Spring is in the air, and while we get ready to
embrace the warm days of summer, we should also brace ourselves for the
financial challenges that lie ahead.
A new survey conducted by Debt Rescue revealed that
85% of consumers polled said that their financial situation was adversely
affected by Covid-19. 45% of respondents said they’d been affected by either
retrenchment, temporary layoffs or salary reductions, with many of them
resorting to measures like digging into their savings, relying on credit and
applying for payment holidays.
The aftermath of Covid-19 has dealt consumers with
a major financial blow. Keeping budgets in check has become more important than
Whether you are still coping, or staring a full-blown crisis in the face, there
are quite a few practical things that you can do to spring clean your budget
and streamline it to save anything from a couple of hundred to thousands of Rands.
Here are 10 tips for reviving and refreshing your finances:
1. Update your income and expenses
If the last time you reviewed your budget was in
January, consider the significant changes that have taken place since then,
like inflation on the cost of goods, energy tariff hikes and the petrol price
increases. An up-to-date budget gives you a good idea of where you need to save
more, or where you now have a couple of Rands free to pay off debt a bit
2. Be smart with your spending
It’s not always easy to keep track of your
spending, especially when making payments and purchases happens at the tap of a
card or a click of the mouse. Luckily, advancements in technology have also
made tracking your spending easy too. Take advantage of the various budget
planners and apps that are available like MyFinancialLife and Spending Tracker. Also make sure to always shop around first
to make sure that you get the best value for money.
3. Make some changes behind the wheel
There’s nothing you can do about the petrol price
increase but there are things you can do to help your tank go further. Did you
know that at 110km/h your car uses up to 25% more fuel than it would cruising
at a more moderate 90km/h? Add to this: keeping a safe following distance,
avoiding harsh braking and acceleration, and regular vehicle maintenance
checks, and you could reduce your fuel spend significantly. According to
the Department of Energy in the US, smart driving could increase your fuel
economy by as much as 40%!
4. Update your insurance
Now’s the perfect time to ensure that your home
contents insurance is up-to-date. If you’ve bought new items for your home, the
amount you’re currently insured for may not be sufficient and you could be
underinsured. On the flipside, some items may have devalued, you may have sold
items or downsized and may want to reduce your home contents cover, which could
save you a substantial amount of money
5. Delete unnecessary and outdated fees
Are you paying membership fees for a gym you never
go to? Fees for a bank account you no longer use? This is wasted money that
could be going towards saving or paying off debt, so cancel these to free up
6. Budget for debt repayments
From credit cards to store cards, it’s easy to get
carried away buying on credit. Go through all your statements and pay off
outstanding debts or at least put a plan in place to do so. It’s a good idea to
pay off debt with the highest interest rate first. So if you have a mortgage
bond at an interest rate of 10%, a retail card at a rate of 20% and a personal
loan at a rate of 25%, pay off the loan first.
7. Kick bad habits
From piling up paperwork and not keeping accurate
records, to slacking on saving, we’ve all done it from time to time but when it
becomes a habit, it’s time to take action and make a change. So wherever there
are areas to improve, like brushing up on your admin skills or revisiting your
saving goals, there’s something that each of us can do to improve our financial
8. Compromise and reprioritise
Those designer sneakers, pricey takeaways and
online shopping splurges… they all add up and sometimes that leaves you making
compromises where you shouldn’t. So to ensure you have enough money for the
things you and your family need first, and then compromise on the things you
want – find a more affordable deal, do without the sneakers or have less
takeaway meals a month.
9. Reap from your rewards programmes
Many of us are part of loyalty programmes offered
by entities from banks and supermarkets to healthcare providers. Understanding
how to make the most out of these programmes is critical to really enjoying
their benefits – from earning the most amount of points to receiving the
highest possible discount or cash back. Read the terms and conditions and
frequently asked questions on the relevant websites to ensure you know exactly
how and when you should be rewarded.
10. Stick to your saving goals
Saving is hard but it’s not impossible! There
are many different ways to save from setting up a monthly debit order to an
investment account and opening a tax-free savings account to increasing your
pension fund contribution. It’s best to build savings into your budget as a
non-negotiable monthly expense, which should help you to be more disciplined
and save more.
Implementing simple changes like taking advantage
of technology, kicking bad habits and saying goodbye to unnecessary expenses
will go a long way to regaining and maintaining control of your budget –
putting the spring back in your financial step.
For assistance with your insurance premium savings- please call our office on 031-5021922 or visit
our website www.esbrokers.co.za.
Article source – iafrica.com, written by Susan Steward of