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Date Night: How to Spend Time with Your Debt & Get Help

Sometimes, a relationship needs some spark. Daily routines can cause you to lose communication, which can leave partners feeling somewhat joyless. The same thing goes for your relationship with money! On your journey of getting help with your debt, sometimes you need to ditch the routine and plan something special — like a date night with you finances.

It’s important to block off time to review your debt repayment efforts (How’s it going? What could you be doing better?), and it can start with just one evening.

Checking in with your finances can be good for your mental health too. A recent Manulife survey found that 37 percent of Canadians with debt are “always” stressed, anxious or worried about their debt. This means your relationship with money isn’t just an internal struggle, it likely affects the ones you love and how you interact with them.

So, what should you do on your financial date night? Here are a few ideas to start and why they’ll be beneficial for your long-term money plan.

·        Start by putting all your debts on the table. Bring all your credit card bills, loan debt, and investments with you so you can see everything at once. Don’t forget to make note of your total income, so you can calculate money in and money out.

·        Listen to a money-themed podcast or watch a YouTube video for motivation. There are plenty out there, but this podcast from Jessica Moorhouse on paying off meaningful debt and staying debt-free is a good place to start. By hearing about the tactics other people use to reduce debt, you can think critically about what applies to your situation.

·        Tidy up! What can you sell that you’re not using? Boosting your debt relief doesn’t have to just be about big plans. Take some time on your date night to go through old boxes, peruse shelves, or look at your electronics. Are there things you aren’t using that can be sold? Christine Drummond from The Wallet Diet has some good advice on how to make money off things you might’ve otherwise planned on donating.

·        Set a reminder to talk to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). If you have multiple debts and feel overwhelmed, it might be time to take that next step. Set a reminder on your phone to talk to an LIT about possible solutions, including credit counselling, consolidation, a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. An LIT will review your finances and advise on what would work best for your situation (even if that’s just sticking with a DIY approach).

When you’re stuck in a cycle of perpetual debt, it can be easy to ignore it and go on with your daily life. Much like a relationship with your significant other, though, ignoring the problems doesn’t make them go away. Stop and take time — whether you call it a date night or not — to check in and review your plans to reduce debt. That way, you’ll be motivated to keep going and be more efficient in doing so.

Do you have a “financial date night” tip you want to share? Get in on the conversation on social media using the hashtags #LeaveDebtBehind, #DebtAdvice, and #RelationshipWithMoney.

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