- Prioritise: Housing (rent, mortgage and rates/strata fees), Utilities (Be smart about usage and your personal tariff option) and Food (You can probably get the same or more for less – google it!).
- Look for the biggest and easiest cuts: These are often found in our telecommunication contracts (mobile, home phone, internet). Got to https://www.whistleout.com.au/ to compare your options. Consider month-to-month contracts so you can try out different mixes. Ask yourself if you really need to be paying home phone line rental and a mobile fee. How much internet do you use at home and outside? How long is left on your current contract? Can you negotiate to pay out your hardware only?
- Know: How much money you can free up every fortnight. If you’re budgeting for your next rego bill/insurance premium – are you actually putting that money aside safely? Or is it getting spent? If the latter, consider adding it to your debt-fighting funds.
- Make a plan of attack for your debts. Some people prefer to attack the high-interest debts first, others to clear smaller ones for a quick victory. What about a 0% interest balance transfer card (watch for the high interest sting at the end) or a debt consolidation loan (easier to manage but may pay more in interest over the long term). If your situation is more complex, you may have other options.
- Know your rights: If you’re in financial hardship, you have the right to ask your creditor for a temporary variation on your loan/credit. You may request a period of time of stopped repayments so you can put more money towards clearing another debt, or a period of time of reduced repayments. Always specify what you want to happen after that hardship period, especially if interest is not stopped as well. Do you want to pay the arrears upfront? Through slightly higher payments for a little while? Or capitalise into your loan?
If you need help working out your budget or want to talk through your options in more detail, you can call Midlas on 9250 2123 to see a free Financial Counsellor. If you don’t live in the Perth Metro area, you can call 1800 007 007 to access the National Debt Helpline.
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