Can You Use a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?

As spending picks back up in Australia, more and more Aussies will be accruing a credit card debt. This has led to many asking the question – can you use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt? We’ve put together this handy guide outlining the pros and cons, as well as explore other options.

Credit card debt in Australia

Credit card debt in Australia fell during 2020, hitting its lowest level in more than 15 years. There were a few factors contributing to this – reduced spending during the pandemic, and Aussies switching to other lending services such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL).

According to figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), throughout the pandemic in 2020 $6.3 billion in credit card debt was removed. This is a reduction of 23.5%.

Whilst these figures were reassuring, it appears that Aussies have been making up for lost time towards the end of the year, and so far into 2021. Across the Christmas period, Australians generated $24 billion in credit card debt.

Forecasts for this year expect consumer spending to increase in 2021 and again in 2022. According to Trading Economics, consumer spending in Australia is expected to be $271.25 billion in 2021 and $279.39 billion in 2022.

Loosely translated, increased consumer spending this year and in 2022 could see credit card debt back on the rise. That’s why it’s good to know your options.

Paying off credit card debt

A credit card is a line of credit that you can use to make purchases – both online and in person. You can also make balance transfers and cash advances. Unlike debit cards, you’re not limited to the money in your bank account. Similar to personal loans, credit cards provide you with extra finance set at a predetermined amount, which resets each month.

The extra finance provided by credit cards isn’t free money. You have to pay back what you spend. At the very least, you will need to make the minimum repayment every month by the due date of the balance if you want to avoid late fees.

With a credit card, you have a few options.

Pay off your credit card debt in full

Each month you will receive a credit card statement. This outlines all of your transactions and the amount you owe. The most cost-effective way to pay off your credit card is to pay it off in full each month. This means you pay back the full amount that you spent during the month.

Paying off your credit card debt in full is the most cost-effective way because this way you don’t carry over any debt into the next month, which will generally incur extra interest. However, it’s not always possible to pay off your credit card bill in full each month. If you have an unexpectedly expensive month, you might not have enough to settle the debt. That’s why there are other options.

Repay the minimum monthly repayment

Most credit cards have a minimum monthly repayment option if you can’t repay your full credit card bill. The minimum monthly repayment is the lowest amount you can pay in order to meet your credit agreement and avoid late fees. The minimum monthly repayment is usually about 2 or 3% of the total amount you owe for the month. 

So what does this mean? Well, you don’t actually have to pay off your whole credit card bill each month. You only have to pay the minimum repayment if that’s all you can afford. But there’s a catch. You will still accrue interest on the remaining amount owing, which could cost you more in the long run.

Want to know how quickly credit card debt can get out of hand? Tippla recently covered why only making the minimum repayment can cost you in the long run.

Consequences of not paying off your credit card debt

If you don’t repay your credit card debt, or make the minimum repayment at the very least, there can be quite a few consequences. Whilst each credit card issuer has a different approach to late payments and defaults, we’ve put together a general overview of some of the consequences.

Personal loans in Australia

A personal loan is a type of instalment loan where you borrow a fixed amount of money. With a personal loan, you generally repay it on a monthly or fortnightly basis with interest. When you’ve paid back the loan your account is closed.

A lot of Australians rely on personal loans. Data from the RBA showed that the total amount of outstanding personal loans in Australia was more than $145.5 billion as of September 2020.

Can you use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt?

If you’re struggling to repay your credit card debt, you might be thinking about taking out a personal loan. But is this a good idea? We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of doing this.

If you’re not sure what’s the best option, you can seek the advice of a financial advisor, who can help you make the best decision for you.

Fees and interest
  • If you default on your credit card you could be charged late fees. Whether this occurs will depend on the conditions of your credit card;
  • You’ll likely be charged additional interest on all transactions during the statement period. You could also be charged interest on your late payment fees.
Impact on your credit score
  • Defaulting on your credit bill can harm your credit score. The extent of the damage will depend on how late your payment is and when you settle the bill;
  • In addition to hurting your credit score, defaulting on your credit card bill will stay on your credit report for 2 years. This means if you apply for a loan or credit with a financial institution in the 2 years after the default, they will be able to see this on your credit report. They could then reject your application.
Default notice
  • In Australia, if you have an overdue payment that exceeds $150 for 60 days or more, then it will be classified as being “in default”. Once you’re in default, your credit card issuer will provide an official notification, and this can last on your credit report for 5 years.
Impact on your reward points
  • If you have rewards attached to your credit card, such as frequent flyer points, then these could be suspended or even terminated if you default on your bill.
Debt collectors
  • If your credit card debt is passed onto a debt collector, then it could make the situation much harder to deal with.

