget to allocate to that debt,” Ell said.

Many credit counselling services are free, making it even easier for people to get the help they need.



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