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How to Have a Debt Relief Date Night

Kids, jobs, housework, errands: it can all take precedence over our primary relationships. For many of us, that includes our relationship with our finances, resulting in worries about debt and feeling as if we don’t have control of our money.

Setting aside a regular “date night” to spend some one-on-one time with your finances puts the focus back on your relationship with money. In doing so, you may find ways you’d like to better manage your money, and that can lead to much-needed debt relief.

Having a healthy relationship with your money is critical to your state of mind and overall well-being. Without it, many consumers become anxious and stressed because of financial problems like debt.

Manulife Bank recently conducted a Holiday Debt Survey. It found that, in Canada, debt relief is desired by many, and not just over the holidays.

Of those Canadians with debt, 37 per cent worry about it all the time. Of those with a lot of debt, 70 per cent are constantly stressed.

Anxiety, stress and worry have negative impacts on both mental and physical health. They can also impact our relationships with family and friends and even our ability to work effectively.

Your relationship with money deserves your time and attention to help ensure that it doesn’t affect other areas of your life. Get to know your finances better and get them working for you.

Here’s how to implement your Debt Relief Date Night:

  • Set the scene
    Choose a time and place thoughtfully so you won’t be interrupted. Don’t sabotage your efforts by trying to manage your finances while multi-tasking family, work or school responsibilities. Make sure you have everything you need: financial statements, bills, income information, warm beverage and computer or tablet. This is where you’ll meet as often as necessary to improve your relationship.
  • Ease into it
    If you’ve let your relationship with your finances sit on the back burner, or if it never really got started, you’ll want to start slowly. Read through your financial information to get an idea of where things stand. This might be all you do on your first date. That’s ok. Plan to have regular bonding time from now on to set goals, monitor saving strategies and check in on debt repayment progress.
  • Identify your needs
    Part of a healthy relationship is ensuring that your needs are being met. What tools would help you feel more secure when it comes to your finances? Do you need to set up a budget or get help with debt management? Use your date nights to read blogs and other resources, find the solutions you need, and implement them.
  • Consider how you and your money can get closer
    Do you find your credit card debt keeps increasing even though you’re trying to stay within your budget? Overspending on non-essentials may be the culprit. Consider using one of the many free apps that track your spending so you can see exactly where your money is going and where you can reduce spending.
  • Improve your financial literacy
    Curl up with your money and do some reading to enhance your financial literacy skills. There are countless books, articles and blogs about financial literacy. Find people who “speak your language” and read what they have to say. It’s never too late to learn best practices about saving, spending and using credit.

It can feel a bit uncomfortable when you first start dating — you don’t know each other and there can be anxiety and even a bit of fear. Expect the same when you first start “dating” your finances.

Over time, and by putting in the effort, you’ll get more comfortable, just as you would in any good relationship. Date nights will become a fun way to achieve debt relief while setting and reaching new financial goals.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are some frugal ideas for couples from Christine at The Wallet Diet that can help with debt relief.

What are your plans for your date night with money? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #DateWithMyFinances #FinLit

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