Pros of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

1. You might be able to get a better interest rate with a personal loan

If you’re considering using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt, it could be a good idea to look at the interest rates. If you carry a credit card balance then you could be getting charged high-interest rates. 

The RBA reports that the average variable interest rate for a personal loan is 14.41% and 12.42% for a fixed personal loan. With this in mind, you might want to weigh the interest you’d have to pay for a personal loan vs the interest you’ll incur if you don’t pay off your credit card bill. If a personal loan turns out to be the most cost-effective way, then it could be worth considering.

2. You could save your credit score

As we mentioned above, defaulting on your credit card bill can hurt your credit score. Not only that, but it could remain on your credit report for 2-5 years, depending on how long it takes you to repay the debt.

Whilst taking on a personal loan will result in a hard enquiry on your credit report, the damage would be less than having a default on your credit report, which can stay on your report for 5 years.

Equifax explains it like this: “Hard inquiries serve as a timeline of when you have applied for new credit and may stay on your credit report for two years, although they typically only affect your credit scores for one year.”

Again, it’s important to weigh your options. Will a personal loan stop you from being issued an official default notice? If so, then it could be worth your while to take out a personal loan.

3. You could pay off your debt quicker

When you only make the minimum repayment of your credit card bill, your debt can quickly accumulate. Before you know it, you could have a large credit card debt that could take years to pay off.

This is where a personal loan could help. It could allow you to pay off your credit card debt instantly. Then, you’d need to set up a payment plan to repay your loan. But then you wouldn’t have to worry about your outstanding debt growing each month with interest. 

Cons of using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt

1. It could lead to more debt

Although a personal loan could help you remove your credit card debt, it could also put you in even more debt. You’re merely transferring the debt from your credit card to the personal loan. 

If you continue to use your credit card after you have removed the debt with the personal loan, then you could end up having both a credit card debt and a personal loan debt. If you choose to go down this route, you’ll need to be careful and keep an eye on your spending.

There are a range of other options you could try first before using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt, which we’ll cover later in this article.

2. You’re not guaranteed to get a lower interest rate

Whilst personal loans might on average have lower interest rates, it’s not a guarantee. If you have a below-average credit score, then you might only be offered high-interest personal loans. If this is the case, then there might not be any benefit to using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt. In fact, you could end up paying more in interest and fees on the personal loan than your credit card. This is something to keep an eye out for.

3. Like credit cards, personal loans have fees

Like credit cards, most personal loans have fees, including late payment fees. Some common personal loan fees include:

  • Establishment fees;
  • Ongoing monthly fees;
  • Late payment fees;
  • Early repayment fees.

It’s important to read the terms and conditions of your personal loan carefully before taking on a loan. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons, or speak with a financial advisor if you’re uncertain.

Other ways to pay off credit card debt

Can you use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt? The short answer is yes. But there are also a few things you could try first before resorting to that option.

Pay as much as you can each month

If you have a credit card and you’re not able to pay off your whole monthly bill, instead of just paying the minimum monthly repayment, you could try and pay off as much of the bill as you can. That way, you’ll have less debt carrying over into the next month, and less being charged interest. This is one way you could try and minimise your credit card debt.

MoneySmart also outlines: “If you’re finding it hard to pay the minimum amount, contact your bank or credit provider straight away or talk to a free financial counsellor. Taking action early stops a small money problem from getting bigger.”

Reduce your debt

If you find yourself in a difficult situation. You could try and reduce your debt. If you want to do this, the first thing you need to know is how much you owe. Once you know that, then you can try and move forward.

MoneySmart recommends taking the following steps:

  1. Work out what you can afford to pay;
  2. Prioritise your debts;
  3. Build a savings buffer;
  4. Get help if you need it.

When it comes to reducing your debt, there are two main methods – the snowball system and the avalanche system.

