Whilst many Aussies are still reeling from the emotional, mental and physical losses they may have suffered from the ongoing pandemic, bills still need to be paid. So whilst incomes might have been reduced or even lost in many cases, Aussies still need to find the money to pay their bills.
These expenses can be expected to be higher this year either because of annual rate increases (energy bills are a good example) or because people have been working from home. Spending more on your credit cards, as a stop gap, due to your reduced income, is also another problem that eventually comes home to roost. Not forgetting all the recent Christmas expenses that might have had an impact on your savings or increased your credit card bills higher than expected.
So how can you afford to pay all these mounting bills in the New Year?
Start out with a household budget
A budget will show you exactly how much money you normally spend on food and other essentials, as well as where you can make savings and how much you have left for your bills. With these figures readily available it’s time to contact your creditors and find a workable solution to paying your debts.
Contacting your creditors
Most creditors want to help and are willing to reduce payments or stop them all together for a period of time (until you get back on your feet). The first step is to let them know what you can afford to pay each month and even ask them to reduce the total of these bills, due to your financial hardship. You can also ask them to lower their rates but many will want you to pay off your current debts before discussing any future discounts.
Getting a better deal once your debts are fully paid
Once you are up to date with your bills, it’s a good time to negotiate a better deal. So remind them that you have been a long standing customer (if it’s true) and that you want to remain with their company. However, you need them to either match or improve on the competition’s rates for you to remain a loyal customer. One tip here is to ask for a larger discount than you think they will give you, because you might be able to get a really awesome deal!
If they state that they can’t give you a discount on their rates, then ask to speak to someone who can make that decision and if they still say no, then ask to speak to a manager. If all else fails, you can always move to a provider who does offer better rates.
What if these negotiations don’t help?
Even if your creditors are willing to reduce your debts or repayments, some people still can’t keep their head above water. If this sounds like your situation and you can’t see a way forward, you can contact the National Debt Helpline for free on 1800 007 007. Alternatively, if you need financial advice to help you achieve your future financial goals, call me (Amanda McCall) on 07 3356 6929 or book an appointment online.