Valley First

Getting rid of your holiday spending hangover is easier than you think

January 12, 2017

Penticton, B.C.—Only four in 10—or 39 per cent of Canadians saved for their holiday shopping expenses according to a December CPA Canada spending report. This could spell big trouble for Canadians if interest rates rise as expected in 2017.

“After the holidays many people are looking to undo some of their bad spending habits of the previous year and tidy up their debt,” says Donna Erickson, Senior Manager of Retail Credit with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.

Erickson says the best strategy is to pay off your most expensive debt first, typically your high interest rate credit cards.

“Even if you have larger debts, it’s the higher interest you want to tackle first as those can quickly get out of hand,” she says. “I recommend paying an extra payment each month and automating those payments. You’ll pay down debt much faster and save yourself a ton of interest.”

In addition, Erickson says to take the time to read the fine print on your financial service agreements to determine what charges you could incur.

“Shop around for free services, 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 and you can reinvest that cash into your debt re-payment plan instead,” she says.

Erickson also recommends signing up for a shorter term car loan or renegotiate your existing terms. If you take out a 10-year vehicle loan, for example, the car might not even be running by the time you pay it off. “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,” she says.

Lastly, Erickson advises taking advantage of the expert advice of your local financial professional. “We’re here to help you establish a budget and manage your debt repayment plan –and our advice is always free.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

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