If you are struggling with increasing levels of debt, you are not alone. It’s a national phenomenon.
Figures from the Reserve Bank this week show that household debt is skyrocketing and is now at 190 percent of disposable incomes. Put another way, that means we owe almost twice as much as we earn.
It’s a scary scenario, and little wonder that the RBA’s Philip Lowe has warned that household debt is rising too fast.
And it’s getting worse. Over the last year the value of housing related debt increased 6.5 percent, compared with an aggregate increase of only 3 percent in household income.
It conjures images of a Doomsday scenario where if interest rates move higher, many of us will be tipped over the edge and just won’t be able to cope financially.
The good news, though, is that there is something you can do about this, right now.
In fact, there’s quite a lot you can do to reduce household outgoings, and bump up the income.
Here’s 10 quick ideas.
1. Consolidate debt.
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Do the sums and you know it makes sense. That credit card balance at 20 percent, you can cut it down by getting a balance transfer or putting it on the mortgage, at a much cheaper rate. If you have a mortgage, re-finance.
2. Turn that household clutter into cash.
The kids’ old clothes don’t fit them, but they’ve hardly been worn and will fit someone else’s kids beautifully. Have a garage sale, get busy on eBay or take it all to the local market.
3. Stop eating that takeaway quite so often.
It’s an easy thing to dial out after a tough day at work, but it doesn’t stack up financially to do it too often. Rationalise your dining habits. It will save you money.
4. Cut down on using so much power.
It’s great to luxuriate in the shower but at what cost. Get obsessive about turning lights and power points of. It’ll save you.
5. Get another source of income.
Get yourself onto an interview panel and be paid for your opinions. Get some driving practice with Uber. Is there an election coming up near you? The Electoral Commission always need people. Either that, or start doing some overtime if you can.
6. Meet new friends, and get them to pay you.
Got a spare room, or a room which can be turned into a bedroom? If not, get the kids to bunk together some time or send them off to their friends. Short term rentals can create a whole new income stream.
7. Ditch the car.
If you live in the inner-city, ask yourself if you really need a vehicle. Car and ride sharing is the new wave, and you can save by getting yourself on it. If you are a two car family, have a think about selling one.
8. Cancel the gym membership.
How often do you actually make it there, and how much are you enjoying it? It’s a chore, isn’t it? If you really want to get fit, you can do it all by yourself or by kicking a ball around with friends. And while you do that, you can enjoy saving that $25 per week or whatever it is.
9. Cut back on coffee, and of course smashed avocado.
Tally up your coffee habit. If you have two a day while at work, you are spending about $40 per week. Even halving that will save you. And of course if you pass on the avocado you’ll have a house deposit in no time!
10. Get a savings system happening.
There are some great apps for this, but nothing beats putting coins in a jar. And now that coins are worth $1 or $2 that can add up very quickly.