Snowball system 

The snowball system is where you look at your list of debts and organise them from the biggest to smallest amount. Once you’ve done that, you make the minimum payments towards all other debts and increase the amount for your smallest. Your goal is to pay off this one as quickly as comfortably possible. Once it is paid off, move the remaining amount from your debt budget towards the second smallest debt. 

Avalanche system 

The avalanche system has the same initial approach. You need to look at the list of debts but organise them from highest to lowest interest instead. If you mean to save money, this method could do the trick. Choose the debt with the highest interest rate. The longer you keep high-interest debt, the more it will cost you. Make the minimum repayments towards all other debts and increase the amount for your highest interest debt. While this may take a little longer, it will be very rewarding in the long run. Once this debt is paid off, your freed budget could be much bigger and can be put towards the second highest interest-debt.

Credit card balance transfer

Another method you could try is a credit card balance transfer. This is when you transfer your debt, AKA the balance, to another credit card. This could help you get on top of your debt, as you might be able to get a new interest rate of either 0% at a special low rate for a limited amount of time. This usually ranges from six months to 2 years.

A credit card balance transfer could allow you to pay off your debt faster and save you money, especially if you get a low or no interest rate deal. However, if you can’t pay off your debt quickly, then it could end up costing you more. 

Is it smart to use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt?

To answer the question “can you use a personal loan to pay off credit card” – whilst you can use a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt, that doesn’t mean you should. There are a number of things you could do before you resort to using a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt.

To summarise, you could:

  1. Reduce your debt;
  2. Pay off as much of your credit card debt as you can each month;
  3. Opt for a credit card balance transfer.

If you’re ever unsure of what’s the best decision for you, you can talk to a free financial counsellor. They’ll be able to explain your options and help you make the best decision for your financial situation.

How to Reduce the Interest on Your Home Loan

When you take out a loan, you’re not only paying back the amount you’ve borrowed but the interest on top of the loan. This extra interest can add up over the long-term. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to reduce the interest on your home loan.

Mortgages in Australia

2020 was a good year for the housing market in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the total value of new loan commitments for housing and the value of owner-occupier home loan commitments reached record highs in December 2020.

In the final month of last year, the total value of new loan commitments for housing rose by 8.6% from the previous month to reach $26 billion. This is an increase of 31.2% year-on-year.

For new owner-occupied home loans, these increased by 8.7 per cent in December to reach $19.9 billion. This is up by 38.9% year-on-year. 

For first home buyers, the number of owner-occupied loan commitments rose by 9.3% to reach 15,205 for December 2020. This is stronger than December of 2019’s figure by 56.6%. According to the ABS, this is the highest level since June of 2009. 

Home loans australia 2020

In Australia, there are two main types of mortgages – fixed interest rate mortgages and variable interest rate mortgages. 

Fixed interest rate mortgages

A fixed interest rate mortgage, as the name implies, is when the interest rate of the mortgage stays the same for a set time. After this period is up, the rate will then change to a variable interest rate. Or you can speak with your provider about negotiating another fixed rate.

Some of the benefits of a fixed interest rate mortgage include consistency. It’s much easier to budget when you know exactly what your repayments will be. The downside of fixed interest rate mortgages is that if home loan rates drop, then you won’t benefit. On the flip side, if the rates increase, then you won’t have to pay extra.

Variable interest rate mortgages

If you take on a variable interest rate mortgage then your interest rate may either increase or decrease as the market changes. This could happen when the official cash rates change, for example. Whilst this type of mortgage could offer you greater flexibility, it can be harder to budget for. 

The average mortgage in Australia

Mortgage prices vary a lot in Australia. Many factors can influence the price of a mortgage. Are you buying a house, apartment, or unit? Are you buying in the city or in a rural area? Is the house new or old? These factors can influence the price of a property and the mortgage as a result. 

But what is the average mortgage in Australia? According to Mozo, as of December 2020, the average mortgage (excluding refinancing) in Australia was $477,584. 

As for the average interest rate, MoneySmart outlines that as of November 2020, the average mortgage interest rate was 2.54%. Therefore, if you have a mortgage of $477,584 for 30 years, then you’re looking at paying an extra $363,919 in interest.

How to reduce the interest on your home loan

There are a couple of ways you could reduce the interest on your home loan. Some of these can be done before you get a mortgage, and some can be done after. Let’s start with the things you can do before to reduce the interest on your home loan.

