Debt Help


Avoid getting into debt

In this guide we’ll look at the ways you can avoid debt, from getting control of your budget, to saving up emergency funds, as well as the types of debt you would do well to avoid, and what to do if your financial situation worsens.


What is problem debt?

When you take out a loan, overdraft or credit card to buy something, this is debt. Debt is when you owe someone money and have to pay them back.

While it’s true that taking on some level of debt is almost inevitable in modern life, it’s possible to carry a certain level of debt – like a mortgage on your home – and still manage to keep your finances healthy.

Problem debt only arises when you’re carrying so much debt that you lose control of your repayments, or an unexpected expense throws your financial situation into disarray.

If you know how to avoid getting into debt, it makes it easier for you to avoid serious financial issues.

Write off up to 80% of your unaffordable debt – Check if you qualify!

What are common types of debt to avoid?

As previously mentioned, it’s possible to balance certain debts with your usual spending habits and still maintain a healthy financial situation, but there are certain types of debt it’s best to avoid altogether.

Here, we’ve divided into unsecured debts (not secured against an asset) and secured debt (debt secured against an asset like your home or car).

Unsecured debt

Credit card debt
One of the most common debts around, a credit card is a way of making purchases by borrowing credit and paying it back at the end of the month.

Credit card companies often try to lure people in with cash advances, and problems can arise when people begin to view their credit card as access to ‘free money’.

It’s important to remember that every penny you spend on your credit card will need to be repaid sooner or later – for people make the minimum payment, it can take decades to fully repay credit card debt.

Payday loan debt
Payday loans are short-term loans that were originally designed to help people who didn’t have enough money to get to their next paycheck.

The problem is the loans come with insanely high interest rates, and are often targeted at the financially vulnerable.

Payday lenders will charge interest of up to 300% on what you borrow, meaning you’re looking at a sizable fee on top of the original debt.

Many find this impossible to repay, and enter into a cycle of late fees, charges, and sky-high interest that can be extremely difficult to break out of.

Secured debt

Mortgage debt

While taking out a mortgage on your home is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, falling into mortgage debt can cause a person some serious financial problems.

The mortgage lender is ultimately in control of your property, so if you continually fall behind on your mortgage payments you will put your home at risk, to the point where the lender may decide the only way forward is to repossess the property. That’s why it’s crucial to avoid mortgage arrears.

Auto loan debt

Auto loans are similar to mortgages, the main difference being that rather than being secured against your house, an auto loan is secured against your car.

Because you won’t own the vehicle until you make your final payment, falling behind on your car repayments puts you in a precarious position.

The lender has a number of routes they can take to force you to repay your auto loan debt, up to and including taking your car away.

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How do I avoid getting into debt?

Avoiding debt is all about financial education; understanding the steps you need to take to maintain healthy finances. We’ve outlined some of the most important steps below.

Work out your disposable income

By definition, taking on debt means living outside your means, because you’re borrowing money you don’t have.

Therefore it follows that the best way to stay out of debt is to work out your personal budget, and stick to it.

To calculate your disposable income, add together your monthly income (including your salary, stocks, shares, and any other income) and take away your monthly expenses (including rent or mortgage, food, and other living costs).

What’s left will form the bulk of your monthly budget – as long as you don’t spend more than this amount, you will be able to steer clear of debt.

Top up your income

Watching what you spend is only one side of staying out of debt. The other is increasing how much money you have coming in.

Generating extra money is a great way of staying out of debt. There are various ways to boost your income, from taking on extra shifts, to moving to a more lucrative job.

That may sound difficult, and it is, but if you do manage to boost your income, you’ll also boost your chances of staying in the black.

Create an emergency fund

Unexpected expenses happen. Whether your car breaks down, or you’re hit with a fine you didn’t see coming, sometimes our finances take a hit that we didn’t see coming. The real trouble arises when you aren’t prepared.

There’s only one way to get ready for the unexpected – start saving towards an emergency savings fund.

