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Interest rate hikes? … Hit them with your best shot!

With interest rate rises the talk of the town, it’s time to consider your best defence.

And what exactly is your greatest weapon against rising costs? The household budget of course! Knowing how much you earn and how much you spend is critical to staying on top financially. So, dust that spreadsheet off, and take a long, hard look at your spending. The four main areas where we tend to haemorrhage cash are home, food, transport and the credit card. Here we’ve made some suggestions for quick easy changes. Remember, little things can add up to make big difference.

Home.

If interest rates rises have hit you, have you reviewed your mortgage? Do you have the best mortgage for your circumstances?  Is it a good time to consider refinancing? It’s always worthwhile taking time for a mortgage check-up.

But if you’re really feeling the pinch then perhaps it is time to consider whether or not you could rent out a room for a while to a student or a traveller, or potentially take advantage of Airbnb. Both can be great ways to boost your income if your expenses have increased, but beware …. there are strata regulations to adhere to concerning Airbnb as well as tax implications, and you probably want to check on your insurances to make sure you’re covered for flatmates and/or guests. Do your research first.

Food.

The average Australian household wastes more than $1,000 in food every year. By any measure that’s significant. So, in order to make sure you’re not one of them, planning is key.

Shop only for what you need. Shop a couple of times a week if need be and don’t impulse buy, but do consider ‘specials’ and ‘in season’ prices. If you can shop on a budget and minimise waste you might be surprised at what you can save on groceries.

The other biggie, of course, is eating out. If you’re serious about saving, cut out the takeaways, the bought lunches and the meals out. These really add up. A great trick when you’re saving money is to catch up with friends for coffee. Skip the brunch and the lunch and the cocktails, and just meet at your favourite café for a cuppa. These are easy savings that won’t impact your social life.

Transport.

Do you have car finance? Would it be cheaper to get a personal loan? Some car finance contracts are not easy to get out of but it can worth doing the research. Obvious other saving ideas are shopping around for insurance and cutting down on petrol costs by carpooling, walking or riding your bike. Maybe also weigh up the costs of public transport, especially if you’re paying parking fees while you’re at work all day. It might not be as convenient to catch the bus or the train, but it could save you a lot of cash.

 

Cut up your credit card.

A credit card is a great thing to have for a rainy day, but but BUT… most of us don’t just use our credit cards on a rainy day. We use them in nightclubs, when we’re shoe shopping, when we want to go to the movies, when we see something we like online and on sunny days too, to buy lunch, cold drinks and ice-creams or several magazines to read at the beach…. we know you know what we mean.  If you’re feeling the pinch financially, the first thing you should do is get your credit card debt under control. When you do, it is one less, highly expensive, repayment that you won’t need to make.

Interest rate rises can be stressful, but remember that there are always steps you can take to make sure you can continue meeting repayments as well as get on with the rest of your life. Talk to us, we can help.

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