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2014-01-06 at 13:36

Credit crunch

By Jamie Smith,
91.5 CKPRWin Lunch with Danny and Laura for up to 20 people! Enter here to win on Thunder Bays Best Music 91.5 CKPRClick Here!

No one can reasonably expect to go from a couch potato to marathon runner overnight.

Getting into shape takes time and a plan, and that's exactly how the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre wants people to think when it comes to their financial well-being.

With holiday bills at the door and New Year's resolutions top of mind, phones at the centre have been ringing a lot lately as people are looking for help to manage debt loads.

Education and support services manager Sheri Fata said the first step to being debt free is facing financial fears, looking at what you have and making a budget.

"It's really about dealing with it," she said.

Finances can scare people. Some are embarrassed but Fata said the centre offers free consultation and assessments to help. From not being able to afford food to just managing credit cards, people from all walks of life have been helped but they need to reach out first.

"Just actually make that first phone call," she said.

With lower interest rates over the past few years, Fata said a lot of people are starting to use debt to pay off other debt. While that might work for a while, any change, like losing a job, will make that debt impossible to manage.

"We see that a lot," she said.

It's also important to pay attention to the type of debt you're taking on. Quick loans and credit cards can be a lot more trouble than they're worth.

"Watch what those interest rates are," Fata said.  "People should really be reading what they're signing up for."

Fore more information visit Thunder Bay Credit Counselling's website

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We've improved our comment system.
Chaos says:
Sheri Fata should be counselling our mayor and counsel. With taxes, water, hydro, and phone rates increasing every year they need a serious intervention before its too late.
1/6/2014 2:06:43 PM
yqtyqt says:
How true. Perhaps she should invite Mikie and Billie to a session. And invite the Lieberal advocates to sit in for a lesson.
1/6/2014 4:23:10 PM
sky high says:
And the whiners and cane-shakers in this city need some counselling too. We'll never have a nice city if all we do is fill potholes.
1/6/2014 4:25:33 PM
coppi says:
why complain about phone rates whenalmost everyone has a smart phone and constantly upgrade because a newer version comes out. Save money,ditch the cell phone and use home phone saving about $500 a yearly which can be used to pay down other debts.
1/6/2014 6:52:33 PM
Phill-Brooks says:
Managing your finances is simple. But again driving is simple too and you know how that works in this city
1/6/2014 2:46:18 PM
tsb says:
Is it, really? I spend a couple hours a week analyzing all of my income in, and bills going out, and pre-planning future spending for both necessities and luxury items. It's not rocket science, but I think it might be fairly difficult for a lot of people, especially those on wages whose income might swing wildly up or down depending on how much they worked during the last pay cycle.

If you think managing finances is easy, then you must be making enough to not have to worry too much about it, or you're really good with numbers. Most people don't have these luxuries.
1/6/2014 10:41:57 PM
CM Punk says:
While Chaos has a point, there are still those who do not have the common sense and simply live beyond their means.
I remember the days when people bought a car or truck and had it for 10 years. Now a vehicle that is 4 or 5 yrs old is considered junk because others are doing it.

Just goes to show you how shallow and senseless people are. Gotta keep up with the Jones' mentality.
Pretty sad state of society when they are to blame for drowning in debt.
1/6/2014 4:01:30 PM
sky high says:
Sadly, you're missing something: Quite often a person's situation changes, therefore they need a different type of vehicle. For instance, young guy gets married and has kids so there goes the Mustang and here comes the Minivan. Another example is this: Warranty goes off of vehicle, and many people (like me) hate paying thousands of dollars on repairs. I'd rather put the money into a newer, more reliable vehicle. A third example is that a hard-working person gets a big raise and therefore wants a vehicle that he or she really wants, and not one that he or she was forced to buy to get from point A to point B.
You keep driving your old station wagon if you want to, but others are going to get what they need and want.
1/6/2014 5:25:15 PM
cms says:
It is wonderful that the citizens of Thunder Bay have a non-bias, free confidential service to be able to go and discuss their financial problems without being judged. Yes we should all have common sense,but sometimes life challenges get in the way. ( Job loss, illness, marital breakup.) Lets not judge a book by its cover , and be grateful that there is help out there for the citizens that need it. Happy New Year
1/6/2014 8:32:59 PM
Slyder says:
Make a budget that includes a few bucks for saving and a few buck that goes to an emergency fund.

Live within your means.

Never take on a loan or financing for a depreciating asset (like a car).

1/7/2014 1:17:17 PM
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