Three simple questions to ask yourself before you buy

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21 August, 2019

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We've all done it. Bought something we later regretted because we didn't really need it.

The AfterPay logo seems to be everywhere, along with other so-called 'buy now pay later' products. You've heard it from sales assistants offering alternate ways too pay. Before you do, there are a few simple few questions to ask yourself about what you're about to buy?

1. How much do I really like it? Is this a necessity that will be beneficial for me and my household? 

Stopping to think about whether you really like the item, and how it will add to your life might help put it in perspective for you!

2. How long have I been thinking about this purchase? 

If you've been researching the product or thinking about it for a while, you're on your way to a good decision. You could also ask, 'Would I make this same purchase in 24 hours?' These questions help us reduce spontaneous decisions that we might later regret.

3. Do I have enough money to buy this today, which won't impact on my bills or payments? 

If it's a stretch and you're reaching into next week's groceries, today is not the right time. Is there a way to save up instead?

"I often feel like I need to have the next best thing whether that be the current fashion fad or new gadget. However I've taught myself not to get caught up in it - a skill that has saved me so much money! Whenever feelings of urgency to buy "it" arise, I wait one day. 9 out of 10 times these feelings of urgency subside and I end up feeling better for it having saved the money and not made an unnecessary purchase" - Hannah

The Salvation Army's Monecare program encourages you to go on a buying reflection journey. Have a goal in mind like steering away from AfterPay and using it less, spending less online this month, or start saving for Christmas! Whatever it is, asking yourself a couple of questions before you buy something goes a long way in removing regret!

(Article sourced from The Salvation Army's Moneycare's "You're the Boss" Program)

For extra help with your goals, get in touch with a financial counsellor. They're free, independent and confidential.


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Post-Christmas Blues

I often find that it’s around this time of the year when the shiny excitement of Christmas has well and truly worn off.

We all went through that strange period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when we didn’t know what day it was. Easter buns then made a sudden and controversial appearance in supermarkets just days into the new year with Easter eggs following closely behind, in abundance. You may have already spent all the money on the gift card you received from your aunt as department stores push back-to-school items to the front of the aisles where the Christmas decorations once sparkled.

Christmas 2019 has now well and truly been left behind with credit card payments already eating into your 2020 earnings.

There are 8,760 hours in a year and Christmas Day makes up 24 yet planning for those brief hours of indulgence can take weeks of effort and sometime months of repayments. Here on the Helpline, we see the repercussions that the cost of Christmas can have on people’s financial situations. If not budgeted for, the ripple effect of Christmas can lead to electricity disconnections, defaults on credit reports, etc.

If the 2019 festive season caused you financial stress, consider starting to plan now…Christmas is only 336 days away!

We sat down with our Financial Counsellors and Financial Capability Workers here on the Helpline to discuss ways to plan for Christmas 2020.

‘One way to approach Christmas 2020 is to look at what you roughly spent in 2019 and divide that into fortnightly amounts (or however you get paid) and put that amount away each fortnight into a separate bank account or Christmas Club’.

‘Work out early on who is going to host Christmas lunch because if it is your turn, you may have to put extra money aside’.

‘If you are casually employed, find out early if your employer is closing over the Christmas break and for how long so you can start putting money aside now to cover essential living expenses while you are not working’.

‘Consider alternative options before signing up for a Christmas Hamper’ -https://www.affordablesa.com.au/news-articles/dont-let-a-christmas-hamper-put-a-damper-on-your-finances

For more tips on how to plan for Christmas 2020, see the attached link from the Moneysmart website, '12 Money Tips for Christmas’.

Christmas should be a time of enjoying family and friends without stressing about making basic ends meet. If you're counting the costs not the calories with each bite of the Christmas pudding, then you're setting yourself up for the Post-Christmas Blues and destined to lose any of the magic that Christmas brings.

If you've started 2020 and you are struggling with the financial repercussions of Christmas, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to a free Financial Counsellor about your options or search for The National Debt Helpline on the Affordable SA App.

[By Sam](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/team/sam)

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Think outside the box

Our lives are filled with stuff.

Stuff can be found falling out of bathroom cabinets, hidden under beds, tucked into ceiling cavities, wedged behind couches, stacked up against garage walls and shoved into cupboards. To deal with stuff, many people choose to rent large metal boxes to lock their stuff away for months or even years at a time.

There are many reasons why people choose to put their stuff into storage. People may downsize their home, separate from a partner, leave their house, go into a retirement home or pass away, which ultimately leaves their stuff without a place to go.

Self-Storage can be a useful option for some people. However, as Financial Counsellors we often speak to people who have a storage unit but due to financial hardship have fallen behind on their payments. What people may not realise is that some storage facilities may not release your belongings to you unless you are up to date with your payments. Furthermore, if you fall too far behind on your payments your belongings may be sold at auction.

Therefore, before deciding to put your stuff into storage it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

- Can I afford a storage unit?

- Have I read the contract?

- Do I know what happens to my belongings if I cannot make the payments?

- Is the cost of maintaining the storage unit more than the cost of replacing my items?

- Do the items have sentimental value? If yes, is there an alternative option, such as a storing the items with a friend or family member?

- Can some of my belongings be stored electronically (e.g. documents and photos)?

- Will I need the items within the next 12 months? If not, could the items be sold or donated?

If you have fallen behind on your storage repayments and you would like to talk to a Financial Counsellor about your situation, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or search for the National Debt Helpline on the Affordable SA App.

By Sam

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