Are you a dollar stretcher?

Characteristics of dollar stretchers

A ‘money mindset’ is a way of thinking about personal finance. Your money mindset can change over time, and it may help explain your spending and savings habits. Understanding this can help you build habits and strategies to better manage your money.

Dollar-stretchers often find that:

  • They experience difficulty paying for essential expenses, like bills and food.

  • It’s hard to save money because there’s rarely enough left after paying for essentials.

  • They use any unexpected financial windfalls to pay outstanding bills.

  • If they receive an unexpected bill, they may have to borrow money or use credit to cover it.

  • They often feel anxious about money.

About dollar stretchers

Dollar stretchers aren’t bad with money. They’re often excellent budgeters who know how to stretch their income to cover their everyday expenses (like food and transport) and debt repayments. The problem is that their income isn’t high enough for them to save money after they’ve covered everyday costs. Because of this, dollar stretchers are at high risk of financial hardship.

Dollar stretchers aren’t always on a low income. Someone with a high income who struggles with significant debt could also fall into this category. Dollar stretchers often have minimal savings, and may use credit options like payday lenders. They spend very little on leisure activities.

Dollar stretchers experience high levels of financial anxiety and often struggle to find ways to improve their financial situation.

Dealing with financial hardship

If you’re struggling to pay your debts you may be in financial difficulty. The best thing you can do is reach out to us as soon as you can to find out what assistance is available. We may be able to help you.

You can also speak to us about dealing with financial hardship, and access additional support services if you need them.

Remember that loans don’t always have to come from banks. You may be eligible for funds through Centrelink.

Managing debt repayments

Debt repayments make it difficult to save money and get ahead. If you’re a dollar stretcher, you may take on high-interest debt to cover everyday expenses. These repayments then make it harder to save money.

If you’re making repayments on multiple loans, consider consolidating your loans so you can make repayments at a lower interest rate. 

You could also investigate balance transfers, which could help you manage credit card debt.

Planning for your financial future

Once your debt repayments are under control, it’s time to start saving an emergency fund. You can dip into this when faced with an unexpected expense, to avoid taking on more debt. Aim for $500 first, and then build to $1,000.

Look for ways to earn extra money, by taking on extra shifts at work, selling items you don’t need anymore, or working at a side hustle. You can also look into small ways to save, like avoiding credit card interest.

Setting up a savings goal and tracking it an app is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Call us on Phone 03 9038 9449 if you need more budgeting tips.

Source: NAB https://www.nab.com.au/personal/life-moments/manage-money/money-basics/dollar-stretcher Reproduced with permission of National Australia Bank (‘NAB’). This article was originally published at https://business.nab.com.au/ National Australia Bank Limited. ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686.

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