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Unlocking Savings:

$500 Electricity Rebate NSW

Introduction

As energy costs continue to rise, finding ways to reduce electricity bills has become a top priority for many households across New South Wales. Fortunately, the state government has introduced a valuable program to help ease the financial burden—the $500 electricity rebate NSW. In this comprehensive blog post, we'll explore the details of this rebate, explore who's eligible, and provide step-by-step guidance on how to claim it.

What is the $500 Electricity Rebate?

The $500 electricity rebate is a one-time payment offered by the New South Wales government to help eligible households manage the rising cost of electricity. This rebate is part of the state's broader efforts to support residents and provide financial relief during these challenging times.

The $500 rebate is designed as a direct, lump-sum payment that households can use to offset their electricity expenses. It's a straightforward and accessible program that aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of those struggling with the burden of increasing power bills.

Who is Eligible for the $500 Electricity Rebate?

To be eligible for the $500 electricity rebate, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Residential Electricity Account Holder: The rebate is available to residential electricity account holders in New South Wales. This means the electricity account must be in your name and your primary residence place.
  2. Concession Card Holder: You must be the holder of a valid concession card, such as a Pensioner Concession Card, a Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card, or a Commonwealth Pensioners Health Card.
  3. Low-Income Threshold: Your household's total annual income must be below a certain threshold, which is currently set at $54,799 for singles and $88,000 for couples or families.

It's important to note that the eligibility criteria may be subject to change, so it's always a good idea to check the latest information on the NSW government's website before applying.

How to Claim the $500 Electricity Rebate NSW

Claiming the $500 electricity rebate NSW is a straightforward process, and there are a few different ways to do it. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Confirm Your Eligibility: Before you begin the application process, make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria outlined in the previous section. Double-check your concession card status and household income to ensure you qualify.
  2. Gather the Required Documentation: You'll need to provide a few pieces of information to support your application, including:
    • Your electricity account number
    • A copy of your valid concession card
    • Proof of your household's total annual income (e.g., recent tax return, Centrelink statements)
  3. Choose Your Application Method: There are a few different ways to apply for the $500 electricity rebate:
    • Online: You can submit your application through the NSW Government's online portal, which is the quickest and most convenient option.
    • By Mail: If you prefer, you can download the application form from the website, fill it out, and send it via post to the specified address.
    • In Person: Some Service NSW centers also accept in-person applications for the electricity rebate.
  4. Complete the Application: Regardless of the method you choose, you'll need to fill out the application form with your personal details, electricity account information, and the required supporting documents.
  5. Submit Your Application: Once you've gathered all the necessary information, you can submit your application through the online portal, by mail, or in person at a Service NSW center.
  6. Wait for Processing and Payment: The NSW government aims to process applications within 4-6 weeks. Once your application is approved, the $500 rebate will be directly credited to your electricity account.

It's important to note that the application process may vary or be subject to change, so be sure to check the latest information on the NSW government's website for the most up-to-date instructions.

How Can I Use the $500 Electricity Rebate?

The $500 electricity rebate is a one-time payment that can be used to help offset the cost of your electricity bills. Here are some of the ways you can use the rebate:

  1. Pay Your Electricity Bills: The most straightforward use of the rebate is to apply it directly towards your upcoming electricity bills. This can provide immediate relief and help you manage your ongoing energy expenses.
  2. Invest in Energy-Efficient Upgrades: Consider using the rebate to make energy-efficient upgrades to your home, such as installing solar panels, upgrading insulation, or replacing old appliances with more energy-efficient models. These investments can help you save on electricity costs in the long run.
  3. Reduce Debt or Build Savings: If you're in a position to do so, you could also use the $500 rebate to pay down any outstanding electricity-related debt or add it to your savings account, helping to improve your overall financial well-being.

Regardless of how you choose to use the rebate, it's essential to ensure that the funds are being used in a way that aligns with your household's financial goals and priorities.