Shop around for the lowest interest rate on the market

When you’re buying a house, it’s important to do your research. Some people might go straight to their bank to ask for a home loan, but that isn’t necessarily your best option.

MoneySmart recommends that you should compare loans from at least two different lenders, but you could easily compare more to try and get the best deal. Whilst there are many comparison websites you could use to help you with this, it’s important to keep in mind that these businesses make money through promoted links and might not cover all of the options out there.

When comparing loans you should be aware of the interest rate vs. the comparison rate:

Interest Rate Comparison Rate
The interest rate shows how much interest you will be charged each year for the duration of your mortgage. The comparison rate is the combination of the interest rate and most of the fees and charges that you will incur if you take on this loan. The comparison rate is a more accurate representation of how much extra you’ll be paying on top of the loan.


Other things you should look out for and compare include:

  • Monthly repayment
  • Application fee
  • Ongoing fees
  • Loan term
  • Loan features

Try to get the shortest loan term

When you take out a mortgage, you will be charged interest each year. The loan term refers to the period of time you will be repaying the home loan. Therefore, the shorter your loan term, the less interest you’ll need to pay. If you shop around and get a 20-year mortgage, as opposed to 25 or 30 years, you could save yourself big time in interest.

However, whilst you may save on interest big time, generally speaking, a shorter repayment period means that your monthly repayments are higher. If you’re thinking of opting for a shorter loan term, it’s a good idea to make sure you can comfortably afford the repayments. If you’re not sure what’s the best option for you, you can reach out to a financial adviser or to a mortgage broker, who can help you through the process.

Keep an eye out for mortgage features

When you take out a mortgage, your lender might offer you a range of different features, such as an offset account, line of credit facilities, and more. When looking at any offer with additional features, you might want to check whether you will use and benefit from them. This is because extra features often mean higher interest rates. So there’s no point getting a loan with extra features you won’t benefit from and it will just cost you more in the end.

Repay your mortgage fortnightly, not monthly

Generally, mortgage repayments occur monthly. However, one thing you could do to reduce the interest on your home loan is to make your mortgage repayments on a fortnightly basis instead and cut the amount in half. 

Let’s say your mortgage repayment is $1,000 a month. Instead of paying that amount each month, you could pay $500 each fortnight. This way, you’ll end up paying more in the long run, as there are 26 fortnights each year (you’ll pay $13,000 instead of $12,000). 

By putting more towards your mortgage, you might be able to repay it quicker than the loan period. This could save you from having to pay months, or even years, of interest. Before you do this, it’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions of your home loan to ensure that you can pay off your mortgage quicker, and change the repayment schedule, without incurring additional fees.

Round up your monthly repayments

Another way you could try and reduce the interest on your loan is to round up your monthly repayments. If your monthly repayment is an odd number, say $1,115, you could round this up and pay $1,200 each month instead. Similar to changing your repayment schedule to fortnightly, this method could also see you repaying your mortgage earlier, and saving you years of interest.

Again, it’s important to make sure the terms and conditions of your mortgage won’t penalise you for doing this. If you’re uncertain, you can speak to a financial adviser who can help guide you through your options. 

Get a health check on your mortgage

Just like you get a check-up on your health, you can do the same thing with a mortgage. Home loans often come with features which you pay premiums for, such as an offset account. Numerous mortgage and financial companies advise that you review your mortgage regularly with an experienced mortgage broker. With their help, you might be able to save money by negotiating a better deal with your existing lender or get a new deal with a different provider.

Extra tip: Save a larger deposit to avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance

In Australia, when you want to buy a house, banks and lenders typically require you to have a deposit that’s 20% of the property’s value. Let’s say the property is worth $500,000, then you’d need a deposit of $100,000.

Some lenders and banks will allow you to have less than a 20% deposit if you have sufficient income to support the loan. To offset the lower deposit, you will be charged a one-off premium to your home loan – Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). You can also be charged a Low Deposit Premium (LDP).

LMI protects lenders against the risk of you defaulting on your home loan. The size of your LMI premium is based on the size of your deposit and how much you borrow. The bigger the deposit, the lower your LMI premium will be. According to the Commonwealth Bank, financial institutions will need you to take out LMI when there is an increased risk associated with your loan – ie. a deposit lower than 20%.

