Six tips to get your finances back on track
LIVING is expensive. I've done it tough in the past, it's hard. Keeping on top of your bills is so important. Not doing so can result in legal action and a black spot on your credit rating.
Here are my tips on how to keep on top of bills, and what to do when you can't pay them.
1. Know your bills
Everyone has received an unexpected bill at some time or other. Write a list of all your yearly bills, and the month they are due. Try to avoid too many bills being due in November or December, when you need that extra cash for Christmas.
2. Set up an emergency fund
It is always good to have an "emergency” fund for those unexpected costs. Start a direct debit straight into a savings account, even if it is as little as $10 a week.
3. Direct debit is your friend
All banks and credit unions have the option to set up a recurring payment. You can set up the amount, how often you want it transferred, and on what day it suits you. This is particularly great for bills like electricity, rates, rent, mortgage repayments or school fees.
4. Monitor unnecessary spending
No more fancy coffee, no more chocolate frogs for the kids. If you are struggling to pay your bills, these little things add up and cost you money. Limit gifts to a certain amount. Kids don't need 30 gifts for their birthday or Christmas.
5. Do not spend more than you earn
This is a trap that is so easy to fall into, especially if you regularly add things to the credit card. Not only do you have to live, you also need to start paying back that money, which means you end up in a "circle of doom”. Look at your expenses and cut some out.
6. Be on time with payments
Not being on time with bills means you will incur late fees, another cost you don't need. If you really can't pay, get on the phone and stay in touch with your creditor. Keep your bills where you can see them, and put the one due first at the front. Highlight the amount due and the date.