The warning came as News.com reported Reserve Bank of Australia figures showed Australians racked up more than $200 million in personal debt over the 2020 Christmas period.
RACQ spokesperson Kirsty Clinton said for many people debt was stressful and it could be difficult to know where to start and what to pay off first.
“You should start by reviewing your outstanding repayments and work out which are the priorities,” Ms Clinton said.
“High priority debts can include mortgage repayments, car repayments, utility bills or credit card bills with a high interest rate.
“The next thing you should do is look at your income, add up all your expenses, and figure out what you can afford to pay off. An online budget planner can be a good place to start when assessing your finances.”
Ms Clinton encouraged people to talk to their lenders about their options for paying back the debt.
“By talking to your bank, lender or creditors, you can explain your circumstances and find out your options,” she said.
“This may include consolidating debts into one repayment or applying for financial hardship support. Most lenders will have a team that assists with financial hardship that will be able to talk you through your options, like time extensions or payment plans.
“You can also access financial counselling services through the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.”
Ms Clinton said people could avoid the stress of credit card debt this Christmas by planning now.
“Look at how much you spent last Christmas, and break that cost down into smaller amounts you can start setting aside now,” she said.
“You can also keep an eye out for sales and buy gifts and other items throughout the year, so it’s not such a burden when December comes around.”
The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.