Plan family finances to stay on top

THE NEXT two months will be busy for a Dubbo debt collection agency, as many households struggle to recover from over-spending at Christmas time.

Prushka debt recovery says the first quarter of the year is difficult for residents who find it hard to pay back the ever-growing credit card debt and the accrual of many household bills.

Prushka Dubbo account controllers Kylie Lawless and Leeanne Walker said February and March was the time when households needed to pay school fees.

"It all depends on income but debts are mainly school-related at this time of year," Ms Lawless said.

"With kids going back to school at the end of January, parents find it hard to pay their bills."

A good way to prevent this, Ms Walker said, was collection agencies offering payment plans to make things easier.

"Parents should set up a payment plan and be upfront about any issues they have about paying their debts," she said.

"Even if it's $50 a week, it still helps. These payments should be continuous."

They explained it would be a lot different for people in the country, particularly those affected by the bushfires, who would not worry about paying debts when their homes could have been destroyed.

They urged residents to visit for more information on the options available.

Prushka chief executive Roger Mendelson said that for most families, making their pay stretch was difficult and more often than not holiday pay was overspent.

"Bills often go unaccounted for and credit becomes relied upon, which can really set up a household for a bad year financially," he said.

"Items such as uniforms, clothing, books and laptops (for students) are often essential items that get paid for, while monthly household bills fall by the wayside."

He said an overlooked, seemingly "simple" household bill could result in a creditor suing and, in about six weeks' time, result in a default judgement being taken out.

Some useful tips for residents included making a list of all outstanding bills, expenditure anticipated in the next two months (including a realistic assessment of all back-to-school costs) and payment plans.

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