Got a spare pineapple? Pay off your mortgage faster

Got a spare pineapple? Pay off your mortgage faster

Reckon you could scrounge together an extra $50 each week to pay off your mortgage? If so, latest modelling shows the average household with a $400,000 loan could save $46,992 and pay off their home loan four years faster.

This week we’re going to look at the benefits of paying just a little bit more off your mortgage each week.

Now, this is quite a timely subject because the RBA has just delivered back-to-back cash rate cuts, so even if your monthly repayment amount has been reduced, there’s a lot to be gained by sticking to the same amount you’ve been paying over the last few years.

Breaking it down

One of the biggest problems people run into when trying to pay off their mortgage faster is trying to do so in big, irregular lumps.

It helps a lot more if you break it down.

So instead of trying to pay an extra $150 to $300 extra each month, break it down to a weekly amount that you can actually commit to, like $20 to $50 a week (or $3 to $7 a day – basically one or two takeaway coffees).

Breaking it down into smaller figures also helps reinforce good habits, and can help with your family’s cashflow.

Below, we’ll look at some modelling conducted by AMP that shows the benefits of setting up a weekly direct debit that will automatically pay an extra $20 to $50 a week off your mortgage.

What an extra $20 (aka a lobster or mud crab) a week gets you

– $400,000 loan: save $21,281 in interest and pay it off 1 year and 9 months faster

What $50 (aka a pineapple) a week gets you

– $400,000 loan: save $46,992 in interest and pay it off 4 years faster

What $100 (aka a lime) a week gets you

– $400,000 loan: save $78,828 in interest and pay it off 6 years and 11 months faster

Check out the full list here, which covers loans of $300,000, $500,000 and $1 million. All the calculations assume that you’re five years into a 30-year average home loan.

Get in touch

If you want some more tips on paying off your mortgage sooner – or you want to discuss your refinancing options – then get in touch.

We’ve got plenty of ideas up our sleeve and always love sharing what we’ve learned with our clients.

Have your smashed avo and eat it too!

Have your smashed avo and eat it too!

One of the most annoying myths for young homebuyers has to be the smashed avo breaky one. You know – to buy a property you have to forego delicious weekend breakfasts. Well, here are three easy recipes that prove otherwise.

Today we’re going to have a little fun and trade in our finance professional cap for a chef’s hat.

Why? Well you see, there’s this pesky little lie about buying a home that just won’t go away.

It’s the one where some self-proclaimed property expert condescendingly tells Millennials that all they need to do to afford a property is give up luxuries such as smashed avocado for breakfast.

Well, to quote celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay… actually, it’s probably best we don’t quote Gordon in this instance.

Instead, here are three gourmet breakfasts you can whip up at home for no more than $15 for four people.

  1. Smashed avocado and feta on toasted rye

Let’s start with the obvious one. Sure, smashed avocado is going to cost about $15-$20 per person in a hipster cafe, and that won’t exactly break the bank if you do it every now and then.

But it also happens to be one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest breakies you can make at home. And it takes just minutes.

This Taste.com.au recipe simply requires:

– two avocados – smash it! ($4)

– 80g creamy feta – mix it! ($2.50)

– half a loaf of rye bread – toast it! ($2)

– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill – garnish it! ($2)

– 1 lemon/lime – drizzle it! ($1)

Total price = $11.50 (price proportional to ingredients used in each item purchase).

Plating-up is straight-forward enough, but if you’d like to follow a step-by-step guide, click on the recipe link above, or check out this BBC version.

To jazz it up even further, feel free to add a thin slice of smoked salmon, a poached or half-boiled egg, or some crunchy bacon.

  1. French crepes

Weekend breaky doesn’t get much simpler, or more fun, than flippin’ French crepes.

Seriously. You’ll be surprised just how easy, tasty and cheap this meal is (as long as you have a non-stick frypan).

The best bit? Taking turns to flip the crepes makes for great entertainment too. Especially when someone drops one!

This Taste.com.au recipe requires the following ingredients to feed four to six people.