Tips for Maximizing the Impact of the $500 Electricity Rebate

To make the most of the $500 electricity rebate, here are some additional tips and strategies to consider:

  1. Review Your Electricity Plan: Take the time to review your current electricity plan and ensure you're on the best possible tariff for your household's needs. The rebate may provide an opportunity to switch to a more cost-effective plan.
  2. Implement Energy-Saving Measures: Alongside the rebate, consider adopting energy-saving habits and making small changes around your home, such as turning off lights and appliances when not in use, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and adjusting your thermostat to optimize heating and cooling.
  3. Explore Other Government Assistance: The "Please remember the following" electricity rebate of $500'." is just one of the many programs and initiatives the NSW government offers to support households with energy costs. Investigate other available rebates, concessions, or assistance programs you may be eligible for.
  4. Seek Advice and Guidance: If you're unsure how to best utilize the $500 rebate or have questions about your eligibility, don't hesitate to contact a financial advisor or the NSW government's energy assistance hotline for personalized guidance.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with any changes or updates to the $500 electricity rebate program, as well as other energy-related policies and initiatives in New South Wales. This will ensure you can take full advantage of the available support.

Conclusion

The $500 electricity rebate in NSW is a valuable program that can provide much-needed financial relief to eligible households. By understanding the eligibility criteria, learning how to claim the rebate, and exploring ways to maximize its impact, you can take an important step towards managing your electricity costs and improving your overall financial well-being.

Remember, the $500 rebate is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to tackling rising energy prices. By combining this assistance with energy-saving measures, careful financial planning, and ongoing engagement with government support programs, you can work towards a more sustainable and affordable energy future for your household.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with the $500 electricity rebate application process, be sure to visit the NSW government's website or reach out to their energy assistance team. They'll be more than happy to provide you with the information and guidance you need to take advantage of this valuable program.

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Maximize Your Travel Rewards with American Express' Biggest Ever Points Credit Card"

Introduction:

In the world of travel rewards credit cards, American Express has long been a leader, offering a range of cards that provide cardholders with the opportunity to earn valuable points. However, American Express has recently upped its game by introducing its biggest-ever points credit card, promising even more opportunities to soar your points balance for travel. In this blog post, we will explore the features of this new credit card how you can make the most of it to maximize your travel rewards, and how to convert Amex Points to Qantas.

Section 1: Understanding American Express' Biggest Ever Points Credit Card

American Express' biggest ever points credit card is designed to cater to frequent travelers who want to earn significant rewards. This credit card offers a host of benefits and features that make it an attractive option for travelers.

1.1 Card Features

The new credit card comes with a range of features designed to help you accumulate points faster and enhance your travel experience. Some notable features include:

1.2 Eligibility and Application Process

To be eligible for American Express' biggest ever points credit card, you typically need to have a good credit score and meet certain income requirements. The application process is straightforward and can be done online through the American Express website, however, to receive such a good deal use our link or call us and we will assist you

Section 2: How to Maximize Your Points Balance

Now that we understand the features of American Express' biggest ever points credit card let's explore some strategies to maximize your points balance and make the most of this credit card and how to convert Amex Points to Qantas.

2.1 Utilize the Sign-Up Bonus

When you receive your new credit card, make sure to take advantage of the sign-up bonus. This bonus can significantly boost your points balance from the get-go. Be sure to review the terms and conditions to understand any spending requirements or time limitations associated with the sign-up bonus. These Qantas business points will then be converted to your Qantas personal points.

2.2 Focus on Bonus Categories

To accumulate points quickly, concentrate your spending on the bonus categories offered by the credit card. These categories typically include travel, dining, and gas stations. By using your credit card for these expenses, you can earn more points per dollar spent. Always look for bonuses when it comes to business spending.

