How to Prepare for the end of Debt Holiday

The pandemic made it tough for thousands of Canadians to keep up with their bills, especially the high-interest consumer debt. A debt holiday was put in place on consumer debt and mortgages helping Canadians handle the daily cost of living without worrying about excessive debts.

Now that the country and even the world are coming back together and things are opening up, the debt holiday is nearing its ends. This means many bills will be due again – but how do you prepare for such a change in your finances?

Check out the tips below.

Negotiate a Payment Plan

Before your deferment plans end, contact your creditors. Don’t wait until the plan expires and then try to work something out. At that point it’s too late, your payments will be due and if you don’t pay them, it will hurt your credit.

Call your creditors long before it ends and ask about your options. Let them know your financial situation, whether you’re furloughed, not working, or working but trying to catch up. Most creditors will work with you, helping you figure out an affordable plan. Creditors would rather make a plan and receive the full payment than put you at risk of defaulting altogether.

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How to Budget Single Family Income

Has the pandemic brought your family down to a single income? With more than a million jobs lost in Canada, many families are in the same boat. Whether you were laid off or were required to stay home with your children who couldn’t go to school or daycare, it’s important to know how to budget your single family income.
Even if you collect unemployment, for now, it may not last. Just in case, consider the following ways to budget your single family income.
Make Cuts
It’s not a pleasant thought, but you must cut expenses. Get creative here. For example, if you cut cable, can you afford to replace it with a streaming service? Netflix, for example, costs a fraction of standard cable services. See if you can work it into your budget so you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing too much.
Think of other places you can cut, such as:
·       Eating out
·       Entertainment
·       Grocery store (shop sales and clip coupons)
·       Household goods (shop sales or comparison shop online)
Redo your Budget
Take an honest look at your budget. Where do you spend? If you can’t cut in certain categories, where does that leave you each month?
Think about saving for an emergency fund and retirement. Both should remain line items on your budget even when you’ve gone down to one income.

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Stores are Open – Reign in your Spending

Life is trying to get back to normal. As the COVID-19 numbers drop, more retail stores are reopening, which is a great sign for our economy, but may not be as good for your pocketbook. Try to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of things getting back to ‘normal,’ and be mindful of your spending.

Before you shop, ask yourself the following questions.

Is this an Impulse Buy?

Are you shopping with a list? If you are, is the item you’re holding or that you ‘need to buy’ on your list? If not, it’s an impulse buy. Even if you don’t have a list, but you look at things you don’t need or didn’t intend to buy; it’s an impulse buy.

Rather than buying without thinking, give yourself 48 hours. Leave the store or close your web browser without buying the product. After 48 hours, if you’re still thinking about the item, maybe it’s something worth buying. Chances are though, if it was an impulse buy, you won’t even think about it again.

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Whether you live in Brandon, Carman, Gimli, or Anywhere else in Manitoba, Creditaid can Help You

Canadians are taking on more and more debt. The latest statistics show that, excluding their mortgage, the average adult living in Canada has more than $20,000 of debt hanging over his or her head.

This huge figure is the result of a recently surging economy, which builds confidence among borrowers about their ability to pay back their debt, and record low interest rates, which means that the cost of borrowing those dollars might seem lower than the average.

Map_of_ManitobaAt Creditaid, we see this as a huge problem. The Canadian economy has slowed, especially in Western Canada, where a recent softening of the market for petroleum products has impacted the oil industry and its core of support businesses.

There are a lot of reasons people wind up with debt, and not all of them are irresponsibility. An unforeseen job loss, a sudden expense, or a family member in need can start the slide, and the banks and credit card companies will let you spiral further and further into debt from there, as that helps them maximize their profits.

At Creditaid, we help people get a handle on their debt. We can tell you how to start to climb out of your debt situation, and offer services like debt consolidation when they’re appropriate. We’re credit professionals who are, for once, on your side in your battle against debt.

To have your questions about credit counselling, debt management, and debt consolidation answered, contact Creditaid online or by telephone at (204) 987-6890. We can help you no matter where you live in Manitoba. Our area of service includes but is not limited to Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach, Winkler, Stonewall, and Selkirk.

Do I Need Credit Counselling?


Isn’t everyone in debt?

Well, in 21st Century Canada, it might seem that way. Canadians owe a greater portion of their earnings to creditors today than ever before, and even with low interest rates are making steep payments every month just to maintain their debts. When seemingly everyone owes money, how do you know it’s time to see a credit counsellor?

First and foremost, if you don’t know your financial situation, you need to see a counsellor. It’s often easier to hide your head in the sand when it comes to debt problems, but it’s certainly not a long-term solution. If you’re ignoring a debt problem, it’s getting worse.

If one or more of your debts has progressed to collections, and you aren’t able to make the payment, you have a debt problem.

If you are borrowing from one source of credit to pay another, you need to see a counsellor.

If your credit payments (not including your mortgage) exceed 20% of your net income, you are in danger.

If you’re not able to save for emergencies, or put money away for retirement, you could benefit from credit counselling.

If you aren’t able to sleep comfortably at night, secure in the knowledge that your household spending is under control and you have a plan to pay your overall debt load, then you need to contact Creditaid.

Creditaid is a licensed and bonded credit counselling agency that has been proudly serving Winnipeg since 1992. If any of the above scenarios apply to your life, contact us today for a free appointment with a credit counsellor, to help you take stock of your situation and access some of the many tools at our disposal to help you on your journey to financial security.

Budgeting for a Mortgage

When you are buying a home, it is important to know that you will be able to manage the payments on the mortgage. You will also have to secure a down payment amount, which is usually paid out of your own pocket without the help of a loan. While your budget may cover the monthly repayments on your mortgage, you also have to allow for future outgoings for things like starting a family, purchasing a car, or home improvements.

