According to the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA), Australians are expected to spend almost $30 billion this Christmas.
With so many Australians already struggling with other ongoing living expenses, this time of year can put excessive strain on their budget. So, in order to get through the holiday season with your finances in one piece, you will need to start preparing now.
Watch your spending
Retailers want to be able to get as many Christmas sales as possible, which is why you may see a sudden increase in sales. But if you know that your budget will be tight over the next month, you will need to create a plan now to ensure you have enough. By being a smart spender, you can still protect your budget without missing out on too many Christmas traditions.
Have a chat with the people you are spending Christmas with about how you can all share the expenses. You could organise a secret Santa, instead of having to buy presents for everyone. Planning ahead is key, so if you start gradually buying food and presents instead of waiting until the last minute, you can avoid making impulse buys.
Many Australians do resort to paying on credit during this time of year so they don’t have to worry about paying off the debt until later. However, you should try to avoid this as much as possible as you will end up spending a lot more on interest. There are still three weeks until Christmas, so there is still time to budget for your expenses. Take a look at the range of online calculators available on the State Custodians website.
Your mortgage is number one.
Unlike Christmas, your mortgage is a long term investment that will help put you in a better financial position and it is important not to forget that.
Are you already making extra repayments on your home loan? If you are struggling to come up with extra money to cover the holiday purchases, you could cut back to the minimum repayment amount for December and even January and use this money to help cover the extra costs.
Don’t forget that if you do miss a home loan repayment, you will be charged extra fees and if you do not fix it in a timely manner, it could end up appearing as a default on your credit file.
Keep your finance team up to date.
Your financial team is there to help you, so if you feel like you may have trouble organising your finances over the holidays, make sure you contact them. A financial planner can help create a budget to suit your own situation and can make the hard decisions for you.
Also, you will also need to contact you lender and let them know of any issues. Your lender will also be expecting you to have a plan to fix or avoid the problem, so make sure you have thought of a response. This will show your lender that you are taking the necessary steps to avoid a default and they may even be able to come up with another option to help you.
The Christmas and New Year period is a great time to spend with family and friends; however, it is not worth jeopardising your mortgage for it. You don’t want to start the New Year in a bad financial position.
Anouska Linz is Manager, Online Sales at State Custodians and has over 10 years’ experience in financial services, both in broking and banking. Holding a bachelors degree in accounting, Anouska quickly discovered a love for mortgage lending and assisting people to achieve their home ownership goals. She leads a team of highly experienced lending specialists who are passionate about finding lending solutions which result in real wins for the customer. She is also a massive netball fan.
For more information on our home loans, visit www.statecustodians.com.au or call 13 72 62.