2.3 Take Advantage of Partner Programs

American Express often partners with various airlines and hotel chains. By utilizing these partnerships, you can earn additional bonus points when booking flights, hotels, or other travel-related expenses through their partner programs. Keep an eye out for any special promotions or bonuses offered through these partnerships.

2.4 Use Your Credit Card for Everyday Expenses

While it's important to focus on bonus categories, don't forget to use your credit card for everyday expenses as well. Every dollar spent on your credit card can contribute towards earning points. Be mindful of your budget and ensure you can pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.

2.5 Refer Friends and Family

Many credit cards offer referral programs where you can earn bonus points for referring friends and family members who successfully apply for the credit card. Take advantage of this feature to earn extra points while helping your loved ones get started on their own travel rewards journey.

Section 3: Maximizing Redemption Value

Accumulating points is only half the battle; redeeming them effectively is equally important. Let's explore some strategies to maximize the value of your points when redeeming them for travel.

3.1 Research Redemption Options

Before redeeming your points, it's essential to research and compare different redemption options. Some options may offer better value compared to others. For example, transferring your points to airline or hotel loyalty programs might provide better redemption rates compared to using them directly through American Express' travel portal. Never use your Qantas points for business travel or domestic travel, use them for upgrades or personal trips.

3.2 Take Advantage of Transfer Partners

American Express has an extensive list of transfer partners, including major airlines and hotel chains. Transferring your points to these partner programs can often yield higher redemption values or access to exclusive benefits such as first-class flights or luxury hotel stays. The best value conversion is on award flights in business class or above. Usually 5-hour flights and above or world travel with more than 4 stops.

3.3 Look for Redemption Promotions

Periodically, American Express may offer redemption promotions where you can get more value out of your points. These promotions could include discounted award flights or bonus point offers when redeeming for specific travel experiences. Stay updated with these promotions to make the most of your points. BP fuel for businesses.

3.4 Combine Points with Other American Express Cards

If you have multiple American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points, consider combining your points into one account before redeeming them. This consolidation allows you to have a larger pool of points, giving you more flexibility when it comes to redemption options.

Section 4: Tips for Managing Your Credit Card Responsibly

While maximizing your travel rewards is exciting, it's crucial to manage your credit card responsibly to avoid unnecessary debt and fees. Here are some tips for responsible credit card usage:

4.1 Pay Your Balance in Full

To avoid interest charges, aim to pay off your credit card balance in full each month. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of the rewards program without incurring any additional costs.

4.2 Set a Budget

Create a monthly budget to track your expenses and ensure you're not overspending. Stick to this budget and avoid impulsive purchases that could lead to debt.

4.3 Monitor Your Account Regularly

Stay on top of your credit card account by monitoring it regularly for any unauthorized charges or suspicious activity. Report any issues immediately to the credit card company to protect yourself from fraud.

4.4 Understand Fees and Terms

Take the time to read and understand the fees associated with your credit card, such as annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the rewards program to make informed decisions about your usage.

4.5 Avoid Cash Advances

While it may be tempting to withdraw cash using your credit card, cash advances often come with high interest rates and additional fees. It's best to avoid cash advances unless necessary.

Conclusion:

American Express' biggest ever points credit card presents an excellent opportunity for avid travelers to accumulate significant rewards and enhance their travel experiences. By understanding the features of the credit card and implementing smart strategies for earning and redeeming points, you can unlock a world of possibilities for your next adventure. Remember to manage your credit card responsibly and enjoy the benefits that come with responsible credit card usage. Happy travels! If you need extra assistance we run a course once a month on how to maximize your points with Qantas.

Maximizing Your Financial Potential in Australia

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on our financial goals and make resolutions to improve our financial situation. For Australians, understanding and optimizing their tax obligations is an essential aspect of maximizing their financial potential. In this blog post, we will explore some key tax resolutions that can help Australians navigate the tax landscape more effectively, minimize their tax liabilities, and ultimately achieve financial success with our tax tips and tricks.

