While it’s very nice to have some time off during the summer holiday season – particularly after the year we’ve had – once you’ve had some down time, here are some things you can do to help achieve a financially successful 2021.

1. Clean up your credit history

Get up to date with your tax and pay any fines or outstanding loans where you can. You should also ditch any credit cards you don’t really need. If you are considering borrowing over the next few years, this is essential. Debt affects your borrowing capacity, so get rid of any unnecessary liabilities.

2. Make a budget

We’ve said this before but the benefits of a well-prepared and organised budget cannot be understated. You may like to include the following expenses as a minimum: mortgage/rent, other debt repayments, food, education, child care, car, insurance, utilities, rates, telecommunications, medical, leisure, travel, transport, super contributions – and all forms of income (salary, bonuses, rental income, dividends, interest and allowances).

Having – and following – a budget also gives you a clear idea of your financial position and much more control over your money. For the prospective borrower, not being upfront about all of your expenditure could result in greater scrutiny by lenders, or having your loan application rejected.

3. Make adjustments

Once you have a clear budget, you will easily be able to see if you need to make changes to achieve your savings goals or reduce your expenses. You typically need to show lenders three to six months of expenditure and regular savings, so if you plan to borrow, give yourself time to get your budget on track.

Check in on your payments for insurance, telecommunications and utilities – you may be able to get a better deal from other providers, so it’s good to look around regularly. In addition, if you are paying for memberships or subscriptions that you barely use, it might be time to cut the cord.

Finally, don’t forget to check in with your Smartline Adviser to see if you can get a better deal on your loan!