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.
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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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