Understanding Australian Tax System

Before diving into specific tax resolutions, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the Australian tax system. Australia operates on a self-assessment tax system, where individuals are responsible for reporting their income and claiming deductions accurately. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the governing body that oversees tax compliance and administers various tax laws. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of taxes in Australia, such as income tax, goods and services tax (GST), and capital gains tax (CGT), will set the foundation for effective tax planning.

Track Your Expenses and Receipts

One of the most effective ways to minimize your tax liabilities is by tracking your expenses and keeping receipts throughout the year. By maintaining detailed records of your deductible expenses, you can claim them when filing your tax return. Deductible expenses may include work-related expenses, self-education expenses, medical expenses, and charitable donations. Utilize technology tools like expense tracking apps or spreadsheets to simplify this process. Starting this habit early in the year will save you time and stress when tax season arrives.

Maximize Your Superannuation Contributions

Superannuation is a retirement savings scheme in Australia, and contributing to it can provide significant tax advantages. As part of your new year's tax resolutions, consider maximizing your superannuation contributions. Contribute up to the annual concessional contribution limit, which is currently $25,000 for individuals under the age of 67 (subject to change). By doing so, you can reduce your taxable income while simultaneously building your retirement nest egg.

Take Advantage of Tax Deductions

To optimize your tax position, it is vital to be aware of the various tax deductions you may be eligible for. Common deductions include work-related expenses (e.g., uniforms, home office expenses), investment property expenses (e.g., mortgage interest, repairs), and self-education expenses (e.g., courses, workshops). Ensure you keep accurate records and consult with a tax professional or refer to the ATO website to determine which deductions apply to your specific situation. By claiming all eligible deductions, you can reduce your taxable income and potentially receive a higher tax refund.

Stay Updated with Tax Law Changes

Tax laws and regulations are subject to change frequently. As part of your commitment to enhancing your financial knowledge, make it a resolution to stay updated with any tax law changes throughout the year. Subscribing to newsletters or following reputable financial news sources will keep you informed about any legislative updates or new tax benefits introduced by the government. Being proactive in understanding these changes will allow you to adapt your tax strategies accordingly.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

While it's essential to educate yourself about taxes, seeking professional help from a qualified accountant or tax advisor can be incredibly valuable. Tax professionals have in-depth knowledge of the Australian tax system and can provide personalized advice based on your unique circumstances. They can help you identify potential savings opportunities, ensure compliance with tax laws, and navigate complex tax matters. Consider engaging a trusted professional to assist you in achieving your financial goals in the coming year.

Plan for Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax levied on the profit made from selling assets such as real estate, shares, or collectibles. As part of your New Year's resolutions, take the time to review your investment portfolio and assess any potential CGT implications. By strategically planning asset sales or considering options like holding assets for more than 12 months (which may provide discounts on CGT), you can minimize the impact of this tax on your overall financial position.

Consider Income Splitting Strategies

For families or couples with multiple income earners, exploring income-splitting strategies can be beneficial from a tax perspective. By redistributing income earned between family members who fall into different tax brackets, you can potentially reduce the overall family tax liability. However, it is crucial to note that income splitting should be done within the boundaries of Australian tax laws. Consult with a taxation professional to understand the rules and limitations surrounding this strategy.

Review Your Salary Packaging Options

Salary packaging refers to an arrangement between an employer and an employee, allowing them to receive certain benefits or allowances as part of their remuneration package. These benefits can include items like cars, laptops, or even childcare subsidies. As part of your New Year's resolutions, review your salary packaging options and assess whether there are any additional benefits you can take advantage of that align with your lifestyle and financial goals. Salary packaging can result in significant tax savings if structured correctly.

Stay Organized for the Next Tax Season

Lastly, as you embark on a new year with fresh financial goals, commit to staying organized throughout the year for the next tax season. Maintain a dedicated folder or digital file where you store all relevant financial documents, receipts, and statements as they become available. Regularly update this folder to ensure all records are easily accessible when it is time to file your tax return. By adopting this habit, you will streamline the process and reduce stress when dealing with taxes.