If you want to avoid LMI and LDP, then you could save up a bigger deposit. That way, lenders might not see you as a big risk. This could save you thousands of dollars.

How to reduce the interest on a home loan

Because home loans are often a long-term commitment, you can end up paying a lot in interest. So what are some of the key ways you can reduce the interest on your home loan? 

Let’s sum it up for you:

  • Shop around for the lowest interest rate on the market;
  • Try and get the shortest loan term within your budget;
  • See if bonus features are worth the cost;
  • Repay your mortgage fortnightly, instead of monthly;
  • Round up your repayments;
  • Get a health check on your mortgage regularly;
  • Bonus tip – avoid LMI if possible.

If you try and utilise any of these suggestions, you could save big time. Before you make any decision, you should always check to make sure you can afford it, and that it’s within your means. If you are unsure, you can consult a mortgage broker or financial adviser for advice. Either way, it’s good to know your options!

How to Use Credit Cards Effectively: A Guide

how to use credit cards effectively

Millions of Australians have some kind of credit card. But there’s a difference between having a credit card and utilising a credit card. To help with this, Tipple has put together a helpful guide on how to use credit cards effectively.

how to use credit cards effectively

As of November 2020, there were 13,668,490 credit cards in circulation, according to comparison site Finder. These credit cards netted a national debt accruing interest of $20.9 billion. At the same time, the number of debit cards in circulation was more than double, at 34,861,747.

With this in mind, it’s clear that a lot of Aussies are using credit cards to help with their finances. So let’s dive into the ins and outs of credit cards.

What is a credit card?

When you take on a credit card, you are getting a line of credit that you can use to make purchases, balance transfers and cash advantages. Where a debit card limits you to the money you have in your bank account, credit cards are like a loan. This is because they provide you with extra finance which is set at a predetermined amount.

Like a loan, you have to pay back your credit card. At the very least, you will need to make the minimum repayment every month by the due date of the balance.

As highlighted by Investopedia: “Credit cards impose the condition that cardholders pay back the borrowed money, plus any applicable interest, as well as any additional agreed-upon charges, either in full by the billing date or over time.”

Who offers credit cards?

In Australia, there are a lot of options when it comes to credit cards. In fact, there are hundreds of options available. Nowadays, banks don’t offer one type of credit card. They often offer multiple different types of cards all serving different purposes. You can get access to low-interest credit cards, no annual fee credit cards, balance transfer credit cards, and rewards credit cards. 

Rewards cards can vary. A common one is credit cards tied to the frequent flyer points of main airlines such as Virgin and QANTAS.

The benefits of credit cards

With anything in life, there are both pros and cons to having a credit card. Let’s start first with the benefits of credit cards.

Access to extra finance

One of the main reasons people get a credit card is because they want access to a line of credit. A credit card allows you to spend money you might not have in your bank account at that very moment. It gives you the freedom to buy what you want and need without restricting you to your bank account.

This extra line of credit can become especially useful in emergency situations. You can deal with the problem right away and not have to wait until payday. It is very important to highlight that a credit card isn’t free money. You have to pay back everything you spend. So it’s good to be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of overspending and putting yourself into further debt.

Build up your credit score

One benefit of having a credit card is that you could use it to create a good credit history and boost your score. If you make your monthly repayments on time and don’t max out your credit card, then it could boost your credit score.


A lot of credit cards have some kind of rewards programs where you can earn bonuses. This can range from frequent flyer points, bonuses tailored to specific stores, cashback and extras such as travel insurance.


Another benefit credit cards can offer is the added security when shopping online. As we recently highlighted, online financial fraud and credit card fraud in Australia is a real threat. This is when scammers will somehow access your card details and use them to shop online.

If you use your credit card to shop online, if scammers do get access to your credit card details, then it’s not connected to the money in your bank account. However, if fraudsters get your debit card details, then they will be draining your personal money.

If you are a victim of credit card fraud, you will most likely not be liable for the money stolen. Generally, once you alert your bank or financial institution about the fraudulent transaction(s), they will freeze your card and reimburse you the funds.

However, there are some situations where you could be liable for the lost funds. For example, if you display your pin obviously on your credit card for all to see, or you took too long to notify the bank, then you might be liable for the fraudulent charges.

In Australia, most credit cards now come with a chip on them, in addition to the magnetic strip. The encryption of chip cards helps to prevent fraudsters from stealing your card information during point-of-sale transactions.

