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Getting Back on Financial Track Post-Christmas
The big-spending overindulgence of the festive period can often leave people well and truly in the red. The financial ‘hangover’ associated with spending too much money on Christmas presents, family gatherings, and all the little bits in between may even linger beyond the first few weeks of the new year. Savings are down, credit card debt is up, and stress is through the roof. Sound familiar? As 2020 kicks off, let’s take a look at how you can get your finances back on track if things are looking a little bit tight post-Christmas.
Setting a Household Budget
There’s no better way to get a handle on all of your incomings and outgoings than creating a household budget. Assuming your income is predictable, formulating a thorough and manageable budget shouldn’t be too daunting. Take into account all of your incoming funds, and then your spending. Of your discretionary spending, what can be easily reduced or eliminated? Do you really need to dine out with the family twice a week? Is name-brand paper towel an absolute must? Could you ride your bike to work instead of driving in? Be critical of your spending habits and eliminate what you can – you might be surprised just how much money you’re spending unnecessarily. Budgeting calculators such as these can be a great way to visualise your financial position and plan for the future. Importantly, leave some wiggle room in your budget for unexpected expenses, and of course factor in savings.
Paying Down Debt
There are many methods of paying down debt, so we’ve picked three to have a brief look at. Keep in mind that none of these are a one-size-fits-all solution, so be sure to seek professional advice before taking any major steps. Debt consolidation: one major stressor related to being in debt is the multiple lenders that may be chasing payment. Mortgages, car loans, credit cards, among others might all make up your total debt position. Consolidating your debt into one repayment facility can not only satisfy your creditors, but also make budget planning (see above) significantly simpler. Snowballing: If you find you owe money to several different lenders, the “Snowballing” method can be useful for keeping your motivation levels high and bring about little wins. Basically, you pay off debts in order of size, smallest to largest. From here, you can build momentum and take individual debts off your plate one at a time. High-interest loans first: Some people find it beneficial to assess their loans, and knock off the higher-interest ones first. This is a good way to reduce your overall repayments, and as you move through all of your debts, they should become progressively easier to manage.
Spread Out Your Christmas 2020 Spending
Much like setting a budget, getting organised is the perfect way to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. For Christmas 2020, it doesn’t matter that it’s several months away – why not start taking steps to getting things organised now? For example, if you know you want to buy your friend a coffee machine for Christmas this year, and you spot one in an awesome special in August, why not grab it then? Not only will you beat the mad Christmas shopping centre rush in the weeks leading up to the big day, you’ll potentially get what you’re buying for less. Spreading your costs throughout the year can take away that immediate pinch in December and January, and ideally help you avoid any nasty surprises when your credit card bill arrives in January 2021.
If you’re serious about taking charge of your family’s finances this year, don’t wait – get in touch with the Wealth team at McKinley Plowman today on 9301 2200 or visit www.mckinleyplowman.com.au/contact-us/.
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