These days it’s even easier to give into the urge to buy something new thanks to buy now, pay later schemes. These payment options let you split the cost of one purchase on your debit card, interest free, over multiple months. It certainly makes those $400 pair of shoes feel much cheaper in the moment! Unlike traditional lay-buys where goods were only yours once you’d paid in full, those shoes will walk right out the door with you without making any payment.
While these payment options can be a sensible option for helping spread payments and manage cash flow, the danger with buy now, pay later schemes is there often isn’t a strict limit to how many orders you can have running at one time. Lots of little payments can add up.
This can cause the good intentions you set around avoiding credit card spending to backfire. Many people report finding it hard to stay on top of their multiple payments, resulting in being caught short on cash for other important bills, like rent, the weekly grocery shop and utility bills.
If you’d like to take back control when it comes to buy now pay later schemes, we’ve put together some tips on how you can wean yourself off one to many lay-bys.
Put advance payment reminders in your calendar
If you currently have multiple payments due, it will take you 5 – 10 minutes to pop reminders in your calendar about when they will be deducted from your account. We suggest putting these reminders in a few days before the actual payment occurs. This will give you some time to make sure you have money available, plus organise your other bill payments around this. It will also help you avoid late fees which can put your account further into the negative!
Consider paying off some outstanding payments early
If you can afford to pay some of your purchases in full sooner, this will reduce your future payments plus help you feel more in control of your outstanding debt. Most schemes allow you to make manual repayments without incurring a fee, but always check the terms and conditions or FAQ section on the website.
Set some rules
All things are good in moderation, which means controlling how you use buy now pay later schemes, not the other way around! Set yourself a monthly or fortnightly limit for how much you’re willing to have deducted from your account. If you stay within your limits, you will have greater control with your finances and feel more financially confident.
Ask yourself, do I really need it?
Wedding coming up? Best friends 30th? Dad’s 60th? When big events like this pop up in our calendar, it can be tempting to head straight to the shops for a new outfit, despite having plenty of great options in our wardrobe already. Being ‘photo-ready’ for Facebook and Instagram can make us feel like we need a new outfit for every occasion.
If you don’t need it, don’t buy. People buy a lot of things they don’t need.
Ask for expert help
Financial freedom starts with taking positive action, but sometimes we all need a little help taking that first step. If you feel like you need some advice on how to best manage this process, there are experts who can assist. Whether that’s putting a budget in place or managing your debt.