In South Africa Women’s day marks the day when women took to the streets in their numbers and marched to the Union Building to protest against carrying of a pass book. As we celebrate this historic date let us not get carried away, forgetting to stick to our budgets and overspending.
28 November 2012
For most New Year’s Resolutions have already been put aside as the idea of smoking and losing weight start to look easier said than done. However a good financial reason can always motivate us that extra bit to stick to our plans.
1. Quit the cigarettes
Giving up smoking is known to be one of the hardest addictions to beat, however the financial and physical implications could make this one of the best decisions ever taken. Our calculations show us that a smoker who consumes a packet a day could save themselves on average R8400 each year! That ignores the price of cigarettes increasing – which it will. The health implications are even more beneficial. A recent study indicated that on average cigarette smokers die ten years younger than non-smokers.
2. Become a savvy shopper
Our lives are constantly changing and with these changes come a need to revise your medical aid and insurance policies accordingly. Once a year policy holders should be checking that their policies are still meeting their needs. It is imperative to shop around, this will enable you to compare quotes from several insurers, and decide on the option best suited for you. Insurers have a tendency to increase premiums for existing policyholders, so even if you think you’re still getting a good deal, you may not be.
3. Budget budget budget!
This is the golden key to your financial stability. Formulating the budget is not as hard as hard as it sounds. Sticking to the budget however proves to be the tricky part for most.
The successful way to stick to your budget is to see it visually. So, on a piece of paper divide the page into two columns. One column lists all your expenses and the other your income. Then compare the two. Most people will find that their expenses outweighs their income but do not be discouraged as this is the first step to become in control of your finances. You are now aware of your situation and can take the necessary steps to change the situation.
Be aware that on a daily basis many little extra expenses sneak in and this all adds up at the end of the month. This will need to be budgeted for too. On a daily basis for one month write down everything you have bought and include this in your budget going forward. You will notice that many of these small extras are unnecessary and can be cut out.
4. Avoid the debt spiral
Do not live in denial. If you suspect that you may be unable to meet your financial obligations then contact a registered Debt counsellor as soon as possible to discuss your options with one of our consultants. The advice you receive is free and invaluable to your financial stability and each individuals needs can be met with a solution that is customised to your situation. It is a misconception thought my too many that seeking help is only for those who are already in deep financial trouble.
5. Save for a rainy day
There are things in life that you simply cannot plan for and then things like buying your first house, retirement, retrenchment and illness– all of these may occur at some point, so best not leave yourself vulnerable to sudden shock when one of these occurs and you do not have the savings for them. A rule of thumb is to always have three months of your salary in a savings account to avoid any unforeseen circumstances. Sticking to this will also give you financial peace of mind.