How will your finances fare this Christmas?

Liz Maroney, Westlawn Wealth Adviser, speaks to the Daily Examiner
18 December 2013

Last week, Westlawn Wealth Adviser, Liz Maroney, was interviewed by Daily Examiner reporter Georja Ryan on how to make it through the holiday season with your finances in fine shape.

Liz told the Daily Examiner that overspending at Christmas was one of the biggest mistakes many families make each year.

“When people overspend at Christmas, it usually creates credit card debt and then long term repayment periods to clear that debt which ultimately increases the amount you pay on your credit card,” Liz explained.

“It’s important to set short, medium and long-term financial goals so you aren’t left with a frightening surprise following the festive season.

“People might start to think once they get that January credit card statement ‘I don’t want that to happen again next year’ and so they need to plan ahead. That’s a good time to seek professional advice to set up a regular savings plan”, Liz said.

Liz also pointed out that another major blunder people often make with their finances is setting unrealistic savings goals.

“People might put away $300 each pay, for example, and find that every quarter when the bills arrive they start accessing their savings to pay those bills and other living expenses. This creates bad habits and they will find that the target amount they had planned to save may not ever happen, or instead of taking three to five years, it may take 10 years.”

“With the new year just around the corner, that is the perfect time to get your finances in order and set some firm savings goals in place,” Liz advised Daily Examiner readers.

A good start would be to make a New Year’s resolution to sit down and plan a realistic budget with achievable savings goals. And then, stick to both.

Shop smart this festive season (courtesy Money Smart)

Some tips for keeping your credit card in check this Christmas:

    • Make a list and check it twice: Before you even hit the shops, write down everyone you need to buy presents for and how much you can spend on each. If you have ideas of what to get them, write them on your list, then you will be in and out of that shop before your eyes have a chance to wander and you start spending money on things you don’t need.
    • Make a gift pact: Make a ‘no unnecessary gifts’ pact with friends and family and agree you won’t buy gifts this year. Why not just plan a dinner or day out instead?
    • Secret Santa: decide among family and friends to do Secret Santa. That way, everyone gets a gift and everyone saves money. Set a budget too (e.g.  presents to the value of $30).
    • Refrain from using your credit card altogether: The average Australian was set to spend $993 on Christmas last year which can be a scary bill on your credit card if you don’t pay it back within the interest free period. Try to buy gifts with your own money or use lay-by.

Source: The Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Copyright © 2013

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