– 2 cups of plain flour ($1)

– 2-3 cups of milk ($1)

– 4 eggs ($3)

– pinch of white sugar

– Filling/s of your choice $5-$10

Total price = $9 to $14

Once you’ve whisked or blended all the ingredients together (minus the fillings, obviously), let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes to get the texture just right.

Warm the non-stick frypan to medium heat, melt some butter across it, then thinly coat the pan with the crepe mix.

After a minute or two, use a spatula to see if the bottom of the crepe has turned golden. If so, ensure it’s loosened off the pan with the spatula and then let rip with a flip!

When the other side is also golden serve the crepe on a plate, smother it with a delicious filling, and then roll or fold in triangles ready to eat.

Popular fillings include lemon drizzle and caster sugar, jam, honey, and Nutella and ice cream. But the possibilities are endless!

  1. Shakshuka (aka poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce)

Ok, so this dish will be slightly more complicated to put together, so we won’t run through the whole process in this article.

Instead, here are a number of recipes you can follow, including from the New York Times, Taste.com.au, The Guardian and the ABC’s Poh’s Kitchen.

Now, this is traditionally a vegetarian dish so, provided you have most of the required spices in your cupboard, it shouldn’t cost more than $12-$15 to create.

But, if you want to go a little rogue, then feel free to add in some diced bacon, chorizo, minced lamb or pork sausage.

Get in touch

With all the above dishes costing less than $15, it’s safe to say you’re not going to need us to help you finance them!

But, if you’re looking at buying a property and want help lining up finance for that, well, you know exactly where to find us – in our office on weekdays, and cooking up a breaky storm on the weekends!

New code to protect Aussies buying solar panels

New code to protect Aussies buying solar panels

Ever thought about investing in solar panels for your home? If so, you’ll know it’s a big decision and there’s a lot to wrap your head around. Fortunately, the consumer watchdog is proposing a new retailer code to make solar purchases safer and easier.

Australia is the sunniest continent on Earth. Yep, even more so than Africa.

Which is why it makes sense that more than two million homes have already decked out their rooftops with solar panels.

Sure, the initial outlay is between $5,000 and $10,000, but solar installations usually pay themselves off in two to six years – and then they save you a whole lot of money on power bills in the long run.

The thing is, though, household solar can be tricky to research if you’re not familiar with the industry – not to mention all the potential government rebates and incentives you need to wrap your head around.

Fortunately, the ACCC is stepping in

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has proposed a new consumer code for retailers selling solar and energy storage systems, with a draft determination due on September 9.

The New Energy Tech Consumer Code (the Code) sets minimum standards of good practice and consumer protection and will apply to all aspects of customers’ interactions with participating retailers.

That includes their marketing, finance and payments, warranties and complaints handling processes.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard explains.

“Products like solar panels or battery storage involve significant financial outlays for households,”

“This Code aims to give consumers more protection and more information to help them make informed purchases.”

What will The Code cover?

Signatories to the Code must comply with obligations, including that they:

  • avoid high-pressure sales tactics
  • ensure their advertising is clear and accurate
  • educate consumers about their rights
  • provide clear information about product performance and maintenance
  • take extra steps to protect vulnerable consumers
  • implement effective complaints handling processes.

The proposed code will also effectively prevent signatories from offering finance through ‘buy now pay later’ arrangements.

Financing options

There are a number of state government programs across Australia that offer interest-free loans for eligible households in the solar space, including in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

If you’re not eligible for any of the above schemes, rest assured that there are other smart ways to finance the installation of household solar.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch. We’d be happy to talk you through some of your options.

Buy now, pay now: the importance of budgeting for gifts

Buy now, pay now: the importance of budgeting for gifts

How much do you think the average Aussie spends on gifts each month? $20, $50 or 100? (hint: we’re a generous bunch). Today we’ll look at why it’s important to budget for these expenses correctly, rather than succumbing to ‘buy now, pay later’ services.

Did you know Australians spend nearly $20 billion a year on gifts?

That’s about $1,200 each per year, or $100 a month, according to a new research report by the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).