Conclusion

As we welcome another year, let us embrace the opportunity to improve our financial well-being through strategic tax planning. By understanding the Australian tax system, tracking expenses diligently, maximizing superannuation contributions, leveraging deductions, staying informed about tax law changes, seeking professional help when needed, planning for CGT, considering income splitting strategies, reviewing salary packaging options, and staying organized throughout the year – we can all work towards maximizing our financial potential in Australia. Remember that each individual's financial situation is unique; therefore, consult with a qualified professional before implementing any specific strategies mentioned in this blog post. Here's to a successful year of achieving our financial goals!

Blog Title: Understanding and Overcoming Mortgage Stress: A Comprehensive Guide

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of mortgage stress, explore its causes and consequences, and provide practical tips to overcome this challenging situation. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a current homeowner, or simply interested in the topic, this guide aims to equip you with knowledge and strategies to manage mortgage stress effectively.

Section 1: Introduction to Mortgage Stress

Mortgage stress refers to the financial strain experienced by homeowners when they struggle to meet their mortgage repayments. It can be caused by various factors such as job loss, reduced income, unexpected expenses, or high-interest rates. The burden of mortgage stress can lead to emotional distress and negatively impact overall well-being. Understanding the causes and consequences of mortgage stress is crucial to finding viable solutions.

Section 2: Identifying the Signs of Mortgage Stress

Recognizing the signs of mortgage stress is essential for early intervention. Some common indicators include:

Section 3: Causes of Mortgage Stress

Understanding the root causes of mortgage stress can help homeowners tackle the issue more effectively. Some factors contributing to mortgage stress include:

Section 4: Consequences of Mortgage Stress

The consequences of mortgage stress extend beyond financial implications. Some common effects include:

Section 5: Strategies to Overcome Mortgage Stress

Overcoming mortgage stress requires proactive steps and effective strategies. Here are some practical tips to help manage this challenging situation:

  1. Communicate with your lender: If you're experiencing financial difficulties, reach out to your lender early on. They may be able to offer temporary relief options like loan modifications or repayment plans.
  2. Create a budget: Develop a comprehensive budget that includes all income sources, expenses, and debt repayment obligations. This will help you identify areas where you can reduce spending and allocate more towards mortgage repayments.
  3. Seek financial counseling or advice: Professional advice from a financial counselor can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation. They can help you create a realistic plan to manage your finances and navigate through mortgage stress.
  4. Explore government assistance programs: Research government initiatives designed to assist homeowners facing mortgage stress. These programs may offer subsidies, grants, or loan refinancing options.
  5. Consider downsizing or refinancing options: If your mortgage repayments are consistently unaffordable, exploring downsizing or refinancing the loan may be worth considering. Consult with a mortgage broker or financial advisor to assess the feasibility of these options.
  6. Prioritize expenses: Identify essential expenses and prioritize them over discretionary spending. This will help ensure that you allocate sufficient funds toward mortgage repayments.
  7. Increase income sources: Consider alternative methods to boost your income, such as taking on additional part-time work or freelancing opportunities. Every extra dollar earned can contribute towards meeting your mortgage obligations.

Section 6: Seeking Professional Help

If your mortgage stress becomes overwhelming and you find it challenging to manage on your own, seeking professional help is crucial. Here are some avenues to explore:

Section 7: Preventing Mortgage Stress

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to managing mortgage stress. Here are some proactive steps to minimize the risk of facing this situation:

Section 8: Conclusion

Mortgage stress is a significant concern for many homeowners, but it is not an insurmountable challenge. By understanding the causes and consequences of mortgage stress and implementing proactive strategies, individuals can effectively manage this situation. Seeking professional help when needed and taking preventive measures can also contribute to long-term financial stability. Remember, it's essential to prioritize your well-being and seek support from loved ones during difficult times.