If you have money set aside for a rainy day, unexpected costs will hurt. If you don’t have an emergency fund, they could be a disaster.

Keep a close eye on your credit card balance

Credit can help with major purchases, which is why credit card spending is so common in Canada and across the world.

Using your credit card to make purchases and making sure to pay down the balance can even help your credit rating.

That said, you should do your best to avoid credit card debt if you want to maintain a healthy bank balance.

Make sure you only spend what you can afford to repay, avoid impulse purchases, and sure you don’t lose track of what you’ve spent on your card each month.

Here’s an example of how we can help

Let’s say you owe…

CRA Debt


Canadian Tire Card


TD Bank Overdraft


Utilities Arrears


CashMoney Loan


Student Debt


Total amount owed:


Repayments reduced by 88%

* monthly payments are based on individual financial circumstances


What if I’m already having debt problems?

Pay your priority debts

Priority debts are high-value debts that should be paid off first, before other types of debt. This includes credit card debt, payday loans and utility bills (e.g gas or electricity).

If you don’t pay your priority debts, this is known as being in ‘default’. If you are in default it can have serious consequences, including affecting your credit rating.

Keep in touch with your creditors

It is always important to keep in touch with creditors in one way or another, but it becomes particularly important if you find yourself struggling with debt management.

People are often surprised to discover how helpful certain creditors can be when you let them know you’re having problems, but they can only help if they know you’re struggling.

If you fail to get in touch with your creditors they might assume you’re refusing to pay and might begin pursuing you for payment. This can damage your credit rating and cause problems down the line.

Seek professional financial advice

If you are struggling to pay back your debts, it can be a good idea to speak with someone about the next steps. Debt advisors offer free and impartial advice on all types of debt problems.

Where can I get debt advice and help with my finances?

The easiest way to stay out of debt is to avoid taking out credit altogether. Unfortunately for most people that’s just not possible.

If you’re in debt and you’re worried about your ability to repay what you owe, we can help. We specialize in supporting people in Ontario who are struggling with debt.

Our team of debt specialists can offer you the support and guidance you need to get back on top of your finances.

For free debt advice and more information on the options available to you, talk to one of our friendly advisors today on 416-842-0040.

Write off up to 80% of your unaffordable debt

We’ve helped thousands of people, just like you, write off unsecured debt they can’t afford and enjoy a life free of pressure from the people they owe money to. 

If you’re looking for help, or you’re worried about your ability to repay the debt you owe, A. Fisher & Associates is here to support you.

For free advice and guidance tailored to your financial situation, you can talk to one of our debt experts today. Give us a call for free on 416-842-0040

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ll ask you about your income and outgoings, as well as who you owe money to, so that we can get the full picture, and give you the best possible advice to find a solution that’ll save you money, and make life much easier!

It’s okay, we can still help. If you’re not sure of all the people you owe money to, or you haven’t got an exact amount for each payment, we can discuss this, or suggest steps you can take to get us the information while you’re on the call.

You won’t pay anything for the advice our debt specialists give you on the call. If you do qualify for a debt solution, the fees will be taken from the monthly amount you pay to your creditors. Everything’s covered, and we don’t take any money upfront. The last thing we want is you getting further into debt.
Our advisors will take it step by step, so we can understand your concerns, and which of the available solutions would be the right fit for your situation. We’ll only proceed if you’re completely comfortable to go ahead.
That’s completely understandable, but be reassured, we’ll do everything we can to put you at ease. We don’t use complicated jargon, and we treat every customer as an individual, taking their unique circumstances into consideration before sharing our impartial advice. There’s nothing we haven’t dealt with; we speak with hundreds of customers every single day. We’re here to have an open and honest chat and try to build a picture to see what help and support we can give you.

More Debt Help & Advice

How we can help you with your debt

You’re on your way to resolving your debt problems, this is what will happen next.

Fill out the form and arrange a call back with one of our debt advisors.

We will then run through all of the options available to you and advise you on which is the best option for you

We will then help you put the debt solution in place that will help you get back on track

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