Make time for your finances this festive season (Part 1)
Being home is best time to get a good overall view of your finances. Make the time to do this over the holiday season.
Track your expenses and draw up a budget.
Write down everything you buy. Keep all your slips neatly and start recording every cent you spend. This is a great exercise to do. Often, you will be surprised by just how much you are really spending on “the little things”
Prioritise (Wants and needs)
Daily necessities as well as school fees, school uniforms and stationery should be top of mind right now. Everything else is not a priority.
- Be honest with yourself, and differentiate your wants from your needs.
- There is no shame in not being able to afford something.
Stop all and any unnecessary spending.
Now is not the time for “too much” Some people get into the mindset of “things are bad, I’ll feel better if I spoil myself and my kids”.
This is not a good approach, especially if you are unsure of having an income in the upcoming months. We literally can’t survive on love and fresh air.
Bored? Dig out the paperwork
Set aside the time to start digging out all your financial contracts and paperwork.
- Go through the paperwork and make a note of who you owe what to.
- Have a look at what your interest rates for every debt is. If you can afford to, then pay back the most expensive ones (the ones with the higher interest rates) first.
- Examine your contracts for credit and life insurance.
- Check out how long you still have to be paying on all your accounts.
Get a credit report
- Every South African consumer is entitled to one free credit report from every credit bureau, once a year. Make the effort to get yours.
Draw up a budget
- Drawing up a budget may seem boring, but it is a valuable tool in helping you manage your finances.
- Don’t keep your budget in your head. It doesn’t work.
- Rather write it down on paper, do it on your PC or use one of the many free budgeting apps available.
- Sometimes you need your financial situation to stare you in the face.
Talk to your children about the financial situation in the house.
- If things are tough and there needs to be a tightening of belts, then you children must be aware of the situation.
- You don’t have to tell them how much you earn, but you can indicate to them if you can’t afford a big ticket or name- brand item they might want right now. Give them a timeframe. Tell them it might only be possible in 6 month’s time. This will stop them from repeatedly asking for something that isn’t possible.
- Explain to them that things have become more expensive, and that they should participate in trying to save money.