The Christmas season is done and dusted, but chances are your bank balance is probably a little worse for wear.
But if you’ve found yourself spending more than you usually would there is no need to panic – these few tips and tricks can get your finances back into shape in no time.
1. Cut up your credit card
Last year, a Finder forecast of Reserve Bank of Australia data found that Australian’s spent around $28 billion on credit cards over the 2019 festive season.
If you’re one of these Aussies and you can’t pay it off once the New Year rolls around, you’re probably in a sticky situation.
This means you need a plan to both repay the debt and also stop it accumulating.
Step one? Cut up your credit card to make sure you aren’t tempted to spend on it any more and focus on paying it off instead.
2. Find cheaper alternatives
Why get lunch out if you can have a packed lunch, or make your own coffee rather than getting take-out. It’ll save you a lump sum in no time.
And why stop there?
The New Year is a great time to review all your expenses, from your weekly grocery shop to your energy bills.
Find a cheaper alternative by looking for a competitive rate and either asking your provider to match or switch altogether. Meanwhile for shopping, it pays to cut back to the necessities and slash your food bill in the meantime.
3. Cut back on luxuries
In a similar vein to finding cheaper alternatives, you’ll need to cut back on life’s luxuries if you want to claw back the overspend you did over the silly season.
Cut down on the number of takeaways or nights out and you’ll soon see the savings add up.
4. Set yourself a strict budget, and stick to it
Take a close look at your finances and monitor what your income must be spent on and what any leftover cash should be used for.
You could have another account for your monthly expenses which you move money into to cover your spending. Once the limit is reached, you can’t spend any more.
It helps prevent you from overspending, stops wastage and forces you to financially plan out your month.
5. Review your rates
Make sure you’re making regular credit card payments to help minimise any fees.
It could even be a great opportunity to consider shopping around for another credit card with a lower rate and/or an interest-free introductory period so you can repay the debt quicker.
Aside from saving money on your day-to-day spending and credit card repayments, you could also look at whether you can shave dollars off other regular payments such as your home loan.
Consider switching to fortnightly payments (it’ll speed up repayments) or even shop around to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
6. Set a realistic goal
Whether it’s clearing your debt before Christmas next year, or even putting enough money aside so you don’t put yourself in the same financial situation next year, January is the perfect time to set financial goals.
The trick? Be realistic.
Realistic and achievable goals mean you’re far likely to remain on track to reach it. Set a goal in mind which is near impossible and you’ll give up in no time.
Then when it happens, make sure you reward yourself for your efforts.