About 40% of Australians are unlikely to have a household budget as financial advisors urge people to take ownership of their finances before it leads to problems.
About 40% of Australians are unlikely to have a household budget as financial advisors urge people to take ownership of their finances before it leads to problems. Bev Lacey

Keep a lid on your household budget

ABOUT 40% of Australians are unlikely to have a household budget as financial advisors urge people to take ownership of their finances before it leads to problems.

The figure came from an Australian Securities and Investments Commission report published in December last year.

Bundaberg-based Heritage Christian Centre assistant pastor Robert Bowie said through national debt management charity Christians Against Poverty, he had seen the impact of household budgetary blowouts.

"I think as far as the debt centre goes, the people we are seeing through that service are at a crisis point," Mr Bowie said.

"Instead of working on a budget which would help them, they have put their head in the sand and allowed things to deteriorate," he said.

Mr Bowie said he ran a three-week budgeting course called CAP Money where people were shown basic budgeting skills and how to implement them.

"It's one thing to have a budget but you really need a system to incorporate it into your routine," he said.

"The other thing we really encourage people to do is use cash for their week-to-week expenses.

"When you use a credit or debit card and run it through a machine, it's almost like nothing has changed."

Mr Bowie said there was also an emotional and psychological impact on people with debt issues.

"More than one in three people that had accessed help through CAP Money or CAP Debt Help had relationship breakdowns due to their financial state," he said.

"We really see the service we are providing as life changing."

Australian Financial Security Authority statistics showed in 2014, 57 people in Bundaberg had declared bankruptcy in the first nine months of that year, with 12 of them business related.

QSuper chief executive Rosemary Vilgan said without a budget it was difficult to know if you were spending more than what you were earning.

"Having a strict budget in place is key to successfully managing your finances and ensuring a rewarding retirement later in life," Ms Vilgan said.

"The golden rule is to ensure you don't spend more than you earn, as this can create unnecessary debt."

Budgeting was often put in the too hard basket, but Ms Vilgan said setting a budget need not be a daunting experience thanks to the many online tools available.

"Online calculators are free and easy to use," she said.

"They can illustrate where you stand financially and provide a tangible plan on how to keep your finances under control."

For more information phone the Heritage Christian Centre on 1300 227 000.

Or you can visit www. moneysmart.gov.au for free help and tips on creating a budget.



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