Maximizing Your Borrowing Power:

How to Calculate and Improve It

When it comes to fulfilling personal, home, or business-related financial goals, obtaining a loan can be a helpful solution. However, understanding that your current debt can influence the amount you can borrow from a lender is crucial. Excessive debt can even lead to rejection of your loan applicationIn this article, we will explore the calculation of borrowing power in relation to various types of debt and provide actionable tips to improve your borrowing capacity.

Calculating Your Borrowing Power:

Lenders assess your borrowing power by considering any outstanding debts or financial commitments that consume a portion of your income. They do so to gauge your ability to make loan repayments. The following types of debt can impact your borrowing capacity:

  1. Credit Card Debts: Unsettled credit card balances are taken into account when determining your borrowing power.
  2. Existing Personal Loans: Any existing personal loans that you are currently repaying will affect the amount you can borrow.
  3. Secured Car Loans: If you have a secured car loan, the outstanding balance will influence your borrowing capacity.
  4. Buy Now, Pay Later Debt: Debts accumulated through services like Afterpay can limit the amount you can borrow.
  5. Other Mortgage Debt: If you already have other mortgage debts, lenders will consider them in assessing your borrowing power.
  6. HECS/HELP Debt: Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts are also factored in.
Improving Your Borrowing Power:

While earning a higher income positively impacts your borrowing capacity, there are additional ways to enhance it:

  1. Live within Your Means: Reduce unnecessary spending on luxury items such as entertainment and vacations. By living frugally, you can allocate more funds toward loan repayments.
  2. Eliminate Unnecessary Debts: Pay off credit cards and strive to make extra repayments on existing debts like personal loans. This proactive approach will help decrease your debt load and demonstrate financial responsibility.
  3. Accurate Assessment of Affordability: Be honest with yourself and your lender about your financial capabilities. Discuss your desired loan amount and evaluate the corresponding repayment amounts with your lender. This transparency will ensure that you don't overburden yourself financially.

Seek Professional Advice:

If you are concerned about how existing debt might impact your financial situation, it is wise to consult a debt counselor or professional adviser. These experts can provide tailored advice on managing your debt effectively, improving your financial position, and maximizing your borrowing power.

Conclusion:

Understanding how your borrowing power is determined in relation to different types of debt is essential when seeking a loan for personal or business purposes. By assessing your financial commitments, eliminating unnecessary debts, and seeking professional advice, you can optimize your borrowing capacity. Take control of your financial future by managing your debt wisely and making informed decisions to achieve your goals, see the calculator here.

What Level of debt do you currently have?

Are you planning to take out a loan for a personal or business purpose, or to buy a home? If so, then it is important to understand how your current level of debt can affect your ability to borrow money. Here are some frequent questions and answers to help you understand how debt can impact your borrowing power.

Q: What types of debt can change my borrowing power?

A: Any type of debt that you currently have can affect your borrowing power. This can include credit card debt, personal loans, secured car loans, buy now, pay later debt, mortgage debt, and HECS/HELP debt.

Q: Why does my current level of debt matter when applying for a loan?

A: Lenders want to know that you can make your loan repayments on time, and your existing level of debt can impact your ability to do so. If you have high debt or other financial commitments, this may mean that you have less disposable income available to make loan repayments.

Q: Can having too much debt cause my loan application to be rejected?

A: Yes, having too much debt or other financial commitments can impact your loan application and even cause it to be rejected. Lenders want to see that you can afford to make your loan repayments, and if you have a lot of debt already, this may be a red flag.

Q: How can I improve my borrowing power?

A: There are several ways to improve your borrowing power, including earning a higher income, living within your means, cutting unnecessary spending, and paying down existing debts like credit cards and personal loans. It's important, to be honest about how much you can afford to borrow and to speak to your lender about the size of your repayments.

