Australians are collectively in credit card debt upwards of $49 billion, with the Christmas season tipped to add an additional $969 worth of expenses per person.
In conversation with nestegg, Bessie Hassan, head of PR and money expert at Finder, discussed some practical ways for Aussies to get out of debt sooner.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing finances, what works for one person might be completely inappropriate for another. So, it really depends on your other debts, how much you can afford, and how quickly you can repay that debt,” Ms Hassan said.
While advocating credit cards can be a useful financial tool, Ms Hassan noted the key is paying them off the credit card every month in full.
“Before going ahead and making that purchase, work out whether it will be sustainable when it comes to paying off in full every month,” Ms Hassan continued.
Practical ways to get ahead this Christmas
The domino effect – Ms Hassan said, “Try to knock out the big scary debt first and then chip away at the others when possible.”
Offset debt – Investors looking to get out of debt sooner can take advantage of the holiday period by setting up a side hustle.
“Over the Christmas period it’s a great time to consider those types of options, even if you’re not keen on driving an Uber, if you’re going away over the period you can rent out your house on air bnb for example”, she continued.
Kris Kringle – For those looking for creative ways to fund Christmas could consider Kris Kringle as a way to lower the expense of Christmas.
“A lot of us do that at work, but we are seeing more families do them,” Ms Hassan said.
Handmade gifts – This is not limited to creative people, with the money expert suggesting consumers can “make a meal or contribute Christmas cookies”.
Balance transfer – For Australians who overspend during the Christmas holidays Ms Hassan suggest getting a balance transfer as a way to lower the cost of debt incurred over the period.
“That’s where you can roll multiple debts onto one card and pay less interest. There are BT cards that are zero percent so you’re paying no interest for the promotional period which can be up to 26 months.”
Use the Christmas time to review your finances – One of the easiest ways to reduce debt is by reviewing finances and ensuring you’re getting the best offer on-market, the money expert advocates.
“For every little work or research check what other offers are out there. People might be staying with providers for longer than they should.
“For something like a home loan you could be savings in the 10s of thousands [over the life of the loan] if you’re proactively looking for the lowest rate out there,” Ms Hassan concluded.