The downside of credit cards

Whilst there can be numerous benefits to having a credit card, there are also a few things to watch out for. Whilst credit cards give you access to extra cash, you do have to pay that money back. 

Fees and interest

When you take on a credit card, depending on which one you select, you might have to pay credit card fees and interest. This means, when you spend money on your credit card, you might end up having to pay back more than you anticipated. 

When you apply for a credit card, you should read the conditions of the card carefully and make sure you can afford the repayments. It’s also important to be aware of what actions trigger fees and interests on your repayment.

Minimum repayments

Most credit cards have a minimum monthly repayment. This is the lowest amount you have to pay in order to meet your credit agreement. The minimum monthly repayment is usually about 2 or 3% of the total amount you owe for the month. 

This means that you don’t actually have to pay your whole bill when you have a credit card, you only have to pay the minimum repayment by the due date to avoid paying late fees. However, you will still accrue interest on the remaining amount owing, which could cost you more in the long run.

Here’s an example of how the minimum monthly repayment works. Say your credit card charges you 10% interest per year and you spend $1,000 on your credit card in one month. If your minimum repayment is 2%, then you would have to pay at least $20 by the due date to avoid late fees. However, the remaining $980 that you haven’t paid will be charged the interest rate, which will cost you an extra $98. 

This $98 in interest will be added to your outstanding balance for the next amount. Then you’ll have to pay interest on the new amount. Taking into account that you’ll probably spend more in the next month, you can see how your credit card debt can quickly get out of hand!

credit card debt

Maxing out your card

Maxing out your credit card is when you reach your credit card limit. Say your credit card limit is $8,000, then maxing out your credit card would be when you spend all of that $8,000 in one month.

When you max out your credit card, you can’t make any more purchases until you make a repayment. Depending on your card conditions, you might incur fees and charges when you max out your card, which means you’ll have to pay even more back.

When you max out your credit card, it means you have a lot more to repay. Even the minimum repayment amount is higher. 2% of $1,000 ($20) is a lot less than 2% of $8,000 ($160). And 10% interest on $980 ($98) is a lot less than 10% on $7,840 ($784). 

If you prefer to pay off your credit card in full each month, then you might struggle to fully repay your credit card bill if you max out your card. Like with anything, it’s important to only spend within your means so you don’t put yourself into a difficult situation.

Rewards programs

Although credit card rewards programs can be a great way to increase your frequent flyer points simply by spending money, it is important to carefully read and understand the conditions of the cards.

Often, cards with rewards programs come with higher interest rates and additional fees. Sometimes these extras can actually offset the benefits that you get through the rewards program. That’s why it’s a good idea to carefully examine the rewards programs and see if it will work out better for you in the long run.

How to use credit cards effectively

With the pros and cons for credit cards outlined, now it’s time to get into how to use credit cards effectively. When it comes to your credit card, you shouldn’t be over-reliant on it. It is a tool that when wielded properly, could greatly benefit your life. However, credit card debt can be a slippery slope.

So how could you use credit cards effectively? You could start off by finding a credit card that meets your needs, whatever they might be. You should read the terms and conditions carefully. It’s important to always keep in mind that whatever you spend, you need to repay.

Keep an eye on your balance

One way to use your credit card effectively is to avoid maxing out your card. You could do this by keeping an eye on your balance. Investopedia outlines that it’s better to keep your card balance low relative to your credit limit. This is because maxing out your credit card can harm your credit score and indicate to lenders that you’re a risky borrower.

As we mentioned above, there are numerous drawbacks to reaching your limit. These include extra fees and charges, the inability to use your card until you make a repayment and higher risk of defaults.

Make more than the minimum repayments

Although you don’t have to pay more than the minimum repayments by the deadline each month, it could work out a lot better if you do. This is because it could save you from being charged extra interest. 

In fact, the best thing you could do is to pay off your credit card in full each month. That way you won’t be charged interest on the remaining debt, and you won’t carry credit card debt into the next month.

Pay your credit card bill on time

Each month, you will receive your credit card bill, outlining all of the transactions you’ve made during the month. Once you receive your statement, you will have a fixed time to pay off your credit card, or at the very least, make the minimum monthly payment to avoid late fees.

