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Excessive Gambler: Clear Your Debts!

If you have realized you have a gambling problem and have accumulated debt, now is the time to act. Above all, do not fall into the trap of borrowing money to go gambling to pay off your debt. Financial haemorrhaging will then begin and the hope of winning big to pay off creditors is completely unrealistic. (link article on Erroneous Beliefs)

Fortunately, there are solutions to taking control of your financial situation.

How do I put a stop to debt?

Whether your debt is minimal or substantial, you must put an end to the vicious cycle of borrowing. Never forget that the situation is not hopeless, you can resolve it. If you are worried and panicking right now, ask for help before gambling. If you are not ready to talk to someone about it, we suggest you consider the following measures.

Tackling your gambling debts, it starts here:

  • Stop gambling (above all, never go back to try and recoup losses)
  • Take responsibility of your debt by contacting a budget counselor or a bankruptcy trustee. Your local Association coopérative d’économie familiale (ACEF) is an organization specialized in personal finances and consumer protection.
  • Make arrangements with your creditors and commit to paying off part of your debt. It is the first step towards regaining your self-esteem.
  • If necessary, find a part time job. On top of contributing to clearing your debt, working will fill up your free time and help you move forward.
  • Talk to someone reliable who will listen and support you. It could be a family member, a loved one, a friend, a colleague or your life partner. Otherwise, our helpline is there 24/7.
  • Ask someone trustworthy to hold on to your credit and bank cards for as long as needed.
  • Destroy your credit cards, if need be.
  • Protect your assets by transferring deeds and titles in your partner’s name.
  • Limit the amount of accessible cash. Here is how :
    • Ask for direct deposit of your paycheque.
    • Close accounts with cheques and bank cards.
    • Use an account that requires two signatures for withdrawal.
    • Set a daily limit for withdrawal.

One step at a time

No concrete action is in vain, no matter the seriousness of the situation. And even if you still have not stopped gambling, have become indebted or spent more than you wanted, being able to manage your finances will improve your life and allow you to take back control. Initiate change right now by taking action. One step at a time.

Making a budget

To restore your finances, it is important to make a detailed budget of your expenses, debts and income. To make managing all this easier, you can use budget software or mobile applications.

 

How much do you spend?

  1. Make a list of your income and expenses. You can use banking services via telephone or the internet to track your balance on a weekly, even daily, basis or you can obtain a statement of your latest transactions.
  2. Plan exactly how much you need to spend on bills, food, transportation and other essentials in order to calculate the remaining amount. Plan to put that money aside or money you have not gambled in a while.
  3. Do not forget annual expenses and important one-off spending like clothes, furniture, house maintenance, etc.

How high is your debt?

The amount may be scary but in order to pay off your gambling debt you have no choice but to face it. Calculate the exact amount of what you owe on your loans, cards and overdrafts, as well as, overdue bills. This is part of the first step in paying off your debts.
Rent, mortgage, loans, taxes and other mandatory financial contributions are the priority. Make arrangements with the different agencies. Even if each debt is important to pay off, at this point, you must prioritize.

 

To help strengthen your determination

You may find it difficult to have money in the bank and the urge to gamble may haunt you. It might be useful to prepare yourself for this, as it is part of the addiction.
Do not forget that you can talk with us 24/7 or you can confide in someone trustworthy to help you through this time.
Think of something that will make you happy for when you achieve important steps such as, having resisted gambling for a while or having paid off part of your debt. You can have a nice dinner at the restaurant or go to a spa. To keep your good resolutions, encourage yourself with little rewards such as those.

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