17 January 2020

Taking control of debt in 2020

It’s not just a new year. It’s a new decade. So what better time to start fresh when it comes to taking control of debt. Here’s how you can show your debts who’s boss in 2020. And beyond.

Tis the silly season for a reason

The festive season isn’t just a time for family and friends. It’s also the time when Australians give their credit cards an annual workout.

RBA data shows Australians borrowed almost $30 billion on credit cards in December 2018, creating a lingering debt hangover of $237 million in interest, which purchasers will still be paying off into the new year and even into 2020.

Source: https://www.finder.com.au/australian-christmas-card-debt-2018 

Just think, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying up big on gifts people often don’t want and cashing in on end-of-season sales for things we don’t really need. In fact, ING research has revealed 10 million unwanted Christmas gift are received every year.

No wonder it’s called the silly season, eh?


Show debt who’s boss in 2020

Maybe it was those lobster tails for Christmas lunch, the holiday rental by the sea or that perfect gift for your partner (that you can use too). Or perhaps your debts have been adding up over time, with a small personal loan here and a few big credit card purchases there.

Whatever might have caused your debts to mount, it might be time to start taking control.

In fact, with the start of a new year and decade, it’s a perfect time to start fresh and show your debts who’s boss. So set yourself a goal and show debt who’s boss in 2020.


9 tips to showing debt who’s boss

  1. Create a budget. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before right? But a budget is the simplest, smartest way to get a handle on your money. Our budget planner makes it easy.
  2. Pay with cash. Cash is great way to stay in control of debt because you can only spend what you actually have. Could it get any easier?
  3. Be careful with credit. Credit cards are convenient and let you pay for things online. Just be sure to only spend what you can afford to pay off fully each month to avoid interest.
  4. Get smart with debit. If you want more control, a debit card lets you make purchases like a credit card but you’re using your own funds rather than borrowing money.
  5. Have a hit list. So you know what you’re working with when taking control of debt, list all your debts, what their interest rate and fees are, and how much you owe for each one.
  6. Pay off the highest first. It usually pays to make extra repayments towards debts with the highest interest rates first so you can pay them off faster than lower rate debts.
  7. Rolling your debts into one lower cost loan – like an ING Personal Loan – can help you save on interest and fees so you pay off your debt sooner.
  8. Pay more. The best way to get ahead of your debt is to repay more than the minimum amount when you can. Just make sure you won’t be charged early repayment fees first.
  9. Ask an expert. A financial adviser can help you set goals and give independent advice on managing your money and debt. Find licensed advisers in your area at fpa.com.au


Getting a better read on debt

Once upon a time, finance was a closed book. But today you’ll find plenty of books about managing money in the personal finance section of any bookstore.

You’ll also find an increasing range of books about money written specifically for kids, young adults, growing families and women.

Whatever you choose, just check the publication date to make sure it’s up to date and that it’s been written with Australia’s financial system in mind so you’re getting relevant information.

You can also grab a copy of ING’s guide to taking control of debt.

Whether it’s for you or someone you know, in just a few minutes it’ll explain what debt is, how and when to use it, when it’s probably best to avoid it and how to get help.


You don’t have to do debt alone

While financial hardship can feel quite isolating, you’re not alone. There are resources and services available to help you get back in control.

MoneySmart is a well-regarded government website run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with heaps of handy information about a wide range of money matters. Check out MoneySmart at moneysmart.gov.au

More specifically, the National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service dedicated to helping people tackling debt. As well as free guides it offers a referral service that can connect you with one of 850 free financial counsellors Australia-wide. To contact them, call 1800 007 007 or visit ndh.org.au

Finally, if you’re an ING customer and finding it hard to make repayments or you’ve been affected by a natural disaster like a bushfire or flood, our ING Financial Hardship Team may be able to help. For your options, click here or call 1300 349 166.

RBA data source: Source: https://www.finder.com.au/australian-christmas-card-debt-2018

Christmas gift survey was commissioned by ING and conducted by YouGov in October 2019. The sample comprises 1,079 Australians aged 18+ years distributed throughout Australia.

The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

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