Tip 1: Read up on finances
Take 30 minutes once a week and read about personal finance. Read a book or a topical article. By continuously educating yourself on money matters, you will become more knowledgeable when it comes to spending it.
Tip 2: Schedule a weekly budget meeting
The only way to stick to a monthly budget is to reference and track your progress constantly. Take 15 minutes once a week (perhaps a Sunday evening or Monday morning) and check if your bank balance is on par with what it should be. If not, see where you can cut back in the week ahead.
Tip 3: Identify bad money habits
You know yourself. You know where your spending weaknesses lie. A quick reference of your monthly bank statements will also confirm this. Be honest and make a list of your bad financial habits. Now that you know what is keeping your from financial success, you can start to eliminate them.
Tip 4: Introduce good money habits one at a time
There are many great money habits that will over time make you financially responsible and stable. Introduce them one at a time. Wait until a specific habit is second nature before adding the next.
Tip 5: Pack lunches and cook cleverly
Packing work lunches and cooking cleverly at home are not only healthier but also more cost-effective. Buying a R30 – R50 daily lunch from the canteen or the take away around the office corner for example, might not seem that expensive…but over 20 working days that amount could be between R600 – R1000. By making your own lunches at home and planning meals efficiently, you can save a lot of money.
Tip 6: Don’t spend your bonus/tax refund
Spending your bonus or tax refund willy-nilly is very tempting. The bedroom revamp…a new wardrobe…a family holiday…etc. It is normal to want to spoil yourself. A great habit to learn, however, is to stick it in a savings account the moment you get it, and use it later (together with other savings) for something more valuable like your children’s education, retirement etc. Alternatively, you can use it to pay off debt so that you can reduce the monthly installments you have to pay. Not spending these extra funds immediately will cultivate a more money-conscious habit.
Tip 7: Automate your savings
By automating your savings into accounts you don’t have access to, you will start to forget about it. It is easy to save when you see it as a “must-have” expense that is deducted at the beginning of every month.
Tip 8: Create a change jar
Do you value money? How about the change at the bottom of your handbag, or the coins in your drawer at work? Learn to respect money, even in its simplest form. Create a change jar and collect all your loose change in there. Once filled, take it to the bank and pay the money into your savings. You will be surprised how much it could be.