Managing Your Loan Repayments

Date Posted: May 22, 2020

pencil on notepad with scrunched up paper

Managing loan repayments sure is a good skill to have. So how can you manage yours without falling behind? It can be a slippery slope into financial woes – the all-too-familiar situation of falling behind one month, then having to pay even more the next.

Dreading when your loan repayment comes out of your account?

We go over some tips to stay on top of your finances.

Pausing payments

Most banks and smaller lenders in Australia offer to ‘pause’ loan repayments if you’re going through financial hardship. This may not be an option for everyone, but talk to your lender or at least have a look on their website. The idea is basically halting loan repayments and continuing them in the future.

This will, of course, make the loan term longer and possibly add interest but it may free up some extra cash during tough times. In the past, a lot of paperwork and proving financial hardship was required, now it’s been made much easier. Make sure you do some research as temporarily postponing repayments may add further costs down the track. A quick chat to your lender can really help in managing loan repayments.

Budgeting

This is an excellent idea, regardless of loans. A regimental budget plan can really make a difference.

Step one: access a few months of bank statements and calculate what you spend per pay cycle. This will give you a clear idea of how much gets spent and on what.

Step two: organise a simple category split. For example; living expenses, bills, loan repayments and luxuries.

Step three: decide on a percentage of your total pay for each category. For example; 40% living costs / 30% bills / 20% loan repayments and 10% luxuries. You might even choose 0% for luxuries and non-essentials.

Step four: Stick to it!

Renegotiate

If you fancy your negotiating skills, it’s worth calling service providers and asking for a better or cheaper plan. They are, of course, well aware of people’s struggles when managing finances and the need to keep up their customer service. 

You may find your current plan isn’t competitive with what other service providers are offering. Threatening to switch to a competitor may be an ace up your sleeve so take the time to have a scour online. This goes for a number of services – phone and internet providers, energy companies and even monthly insurance payments.

Remember, the worst thing they can do is say ‘no’.

Note that even calling a professional for advice on managing loan repayments and bills is a great start.

Make a list

Similar to budgeting but a little easier. Simply make a list of your debts, bills and expenses and rank them from most important to least. Your car loans or mortgage repayments might be on top but what’s on the bottom? Video streaming subscriptions, paid apps or in-app purchases perhaps? If you can cut out those non-essentials, you’ll be able to make room for the more important ones.

Just getting an actual list in front of you can help. As most experts suggest, just knowing what goes out of your account and developing a realistic game plan is a huge help.

As one contributor mentioned; “I was paying $30 a week for apps I didn’t even use!”.

Changing the ‘when’

Another idea for those who struggle keeping up with their payments. Does your loan repayment come out of your account at the end of your pay cycle? If so, simply changing to a day closer to (or the day after) you get paid can really help. This will allow you to make the important loan or mortgage repayments before using too much money for other things. It’s an easy way to prioritise a budget and get on top of managing loan repayments.

This idea should go hand-in-hand with the above ‘list’ idea. Make sure to talk to your lender to organise changing direct debit days, most are willing to accommodate their clients’ needs.

Do what your mum said

Very simply, cutting down on non-essentials is a win in many ways. Reducing money spent on things like junk food, alcohol or other ‘fun stuff’ can save a lot of money. For some people, even changing to a more generic brand can save bucks.

For example, a recent contributor mentioned that he was spending up to $70 at the pub each Friday night. Drinks and a meal can be pretty expensive – especially in Australian capital cities. Doing this at home, the contributor was able to cut costs from the previously mentioned $70 to mere $35!

Don’t forget the health benefits of eating at home too!

What if I can’t pay my loan?

If things get too much, you’re definitely not alone. Most credit and service providers in Australia are more than ready to accommodate those suffering from any form of financial fallout.

Explaining your situation honestly and clearly can often give you access to payment extensions, specialised payment plans – namely a reduction, or even a payment freeze. Many providers won’t cut off your service or leave negative marks on credit files either. Some banks and lenders require a bit of back and forth communication so have your financial details at the ready.

Lenders in Australia, although not ‘legally’ obliged, are under pressure from the Federal Government to accommodate their clients and assist in managing loan repayments.

The Australian Government has made it clear – they’re here to help if you need it. If you’re struggling with finances, it’s worth having a look at what you might be entitled to.

Looking at refinancing your loan? Want to know the repayments and interest rates on possible debt consolidation?

Use our online loan calculator to get started or talk to one of our experienced brokers today.

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