Many of us are surfacing into 2017 with a financial hangover, but it’s nothing a good New Years resolution can’t fix, so here’s how to overcome it to potentially save yourself thousands of dollars.
The biggest savings are likely to be found by those who can ditch or reduce bad or unhealthy habits such smoking and regular boozey nights out, according to financial comparison website mozo.com.au.
“Aussies who ditch their vices in 2017 could save enough money to buy a car if they stick to their guns throughout the year, with bad habits like takeaway meals, boozey nights, and even paying ATM fees adding up to a huge $19,262,” says Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont.
“Smoking is by far the most expensive bad habit and it’s set to get even more expensive in 2017 with a big excise increase taking the annual cost for a pack a day smoker to nearly $10,000.”
“Big nights out can add up to $4,000 over the year if you’re having five beers or wines a couple of times a week, and stopping off for a kebab on the way home.”
We also recommend the following tips when trying to get on top of your finances this year.
- Pay more than the minimum balance. If you’re able, try to pay a little more down on that credit card debt or the home mortgage in 2017. When assessing how much is safe to add to those extra repayments, look at your cash flow and try not to leave yourself short because that may only make it more difficult and cause financial stress.
- Think about what you can trim. Think about what expenses you might be able to do without. A good way to cut down on expenses it to look at any monthly subscriptions, such as Apple Music, which might cost you $12 a month, yet there are a number of other options that are actually free.
- Set a deadline. By giving yourself a time frame to pay down debt you are giving yourself a goal to work towards and that’s a good thing because goal-setting often works if you stick to it! Just make sure that this deadline is realistic.
- Focus on highest cost of debt first. Many of us have several debts, be that on credit cards or loans. So the plan of attack should be to have a strategy to pay of the debt that has the highest interest rate or is the most expensive first.
According to mozo.com.au, a person could save around $750 in interest a year by transferring outstanding debt to another card with at least a 12-month interest free period, and then paying off a set amount each month.
There are also dozens of credit cards that have zero interest periods. These can be great, as long as you make the most of those periods and don’t get stung when the interest rate changes.
Mozo says outside of the big ticket vices, those seeking out alternatives during the working week to unhealthy snacks and takeaway meals could save around $2,600 over the year, with further savings for those willing to give up lattes and bottled water.