It turns out that Gen Y is by far the most generous age bracket (25-39), spending $130 on gifts each month, well ahead of Gen Z ($91), Boomers ($89) and Gen X ($87).

The importance of budgeting for gifts

Ok, so here’s where this feel-good story starts to get a tad concerning: three in four Australians (73%) do not budget for gifts at all.

Now, with the average gift costing between $66 and $137 (depending on the occasion), that’s enough for some households to turn to ‘buy now, pay later’ services.

And make no mistake: these ‘buy now, pay later’ services are booming.

In fact, in the 12 months to January 2019, 1.59 million Australians used one of the latest ‘buy-now-pay-later’ digital payment methods, with a whopping 40.6% of its customers being Millennials.

That’s right – Millennials, who are not only by far the most generous gift-givers, but are also seeking to enter the mortgage market for the first time.

So what’s the big deal?

According to recent media reports, lenders are increasingly trawling through bank statements for evidence of outstanding ‘buy now, pay later’ accounts when prospective borrowers apply for a loan.

In one incident, a 21-year-old NSW woman said a couple of hundred dollars worth of Zip Pay purchases, all of which had been paid off, almost prevented her from getting a bank loan to buy her first car.

“I honestly never thought it would impact me being able to get a loan. I am now petrified of using it at all, as I really want a house,” she said.

In another incident, a big 4 bank knocked back a 26-year-old Perth woman’s mortgage application after discovering she had an outstanding Afterpay balance.

These are just two examples of the importance of making sure you factor gifts into your monthly budget to ensure you aren’t setting off a lender’s warning bell by using ‘buy now, pay later’ services.

Need help getting your accounts in order?

If you’ve used a ‘buy now, pay later’ service to buy a gift for a friend, family member or even yourself, there are steps you can take to help minimise the impact it might have on your next loan application.

Your most obvious course of action is to pay it off as soon as you can, and then avoid using the service again in the future.

And look, let’s be honest, no one likes a Scrooge, so your next step would be to ensure you’re including an allocated (and realistic) amount for gifts in your monthly household budget moving forward.

If you’d like to know more, or want a hand getting your monthly budget in order before applying for finance, then get in touch – we’d love to help out.

Mortgages not holding Aussies back from travel

Mortgages not holding Aussies back from travel

It’s no secret that Australians love to travel. The thing is, we also love to own our own home. Can you do both? It turns out most people can!

There’s this myth that once you take out a mortgage you’re locked down in Australia for good. Or at least for the foreseeable future.

It’s no doubt a major deterrent for young people embarking on home ownership.

But it turns out that’s simply not true: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Research just out from InsureandGo shows most people (55%) go on at least one overseas holiday within three years of buying their home.

More interesting still, 21% of home owners travel overseas within their first year of buying a home, and 39% within two years.

Then there’s the 10% who are super keen to scratch that travel bug itch and go jet-setting within six months of buying a home.

How do they make it work?

Cheap airfares are a good start.

Nowadays you can get ahead of the pack and receive free email notifications when a jaw-dropping deal is going through services such as I Know the Pilot and Scott’s Cheap Flights.

They’ll send you an email alert when they’ve found a cheap airfare that matches any airports you’d like to depart from and arrive at.

Don’t forget to see Australia!

Rest assured that if the budget is tight, there’s always Australia to explore.

We take it for granted sometimes, but don’t forget that 8.8 million people travel from all across the world to visit our beautiful country each year.

The first few years of your mortgage may serve as the perfect chance to join them in exploring our vast continent.

In fact, that’s exactly what half of all new home owners do within the first year of taking out a mortgage, according to the InsureandGo report.

You don’t have to fly across the country and fork out hundreds of dollars, either. Every state has its own beautiful coastline and national parks, many of which are situated near affordable campgrounds.

Final word

Becoming a house-owner these days doesn’t mean you have to become house-bound.

Sure, meeting your mortgage repayments will always come first. But it’s also important to give yourself and your family a much needed holiday every now and then.

By combining clever budgeting, smart saving, good deals, and a dose of discipline, you don’t have to sacrifice travel for home ownership.

To find out more about budgeting with a mortgage, get in touch. We’d love to help out.