(NC)—Holiday parties are over, gifts are unwrapped and the Christmas tree is at the curb. Now it’s time to tackle a daunting pile of bills.

Follow these three steps to avoid a debt spiral in 2012.

1. Get financial advice

A financial advisor can help you pull together a plan to budget and pay off your debt in a short period of time.

“Ensure that you bring all of your financial information, including outstanding debt, when meeting an advisor to help them understand your entire situation,” said Stephen Reichenfeld, private wealth counsellor of Fiduciary Trust Company of Canada.

More information on how to find an investment advisor is available at www.franklintempleton.ca.

2. Stick to your payment plan

Cut back on frivolous expenses so you can pay down your debt sooner. While a new spring wardrobe or a beach vacation may seem tempting, keep your sights set on your goal.

Remember, if you struggle to make payments and take too long to pay off debt, interest charges will continue to accumulate. You may find yourself in an even deeper debt hole by the end of the year.

3. Avoid the cycle by planning ahead

Once you have paid off your debt, create a plan for the next holiday season. Make a list of possible expenses and gifts, and then figure out a budget you can stick to. Next time, save money in advance rather than charging more than you can afford to your credit card.



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