TORONTO, January 8, 2013 – One resolution Canadians cannot afford to break in 2013 is practicing better money management. As the credit card bills from December roll in, Equifax Canada is sharing tips to help take control of your finances, including your credit.
One of the most important ways to become empowered financially is to reduce debt. First, get honest with yourself about how much debt you have and why you've incurred that debt. Then take measured action to reduce debt and work towards improving your overall financial picture.
Carol Gray, President of Equifax Canada, offers her Top-10 tips to help take control of your finances in 2013:
- Be proactive, start with your free credit report to better understand your credit standing. You're entitled to free credit reports from Canada’s two credit-reporting agencies, including Equifax.
- When checking your credit report, look at EVERYTHING. Errors made by retailers, phone companies or banks can impact your credit score and may cost you money in higher interest payments.
- Create a budget so you can see exactly where your money goes each month. Doing so will help eliminate non-essentials from your spending habits.
- Create a goal such as a family vacation or paying back a certain percentage of your debt to make it easier to curb spending.
- Make a plan for paying back debt most effectively. Working with a financial planner or using an online debt management tool can help you prioritize debts.
- When considering a major purchase, create a list of pros and cons to help you make a smart financial decision.
- Don't let bills pile up; past due bills can incur late fees and will negatively affect your credit score.
- If possible, make more than the minimum payment each month on credit card balances, which may help raise your credit score.
- Check credit card bills closely for errors and signs of potential identity theft.
- Consider signing up for a credit monitoring and ID theft protection product like Equifax Complete™. It’s like a silent alarm that can help identify issues beyond a lost or stolen credit card.
"It may seem daunting at first, but by taking even small steps, you can reduce debt and take more control of your own finances," said Carol Gray, President of Equifax Canada. "This is a new year's resolution worth keeping all year long."