Managing debts

Managing debts banner

It is easy to borrow money these days - and even easier to get into debt. Don't give up if you are having trouble managing your debts. There are always options available to you and people that can help.

Tally up your debts

When dealing with debt, the first thing you need to look at is how much debt you have; you can start this process by checking your bank statements. Without having an idea about the size of your debt, it's difficult to work out an appropriate plan of attack.

Use our net worth calculator to review your overall financial position. It will help you make sure you take all your debts into account.

Your net worth calculator

How to pay off your debts faster

Once you have an idea about your overall financial position, you can start looking at options for making extra repayments and clearing some of your debts.

Depending on how much and what type of debt you have, there could be a couple of options open to you.

You could start by:

  • paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first; or
  • paying off the smallest debt first (so you feel a sense of achievement).

See making repayments for more details on how to prioritise different types of debts.

We also have specific guidance on different types of debts:

  • Mortgages - help with home loans
  • Travel debt - pay off your travel expenses
  • Credit cards - dealing with multiple credit cards
  • Fines - help for people struggling with fines
  • Utility bills - take action on water, electricity, phone and gas bills
  • Uni debt - when you have to pay your uni debt and how to make voluntary payments

We also have calculators to help you crunch the numbers on your debts to work out how a small extra repayment can make a big difference in reducing the money you owe and the interest you will pay:

Mortgage calculator

Credit card calculator

Personal loan calculator

Consider refinancing

If you are struggling to manage your debts, it may sound like a good idea to pay someone to fix your credit problems or roll all your loans into one loan. Before you go down this road, consider if this really is the best option for you or if there are other ways you could go, to get help for free - for example from a financial counsellor

Consolidating or refinancing loans can work for some people if it means they pay less in fees and interest. For others, it may only be a short-term fix, especially if they can't meet the repayments on the new loan.

Find out more about consolidating and refinancing debts.

Video: Nicole escapes the debt cycle

Video about debt.

Nicole shares her tips on how she used our tools to plan for a brighter financial future.

Nicole uses:

Transcript: Nicole escapes the debt cycle

Get help if you are struggling with your debts

If your debts are getting out of control or you are really struggling to make ends meet, it's important to act quickly. Here are some places you can go for free help and guidance.

It might sound like a good idea to pay someone to help fix your credit history, but credit repair agencies and debt solution companies may not always be able to do what they claim. Find out what debt solution companies can and can't do for you.

When it comes to getting on top of debt, the most important thing is to get started. Assess your situation and consider the options that will work best for you. If you are struggling with debt, act quickly and seek help.

Related links

Last updated: 10 Oct 2016