When it comes to your credit card, it’s important to pay your credit card bill on time. If you don’t you’ll most likely have to pay late fees and in some cases, extra interest. Not only that, but it could be good for your credit score. Even if you have a credit card that has 0% interest or 0% balance transfer terms, these will likely become void if you are late making your repayments.

Your repayment history is one of the most important factors when it comes to your credit score. If you don’t pay your bills on time or miss them altogether, it could harm your credit score. Therefore, one way to use your credit card effectively is by paying your bill on time.

Be on the lookout for credit card fees

You can incur credit card fees for a number of different reasons and they can add up over time. That’s why it’s important to know what fees you can be charged with your particular card and what triggers them.

credit card fees

Credit cards and your credit score

Your credit score is based on your credit history. Good credit behaviour can improve your rating, as can bad credit behaviour. If you are to miss a credit card payment, then this will show up as a default on your credit report and negatively affect your credit score.

How to use your credit card effectively

There are a lot more aspects to credit cards than meets the eye. There are many things you could do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your credit card. You could repay your credit card in full each month, avoid over-relying on your card, make sure to pay off your bill each month on time and more.

Frugal Hacks for 2021 | Prepare For The End Of JobSeeker

frugal hacks 2021

Make saving money fun with these frugal hacks for 2021!

frugal hacks 2021

We’re well into 2021 (where did January go?). Now that Christmas and the holiday period is over, it’s time to think about saving money to set up our future self for success. There are so many different ways you can save money. But we’re here to make saving money fun with these 10 frugal hacks for 2021!

Saving during the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic was especially good for Australian households. In the second quarter of 2020, the Australian household savings rate reached an all-time high of 22.10%.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), this is because consumer spending dropped amid lockdown measures coupled with boosted social assistance benefits, such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper.

With JobSeeker set to end on the 31st of March 2020, Aussies won’t be able to rely on the extra cash. That’s why it’s good to get into some healthy and easy habits early, so you can still save money into 2021. 

Back to basics: set up a budget

Before we get into the savings hacks, we’d like to highlight the importance of a budget first. If you’re wanting to save money, it’s a good idea to have some kind of budget in place. There are many budgeting options available for you.

When it comes to what type of budget you should choose, well that decision is up to you. The most suitable budget for you will depend on your life circumstances and your savings goals.

There are many different budget hacks you can try to make your budget stick. You could download a savings or budgeting app that will help you sort out your expenses based on categories. You could try and set limits for certain categories, such as eating out, alcohol, exercise, etc.

10 Frugal Hacks for 2021

Let’s get stuck into the frugal hacks you could try this year, to increase your savings and set your future self up for success.

Make a grocery list before you shop

Do you hate the hassle of going to the grocery store? Trekking up aisle after aisle. Reaching over people to get what you want. Socially distance in the narrow aisles. It can be a real chore. So why not reduce the time you’re there?

There are two ways you can do this. You could make sure you have your grocery list written down and ready to go before you head to the shops. That way when you arrive, you know what you need. You can get in and out quickly. When you have a shopping list you’re also less likely to buy things you don’t need – even if Tam Tams are on sale! Writing a grocery list can save you time and money.

Order your groceries online

Want to take it one step further and avoid the aisles of the grocery store altogether? Why not order your groceries online. Most of the supermarkets allow you to order your groceries online. This way you don’t have to walk up and down the aisles. You can choose your food and items from the comfort of your own home. You could either get them delivered or if you want to save money, pick them up from the supermarket at a designated time.

Meal prep, or cook in bulk

The 5 Ps – prior preparation prevents poor performance can be applied to this next saving hack – meal prep or cook in bulk. You would be surprised how quickly buying lunch at work adds up. 

One easy way to save money is to meal prep. When you have a free moment on the weekend, you could make a big dish – perhaps a curry, stir fry or something that’s easy to make in bulk. Whatever you choose, you can freeze all of the different meals and then take them during the week for lunch. Then you can save money on buying lunches out. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, right?

If you don’t have time to make a few dishes over the weekend or whenever you have your day off, there’s another hack you could try. Have you ever ordered at a restaurant? Take that principle and apply it to your cooking – make more than you can eat in one sitting. That way you’re guaranteed to have leftovers and you can take the leftovers for lunch the next day, or even the day after!

