New Year, new you…right? Well, sometimes it’s hard to start the year fresh when you have to deal with your post-holiday debt hangover. If you’ve overindulged a little over the Christmas period, take control of your finances now so that your overspending doesn’t snowball into a debt crisis later.
The Loans and mortgages team have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you pay off your Christmas debt:
Every debt clearing article out there will always tell you to create a budget and stick to it. It’s one of the fundamental steps you should take when cleaning up your finances. So sit down and figure out how much money you have coming in and going out and how much is left over each month to put towards paying off your debts. Find budgets a bit boring and hard to maintain? Maybe try one of the budgeting smartphone apps available like, Wally or Good budget to make your budgeting easier and more accessible.
#2 CHANGE YOUR HABITS
Just because you’ve got a budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend any money. You can still enjoy your daily coffee or going out for dinner and drinks with friends, but it’s a good idea to try and change some of your habits. Instead of going out for dinner twice a week, go once and set aside the money you would have spent on the second outing to pay off your debt. If you’ve racked up a huge credit card bill, try going cash-only for a month. Little changes to your habits can build up into a large amount of savings.
#3 PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM
With most credit card minimum repayments at around the 2% mark, it could end up taking you years to pay off your card. For example, if you had a $4000 balance with an interest rate of 17% p.a. it would take you over 26 years to pay off the balance! Where possible, pay more than the minimum. If you’re making extra repayments on a personal loan, double check with your lender to make sure there are no penalties for paying extra or repaying your loan early.
#4 TRANSFER YOUR BALANCE
If you’ve stuck all your Christmas spending on a credit card with a high interest rate, consider switching to one with a balance transfer offer. At this time of the year, there are many 0% p.a. balance transfer offers in the market. Make sure you pay off the balance before the end of the promotional period otherwise the interest rate will increase to a much higher rate!
#5 CONSOLIDATE YOUR DEBTS
Now, if your holiday spending was spread over a few credit cards, keeping track of all your repayments and how much you still owe can get a little tricky. You might like to consider consolidating them all into one personal loan. Head over to our comparison service to view more debt consolidation personal loans.