Bills from the holidays are starting to show up and many Calgarians are finding themselves in the position of being buried in a mountain of debt.

The Better Business Bureau, in partnership with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Services, is providing some tools that can help people escape from mounting debt loads.

Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says that the idea of being debt-free can be daunting, but it’s important to choose a credible company to help you start. "Consumers who are looking to tackle their financial debt are encouraged to check with the BBB for credible businesses they can trust to put them on the right track to their goals," she says in a release. "Learning to budget and actually stick to that budget is a key component to creating a financially secure future. But before you can create a budget, you have to know how to properly plan your finances, which is how we hope to help consumers through our partnership with CCCS."

The BBB is offering the following tips to help:

  • Set a household budget – adjusting your expenses can help provide the money you need to pay down debt
  • Choose a method – experts advise either paying off high interest balances first or smaller balances first
  • Ask for lower rates – most credit card companies will lower their interest rates when asked, especially when you mention a ‘hardship plan’
  • Send extra payments – in addition to making the minimum payment each month on every account, send an extra amount to the chosen payoff account
  • Stick to the plan – make sure you don’t use your credit cards again once you’ve paid them off; doing so can only make it harder to get out of debt