Q: What should I do if I'm concerned about my current level of debt?

A: If you're worried about your level of debt or other financial commitments, it's best to speak to a debt counselor or professional adviser for further advice on managing your debt.

Q: If I have dependants can that affect my borrowing capacity?

A: Yes, the more dependants apart from a spouse can affect your borrowing capacity

Q: Before I lodge my tax return should I see my broker?

A: You don't need to see your broker before you lodge your tax return.

In conclusion, your current level of debt can impact your borrowing power, so it's important to understand how it can affect your loan application. By taking steps to manage your debt and improve your borrowing capacity, you can increase your chances of being approved for a loan that meets your needs.

With another Christmas celebrated and already showing up on our waistlines, a common topic of conversation for many of us in January is our New Year resolutions.

Whether it’s a pledge to give up smoking, get to the gym more often, or start (yet another) healthy eating regime, New Year resolutions usually have a self-improvement or healthy living focus. But what about your finances? A healthy financial situation is just as important to your well-being as a healthy diet and exercise regime. Here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for your finances that could make a big difference to your financial health in 2017 and beyond. If one of these appeals to you, please give us a call as we’d love to help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions this year.

“I will make a proper budget and stick to it.”

Did your credit card debt go up or down in 2016? Spending more than you earn is surprisingly easy to do and having to pay exorbitant credit card interest on all of your purchases just makes matters worse. The secret to turning this situation around is to create a proper budget for yourself and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to include repayments on your credit card as a weekly expense in your budget outgoings, so you can work on getting your debts paid off as well.

To create a realistic budget, list all of the things you need to spend money on and how much they cost. The amount you have left over each week is the amount you can afford to spend on the things you want, put into your savings account, or use to pay off your debts sooner. It’s also important to review your budget regularly to see how you are tracking.

If you have multiple credit card debts, or a variety of debts, you may find managing your budget a challenge as a large part of your income may be lost on interest payments. This kind of situation is frequently referred to as a ‘debt trap’. Talk to us about consolidating your debts to reduce your interest payments and make your financial situation more manageable.

 “I will make an effort to achieve my saving goals.”

The ability to save money consistently is a talent that everyone should cultivate. It’s particularly important if you’re saving a deposit for your first home, as a lender will take your savings history into consideration when deciding if you are eligible for a home loan.

If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to a budget, can’t resist impulse purchases, or indulges in ‘retail therapy’, then you may like to consider installing an app on your mobile phone that supports your efforts to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart website offers a variety of excellent free apps designed to help you manage your finances:

“I will stop wasting my money on rent.”

For many people, choosing to rent a property instead of buying one boils down to a lifestyle choice. It may be more affordable to rent a property in a location where you enjoy living, than it is to buy one. But the consequence of this choice is that when property prices rise, you are potentially missing out on some significant capital gains that could be important to your financial well-being later on in life.

What’s more, the money you spend on rent is wasted – you are potentially paying off someone else’s investment when you could be paying off a property of your own. So the question is: do you have enough money for a deposit?

If you have been saving regularly and have some money in the bank, now is a great time to take stock of what kind of property you may be able to afford this year. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and help you work it out!

Getting on the property ladder may mean that you have to consider a location where you can afford to buy, rather than a location where you prefer to live. It may mean giving up your short commute home from work, or easy access to your friends and family, favourite bars, shopping venues and cinemas. But with property prices rising steadily, the long-term benefits could have a significant impact on your future financial security and retirement lifestyle, so it could be worth it to act now.

“I will review all of my financial accounts, including my home loan”

When was the last time you stopped to think about how much money you are paying on fees every year for your mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards and superannuation plans? Most people would be horrified to discover exactly how much money they lose every year in fees and charges across their financial accounts – so it definitely pays to review them regularly and cancel any unnecessary accounts you hardly ever use and don’t really need.

