More and more Australians are reliant upon credit to supplement their income. Reliance upon credit can lead to stress and a debt problem which is difficult to deal with.
We all can use suggestions and tips about how to manage and hopefully reduce our reliance on credit. Consider the following suggestions:
- Have Realistic Expectations – As a society, we are generally guilty of wanting material possessions immediately, and often before we can afford them. Keeping up with the “Joneses” can put us into debt and can add a significant amount of interest to a purchase which we cannot afford. Think before you buy.
- Minimise compulsive shopping – Advertising is inviting and can lead us to buying an item we do not really want or need. As a consumer, be disciplined, create a list of necessary items before you go shopping and always cross check these items against your budget.Think before you spend. We have provided you with a simple budgeting calculator that can help you with this.
- It is so tempting to accept a credit card limit increase. Before you do so think about whether you need it or importantly whether you can afford it. The lending institutions often fail to adequately review your capacity to maintain these new accounts. The banks are large enough to carry risk, for you it is much harder.
- Consider internet access to credit facilities that allows you to monitor your spending habits and account balances more frequently. By reviewing the account balance more often, you are less likely to make any frivolous or unplanned purchases.
- Once you have reduced your credit card balance to a manageable amount, contact the credit institution and ask for your limit to be reduced. Perhaps you should even consider cutting up your card.
- Do not forget to pay at least the minimum amount each month. Credit institutions impose severe penalties for missed payments and this may also result in an increased default interest rate.
- Impose an accelerated payment plan on your credit card with the highest interest rate, fees and charges. This will eventually reduce your monthly interest component to assist you to become debt free faster.
- Explore other lending options with interest rates, fees and charges lower than those on your existing credit card facilities. This may include a personal loan or a mortgage consolidation if you are a home purchaser and have sufficient equity available in your property.
- If you are having difficulty maintaining your credit card payments, advise the institution immediately. You may qualify for seeking a variation of the agreement on hardship grounds. You may be successful in receiving a moratorium or they may elect to reduce their interest to assist you overcome a difficult period.
If you have any questions on credit card debt or on avenues you can pursue to lower it, please contact us on 1300 219 232. Our staff are available to assist you immediately.