Every year in the lead up to Christmas there is lots of chatter about the amount Australians spend on credit at this time of year. There are gifts to buy, fancy food, drinks, and the list goes on. In January, there is always more media play about credit card debt blowouts and interest payments. On a serious note, in July of this year, ASIC (The Australian Securities and Investment Commission) reported outstanding credit card debt of $45 billion by Australian consumers.
Lots of people love Christmas, spending time with friends and family, overindulging with food and drinks and spoiling the little (and big) people in their lives. For so many people though, it adds up to less in savings and more credit card grief.
Do you plan on enjoying yourself a little bit too much over Christmas and New Year? Did you budget and are you spending within your limits or do you need to get ready to deal with your post-Christmas spending hangover? If you are, you’re certainly not alone!
We’ve put together 8 steps to help you plan to knock off any credit card debt in the quickest possible time.
STEP 1: Understand your debt
- Order your debts from highest interest to lowest interest
- List each debt with the corresponding minimum payment, the payment you make, the interest you pay and how long it will take you to repay the debt at that rate
STEP 2: Look at options to streamline your debt position
- Is there any one debt that has a much higher interest rate than other debts?
- Can you consolidate multiple debts into one with one payment and at a lower rate?
- Do you have a small credit card debt that you can quickly pay off and close giving you less to focus on?
Here’s an article we wrote on Debt Management strategies if you’d like some more information.
STEP 3: Set a goal
- When do you want to have your debt repaid by?
- Chunk it down to specific amounts and dates
STEP 4: Make a plan for your money
- What money is going to which debt?
- We suggest putting all the money you can free up to the debt with the highest interest rate, as this will result in you paying less interest. You will need to continue paying the minimum on your other debts
- Work out how long it will take you to repay all your debt if you stick to your plan
STEP 5: Understand where your money goes
- Go into MoneyBrilliantand check your spending reports for the last 90 days
- Find the areas you can spend less and contribute more money to repaying your debt
STEP 6: Commit to spending less
- If you don’t already have a budget, now is the perfect time
- Forward plan the next 8 weeks or more
- Allocate any additional money you can commit to the debt with the highest interest rate
STEP 7: Document your plan and take action
- Apply for any products that you have identified in Step 2
- Go back to Step 4 and work out how long it will take you to repay your debt with the additional money you have committed to freeing up
- Write out your timeline including payments and when your debt will be repaid
- Set up automatic payments to make sure your money goes where you want it to
- Set up alerts in MoneyBrilliantto keep you on track
If you are a MoneyBrilliant customer with your credit cards connected you will receive suggestions for credit cards with lower rates and/or less fees if there are any available.
Diarise the time to check in
- Check in as often as you can, at least once per pay cycle
- Check your balances and payment on payday
- Watch your debt account balances reduce
This article has been prepared by MoneyBrilliant Pty Ltd (AFSL 492711). The information in this summary is of a factual nature only. We are not suggesting or recommending that you take any particular course of action in relation to any financial product or service. It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. If you need financial advice or taxation advice you should seek advice from a licensed financial adviser or tax agent. You may also be able to access additional information from the websites of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Taxation Office.