For example, the fees and charges you pay on your superannuation accounts can be quite high and they often go unnoticed. Over the years, these fees and charges may add up to make a big difference to the balance of your super on retirement. The fact is, if you have more than one superannuation account, you are paying double the fees you need to pay! Consider consolidating all your super accounts into one as soon as you can.

The same rule applies to your credit cards. How many do you really need? What are you using them for? If you have more than one, it may be a good idea to transfer all of the balances to one card using a free balance transfer offer. This not only has the potential to save you a significant amount of money on fees, it could also save you some money on interest and perhaps, help you to pay off your credit card balances sooner. Don’t be tempted to keep all of the old cards though, remember to cancel them as soon as you make the balance transfer.

If you have a mortgage, now is a good time to look at which features and benefits it provides, and if you are using them. Do you really need them? Is your home loan the most suitable for your current financial goals? If not, talk to us so we can see if you could be saving on fees, getting a more favourable interest rate or accessing the loan features you need!

We can help you achieve your financial New Year resolutions

Our role is to help you arrange your credit and finance to maximise the money you have. We’re here to help you save on interest wherever possible. Whether it’s time for a home-loan-health check on your existing mortgage, or you would like to find out how much you can afford to spend on buying a property, you’ll find our expertise and support invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals. We are even willing to help you find better ways to manage your debt and plan to build wealth for your future.

Financial success means setting some financial goals and making a step-by-step plan to reach them. With a credit and finance professional on your team, you are much more likely to get where you want to be. If you would like to buy a property in 2017, then we can help you achieve your goal by assisting with everything from setting your purchasing budget and getting pre-approval on your home loan, to supplying you with insightful property market data so you can locate the right home to buy more quickly.

Make sure your New Year is a happy one by talking to us about getting on top of your finances. It is one New Year resolution you’ll find very easy to keep! Call us to make a time today.

It was the Reserve Bank's first meeting in 2017, as the board does not meet in January.

The decision came as absolutely no surprise, with all 72 economists surveyed by Reuters expecting the cash rate to stay at 1.5 per cent.

The relatively new Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, writing just his fourth post-meeting statement, took a very neutral stance on the future direction of the cash rate.

"Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy in 2016, the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time," he concluded.

The bank is sticking with its forecasts for economic growth to come in around 3 per cent, brushing off the economic contraction recorded in the September quarter GDP figures, released in December.

Citi's economists interpret this as a strong signal that interest rates will remain on hold for an extended period.

"With inertia in both guidance and forecasts, the earliest possibility of a live RBA meeting won't be until the May 7 board meeting, which will be after the first quarter 2017 CPI [inflation] result and after three more labour force reports," the bank's analysts wrote in a note.

"Our central case remains no change in rates this year, but that the market is under-pricing the risk of easing."

Rising dollar a concern for RBA, but 'unperturbed' on housing

However, this outlook could be complicated were the Australian dollar to build on its recent strength.

"The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom," the governor noted.

Further rises in the Australian dollar, towards and past 80 US cents, could potentially provoke the RBA into cutting interest rates to try and lower the currency and sustain export competitiveness.

One widely cited constraint on the possibility of further rate cuts is the strong price growth in Australia's two biggest housing markets - Sydney and Melbourne.

On that front, the governor made a lot of factual observations, but drew no conclusions about what the state of the housing market meant for monetary policy setting.

Although he appeared relatively relaxed about the effectiveness of the banking regulator APRA's measures to avert excessive risky home lending.

"With leverage increasing, supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards and some lenders are taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments," Dr Lowe added.

RBC economist Michael Turner observed that the governor, "sounded relatively unperturbed on developments in the housing market."

 

There are two other Reserve Bank events on this week that are more important than the rates meeting.

On Thursday night, RBA governor Philip Lowe will deliver his first speech for 2017 at an economics dinner in Sydney.

On Friday morning, the RBA will release its latest quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy, which should give a clearer indication of the outlook for interest rate movements this year.

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