We have all done it at one point, as much as we try to avoid it, but blowing your budget happens.
Usually we can get things back under control with a small amount of discipline, however if you seriously blow your budget and can't repay your debts, the first thing to do is stay calm.
For those small budget slip-ups some tips to get you back on track:
- Look where you can make quick savings including taking your lunch to work, buying one less coffee a day
- Buy in bulk and save - look for specials offered at the supermarket such as buy 1 get one free or buy multi-packs when on special
- Cut back on magazines, dining out and the movies. Have a night in with a DVD and invite your friends over.
- Take public transport instead of a taxi
- Fill up a water bottle at home or work instead of buying bottled water everytime - $3 per day is $750 a year!
Should you find yourself in a serious financial situation, here are some tips to help:
- Contact the companies you owe money to (creditors). It is important to promptly tell them you are having financial difficulties and want to discuss payment options. This is particularly important if you've used your home, car or other assets as security for a loan or are having trouble budgeting for utility companies i.e. electricity or water
- Offer to pay something to each creditor, but only what you can reasonably afford. Ask if they have options to reduce interest payable on the debt until you can get back on your feet.
- For outstanding credit card debt, try to make the minimum payment each month, otherwise you may have to pay additional fees. Also try to stop adding more debt on to the cards
- If you are unable to gain control of your financial situation, a financial counsellor may be able to help.
Call the National Financial Counselling Hotline on 1800 007 007. This free hotline operates Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, and is supported by the Australian Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association www.afccra.org