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With national travel restrictions lifting, families reuniting and holiday parties in full swing once again, the 2021-2022 holiday season has brought extra-special celebrations. These much-needed festivities have been a balm for the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel, gifts, food and wine all holiday staples for many Australians.
While enjoying the season and making lasting memories, it’s important to remember that the costs of such celebrations can add up… and they’ll be waiting for you when the holiday is over. If you’re finding yourself deep in post-holiday debt, we’ve got some tips and tricks to cure that financial hangover.
It can be easy to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas and go overboard with gifts, enjoy an extra weekend away or go for one too many decadent meals. All of these costs add up and it’s common to underestimate just how much you’ve spent.
The first step to overcoming your post-holiday debt is to really take stock of your finances and see how your bank account is faring. The answer will help you determine your next steps.
Once you’ve calculated your total debt you can decide how and when you would like to pay it off. If you just went a little overboard, you may be able to make a simple plan to curb your spending for the next few weeks and find that will work for you. If your debt is more considerable, you may need to look at a more in-depth payment plan to get your finances back on track.
Did you book that Airbnb with your credit card? Pay for gifts with Afterpay? Rent-to-buy that new appliance?
The problem with almost all of these financial payment schemes is that they’re all high-interest finance – some of the most expensive finance there is… and let’s not forget about the hidden fees and charges.
Accumulating interest and additional fees can turn innocuous spending into debilitating debt, so it’s important to consider your options and decide on the best long-term solution.
If you have a good record with your credit card provider, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or arrange a preferable repayment plan. Alternatively, you can look at consolidating your debt with a single, low-interest personal loan.
Successful debt management has a lot to do with knowing your weaknesses and making financial management easier for yourself.
If you get paid at regular intervals, setting up automatic repayments as soon as you get your paycheque can be the best way to make sure you stick to your repayment plan. Not only does it make one less thing for you to remember, but it helps you avoid missed payments and additional late fees.
But perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at what choices led you to post-holiday debt. Did you allow for additional holiday spending in your budget? Did you stick to your budget? Were there unforeseen costs?
It is possible to enjoy the festive season without a financial hangover, you just need to adopt some useful money habits. At Step Up Financial, we’re always looking at the bigger, long-term picture. We can help you set a realistic budget (without missing out on the good things in life), put mechanisms in place so you don’t fall back into the debt trap and coach you every step of the way.
If you’re ready to start fresh in 2022 and upgrade your money mindset, why not get in touch with the team at Step Up Financial?
As fully qualified, experienced financial planners, we can provide you with expert financial services, including advice on:
And we encourage your pathway based on your own individual circumstances and values.