As the Christmas and New Year period approach we are focused on spending time with family, perhaps getting away for a well-earned break and preparing to put a difficult 2020 behind us. This time of year is a great time to relax and enjoy being with our loved ones, but it is also a time where a lot of us find ourselves in a difficult financial predicament due to over-indulgence with spending. That’s why the festive season is a great time to review your finances and help yourself into a better position going in to 2021.
I have listed below some areas where taking the time to review your finances could have a major impact on saving you money.
CREDIT CARD DEBT
The most common problem we have once Christmas is over is looking at our credit card statement and wondering how it managed to get so out of control. Should you find yourself in this situation there are a number of potential solutions to help get your credit card debt back under control.
- Consolidate your credit card debt into a Personal Loan or Home Loan. By consolidating your debts you will have a set term to repay the amount owing at an interest rate which is generally much lower than what your credit card costs. However this may also mean you are paying the debt back over a long term, so you need to be disciplined to ensure you repay the debt quickly. You don’t want to still be paying off the kids 2020 Christmas presents 5 years from now. Set yourself a maximum two year term to repay the debt in full.
- Reduce your available credit limits. Once your credit card repayment arrangements are in place reduce your available limits to ensure you cannot get yourself into this position again. By having a small limit you will be able to manage the repayments more comfortably and clear the debt without further assistance.
- Look for balance transfer deals. A number of lenders will offer either low or even zero interest rates on balance transfers of credit card debt. These offers usually come with a time limit to repay the amount owing in full. On the surface this is a great way to manage paying your accumulated debt, however there are potential traps that you should avoid. If you are able to access a balance transfer deal you should cut up the card, so you are unable to use it and add to the level of debt. You can then set up a budget to repay the amount owing within the agreed term.
Many people are unaware that these types of buy now/pay later options come with a credit limit, and also now appear on your credit records. Banks treat them exactly like a credit card when assessing finance applications, so minimising their use will ensure your credit score is not negatively affected.
If you do get into a predicament with these types of accounts then the tips to helping with credit card debt will also apply here.
Now is also a great time to review your Home Loan to make sure your lender is providing you with the most suitable loan to suit your needs. During the year we are generally so busy with life in general that reviewing what is usually our largest expense is put in the too hard basket. By taking some time now to see whether your current Home Loan is the best option you could save yourself thousands of dollars in interest and several years in time taken to repay your loan.
To avoid getting yourself into a financial predicament in the future set a realistic budget to keep a track of your spending and, most importantly, stick to it. Why most budgets fail is that we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. By setting realistic goals we are more likely to achieve them. Being consistent and putting smaller amounts into savings on a regular basis is more effective than making larger deposits at random. Your spending habits will also be aligned to your savings goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a period where you are unable to reach your savings goals due to unexpected expenses. Things happen.
At SHL Finance we would love the opportunity to discuss your finance requirements with you. Please call Reece Droscher on 0478 021 757 to find out how we could help you save money or improve your financial situation.
On behalf of the team here at SHL Finance I wish you a happy and safe Festive Season and look forward to connecting with you again in the New Year.