Buying in bulk – it’s not just for toilet paper

Just like cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers is a good way to save money, so is buying in bulk. It often works out to be cheaper to buy non-perishable items in bulk. If you buy products that you use regularly, such as toothbrushes, toilet paper and detergent, they are often much cheaper when you buy them in jumbo sizes.

When you buy in bulk, instead of only buying products when you need them, time is on your side. This means you can wait until an item is on sale to buy enough to last you for a few months, instead of being forced to buy something at full price because you’ve run out.

Reduce your takeout coffee, embrace water

Just as buying your lunch out every day can hurt your wallet, so can buying a coffee every day! According to Statista, in 2019 the average price for a latte in Australia was around 3.96 Australian dollars per cup. If you buy one coffee a day, then that adds up to $19.8 a week. Assuming there are 4 weeks in a month, that’s $79.2 your spending on coffees each month. 

Bringing a coffee from home, buying coffee sachets in bulk or having instant coffee (it’s not that bad) could save you a lot in the long run. Alternatively, you could embrace water! It is good for you, it’s refreshing and the best part of it all – it’s free! What more could you ask for?

Do you remember the library? You should go there!

Do you remember that room filled with books, DVDs and computers? You probably would have had one at your school, you might have even visited one out in the wild. It’s called a library, and many towns and cities have public libraries.

Why is this good? You can rent books, DVDs, audiobooks and more from your local library and it won’t cost you anything. Most libraries will allow you to extend your rental if you don’t finish what you’re reading or watching. Some libraries don’t even have fees for returning your items late. Instead of buying a book at full price at a bookstore, or renting a movie from iTunes, so can rent it free from the library. Another perk, when you move house, you won’t have to cart kilos of books with you.

Alternatively, if you are one of those people that love to keep books when you’re finished reading them, why not try and go to a secondhand bookstore? Secondhand bookstores are becoming increasingly popular and well-stocked. Because of this, many secondhand bookstores have all the books commercial bookstores have, but often for half the price.

Go old school and get yourself a piggy bank

You might not have had a piggy bank since you were a kid, but it’s time to bring them back. A piggy bank is perfect for any loose change you might have lying around. Although annoying, those 5 cents coins can add up after a while. So instead of putting them into your local cafe’s tip jar, why not tip yourself? After a few months, you might start making real progress. You could put that spare change into your savings account, or put it towards your bills, groceries – it’s up to you!

Use fashion to help save money

Another frugal hack you could use to increase your savings is by utilising the power of fashion. How can you do this, you might ask? One savings hack is to buy clothes in neutral colours, so you don’t have to buy as many. Neutral colours go with everything, and they often aren’t the stand out of an outfit, so you can wear them multiple times without people realising it’s the same outfit.

Another thrifty hack could be to visit second-hand clothes stores before heading to the shopping centres for a new outfit. Perhaps you might find just what you need for half the price.

On the flip side, instead of donating your clothes, or throwing them in the bin, why not try and sell your clothes? Even if you get less than what you paid for, it’s still more than what you would get if you threw them out. Something is better than nothing.

Create a candle oasis – be energy conscious

You’ve probably heard this time and time again. Turning off the lights when you leave a room can save you money. Whilst that’s true, it’s not exactly enjoyable. Turning off lights when you leave the room, your air-con or heating off when you leave your house or switching appliances off at the switch are all great ways you can reduce your energy bill.

But how about taking it one step further? Turn off all of your lights and create a cosy candle oasis. This is way more fun, and also a great way to save money! You don’t have to do it all the time. You could even try it once a week, once a month – whatever you want.

Utilise cashback deals and discount codes

If you’re looking at buying something specific, it could be beneficial to look at the numerous cashback and discount websites, such as OzBargain, to see if the item is on sale anywhere, or if you can get money back on your purchases.

Want a new dress but it’s not urgent? You could wait until there’s a cashback for leading fashion brands and purchase your dress during the deal. Want a new blender? OzBargain is showing it’s on sale at Harvey Norman. Doing your research before you buy something, or choosing to buy from stores with cashback deals going could save you a decent amount of money, particularly if you do it often.

Go forth with these frugal hacks for 2021

Although January might be behind us, it’s not too late to implement some good habits and save money in the process. You could use the above 10 frugal hacks to boost your savings and set your future self up for success. It’s not as hard as you think.