The start of the year is a perfect time to have an honest look at your finances. Many people either panic or ignore their money problems because it’s stressful and depressing to deal with. “Don’t panic, rather calmly assess your income and what you owe to get an overall picture of your debts and commitments” says Shafeeka Anthony, marketing manager of personal-financial website JustMoney.
To help you get started on your financial wellness journey, JustMoney shares tips to help you reach your financial goals.
WORK OUT A BUDGET
The first step in financial planning is understanding what you spend your money on. The trick is to figure out a way to track your finances that works for you. Check the amount of money you have coming in, list all your regular monthly bills such as groceries, then all your variable expenses such as entertainment costs — these may change from month to month. It’s also helpful to carefully analyse your credit-card and bank statements to see where your money goes, where you have money left over, and where you can cut back.
ADJUST YOUR SPENDING
Closely monitor your spending, especially your splurge purchases. Make a list of what you really need, and only take advantage of sales and special offers if they relate to the items on your list. If the numbers still aren’t adding up, you can look at adjusting your fixed expenses, although doing so will be more difficult as these are items like rent and medical aid.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD DEBT
Acceptable debt takes in the form of a home loan and allows you to buy a flat or house for your family. However, debt is bad if it does not increase your wealth in the long term. For example, you can easily get carried away with buying the latest fashion on a clothing account, running up items on a credit card, or taking up a cash advance loan. Debt is also bad when you miss your payments and the account goes into arrears.
Please seek financial advice if these tips were not helpful and you still struggling. “If you are already deep in debt, and dreading the thought of upcoming payments, then it may be time to speak to an expert. Remember that you are not alone — get help. Consolidating your debt can reduce your monthly payments and help you pay it off,” says Anthony.
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