Although a higher down payment means handing over a large amount of cash, it will also greatly reduce the interest and insurance that you pay on your mortgage loan. Any payment under 20% of the total mortgage loan amount requires that you purchase default insurance, which will add thousands of dollars to the loan.

There are two main types of mortgage – open or closed payment. An open mortgage allows you more freedom to pay off higher amounts on your loan, but usually come with a higher interest rate. Closed mortgages require that you pay a fixed amount each month; however, you may have an allowance for making over payments. In the case of over payment allowances on closed mortgages; make sure to check your limits with the lender, as they can charge you penalties – known as repayment charges – running into thousands of dollars.

Each lender has their own terms for issuing mortgage loans. It is up to you to shop around and get the best option for you. Before you do, make sure that your credit report is clean and free of errors. You can order a copy of your credit report from a credit agency before you speak to lenders, giving you time to correct any errors or making payments on defaulted debts.

If you have forecast your budget wisely, you will know which mortgage suits you best. A good rule of thumb is to opt for an open type loan if you expect to make large frequent payments to bring down your loan cost quickly. If, on the other hand, you have a tighter budget where you will only be able to pay a fixed amount each year – opt for a closed type loan.

Living as a Couple – Time for the Talk

Your relationship is going well, and you take the big step to move in together. However, reality soon comes crashing down. Before you know it, the honeymoon is over, and you’re disagreeing about every little aspect of your lives together.

One of the biggest sticking points for couples is finances. You may find that you each hold completely different views about the importance of budgeting, or when you do budget, you disagree on what is or is not a priority. These are the times that will try your relationship, but the good news is, you can get through it and reach an accord.

First of all, there is no way around it – you need to be honest with each other. Discuss all your assets and debts, so there are no unpleasant surprises. You then need to decide whether to share financial responsibilities and to what degree. One person may be bringing a lot more debt to the relationship, which is why it is important to have this conversation early in the relationship.

Make sure to discuss your individual credit history, too. Your ability to borrow as a couple will be greatly impacted by your past spending. Don’t panic if your partner has taken out a lot of credit in the past; this is your opportunity as a couple to explore options for getting to a place of financial stability. Talk about setting a budget and goals for clearing debt, and decide on a ratio of responsibility for that debt.

While it is important that both of you contribute financially to your budget and the paying off of debts, you should also play to your strengths. The person who is better at managing monthly bills should take care of that side of your finances; however, it is important that both people in the relationship share the overall responsibility of maintaining the budget.

Compromise and communication are key to a strong financial relationship so make sure you discuss and come to an agreement on where your money is going and when. A relationship takes work, but by having this honest conversation early on and staying on track with budgeting and spending, you may find that your relationship is stronger for it.

November is Financial Literacy Month

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada! If you haven’t heard of this campaign before, it is a national initiative aimed at helping Canadians increase their financial knowledge. This is something we firmly believe in, here at Creditaid. We believe that when people are better educated on how the credit system works, they will be able to make better and more informed decisions when it comes to their personal finances.

If you are interested in participating in Financial Literacy Month – start by picking up or downloading a copy of the 2014 “Money Matters” calendar! The calendar will feature information and valuable money-saving resources for young people, families and individuals nearing retirement, including tips on managing debt, reducing the cost and length of a mortgage, talking to children about money and recognizing personal investment scams.

To download your copy – visit the Manitoba Securities Commission online at

Selling Your Assets to Get Out of Debt

Life can throw many hurdles your way and sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where your debt has become more than you can handle. You may have lost your employment or had unexpected expenses that have put you in more debt than you are able to pay back. It is at these times that many look for creative solutions to satisfy their debts before it negatively affects their credit standing. One way to do this can be selling assets you own free and clear to pay off some or all of your debts. However, before you sell off something you own, take the time to consider a few points.

– How much will it cost to sell? While most items can be put up for sale through a local paper or even a website for little or no cost, there are some assets that will have costs attached. A old car that needs work may cost more to get running than it is worth to sell. Some other types of items may require a professional appraisal or other expenses to get any value from the sale.
– How much will it cost to replace? Even though you need the money now, you do not want to pay off one debt to end up incurring another. If you sell your car to pay off debt, just to have to buy another one that may not be in as good of condition, you may end off worse in the long run.

If you can easily sell an asset and not be saddled with any extra costs or issues down the road, it is a reasonable solution to a bad debt situation. Just be sure that you look at all the angles before selling something that will either not cover your debt or will cause you further debt problems later.

Collection Agencies – Know Your Rights

When you are behind in paying a debt, creditors may turn your account over to a collection agency in an attempt to recover the amount owed. Whatever the situation is that landed an account in the hands of a collection agency, there are certain rules that they must abide by. It is important to know your rights when dealing with collection agencies.

– Written notification. The collection agency must notify you in writing that they have assumed your account. If you are receiving phone calls from an agency that has not sent you written notification, ask for this to be sent to assure that it is not a fraudulent action.
– Only pay what you owe. Collection agencies are not allowed to collect more than the amount owed in Canada. Their fee is taken out of the amount owed to your creditor so no additional fees should be added on top of what your originally owed the creditor.
– No harassment. While collection agencies are allowed to contact you to collect the debt, they are not allowed to harass you or your family. There are also certain times of day that are restricted from collection attempts, check with the rules within your province or territory.
– Contacting others to collect your debt. Collection agencies are not allowed to contact your friends, neighbors, family or any outsider to try and get information besides phone number or address to collect your debt.
– Legal action. You must be notified before a collection agency can begin attempting to collect the debt through legal or court action.

If you owe the debt, it is always best to pay it in full as soon as possible or make arrangements with the collection agency to do so. However, if you feel they are using illegal or unjust means to try and collect money from you, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office and report the agencies actions.