It’s a cold world out there this June. As the thermometer temperature drops, the price of fuel and cost of living keep rising… but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Here are five ways to manage your finances a little more wisely and warmly:
Drop the bouquet
The average South African home is way too glued to the TV for their physical health – and financial health too. If you love your screen time, drop your exorbitant DSTV bouquet and look at Netflix or Showmax (or another provider) and honestly stack up the costs side by side. You’ll never go back to DSTV again. If you like to watch live sport, consider watching these matches at friends houses, or at your local pub.
Phone it in
Remember your old flip phone from years ago – the one that you (and everyone else) thought was impossibly cool? Well, that’s how all phones are going to look someday. As part of your winter finance warming, review your cellphone contract – but don’t upgrade. If there’s nothing badly wrong with your phone and it works okay, do not get a new one, no matter how shiny and awesome that new one is. One of the most powerful first steps of red-hot finances is to stop changing your phone every 18 months.
Get car smart
The ever-increasing fuel price is one of South Africans’ biggest bugbears – and expenses. Get smiles for miles when you become more creative with your commute or other transport needs, by setting up a carpool with, for example, work colleagues or parents in your area with children at the same school as yours.
Another thing to do is check with your bank at which fuel stations you can get banking points, such as eBucks or Discovery, when filling up. Then only go to those stations if you can help it, to get a marginal amount back a month. Hey, every bit helps…
Insure you get the best
One of the first things that go out of the window when budgets get tight is the so-called ‘grudge purchases’ – chief among those, insurance. But in this case, it really is penny wise and pound foolish to drop your short term insurance when the purse-strings are pulling tighter. Plenty of families have gone from wealthy, or even comfortable, to dire straits because they cancelled their insurance and then misfortune struck.
Most South Africans appreciate the value of car insurance, considering our road death statistics and the colourful manoeuvres taxi drivers pull on a daily basis, but don’t value other forms of short-term insurance.
Are you covered for household burglaries, technical problems with your phone, a handbag getting stolen, losing your motorbike keys? All these things are vital, so in reality, you cannot afford not to be insured.
However, that doesn’t mean all insurers are created equal, or the same price. Ascertain what your insurance needs are and which option best covers them and dig into the best deals you can get on insurance.
Just because you can’t afford not to have it doesn’t mean paying more than you should.
Whatever you do, don’t stop
If insurance is a grudge purchase, this next one isn’t a purchase at all – and often gets pushed to the back of the priority line until it’s much, much too late. Do not, we repeat, do not try to help out your budget by not saving for retirement. The thing with retirement is this: there will never be a better time. That’s because of compound interest – you’ll never get a better return on money invested at a later date, even far larger sums of money, than a small amount invested now. So, don’t skimp on modest sums for retirement now, and you won’t have to skimp on everything for up to twenty-five or more years of your life. Seriously.
To keep it simple, here’s a motto you can use: don’t stop saving unless you’re retired and, if you are already retired, don’t stop saving.
Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a financially toasty winter season. Enjoy!