With the summer around the corner, many people are hitting the gyms to get their bodies back into shape after all the winter indulgences. While you’re on a drive to better your body, why not use your new-found energy to whip your budget into shape as well?
1. It’s in the details
You may have a household budget drawn up to keep track of all the large expenses, but have you every stopped to consider how much your daily extras add up to per month? Let’s take the classic coffee-scenario: You buy yourself a cup of coffee every morning on your way to work. Each cup costs R20. Assuming that there are 22 working days in the month on average, your little luxury costs you R440 per month. That’s R5 280 per year – just on coffee! Rather buy a reusable coffee cup and make your java at home.
2. Make saving a priority
We all understand how important it is to save on a regular basis – but there never seems to be any money left over at the end of the month! Now that you are saving that R5 280 per year, make sure you don’t spend it on something else. Set up a debit or stop order to deduct your savings from your account at the start of the month, and then budget from there. It’s easier to save when you never see the money, and it ensures that your savings actually go towards savings.
3. Cook in batches
When cooking, make sure to double or even triple the quantities you are preparing. You will save on electricity costs by not cooking every night and also by buying ingredients in bulk. Having pre-prepared frozen home cooked meals in the freezer also means that you will always have something to pack for lunch – eliminating the need for expensive fast food meals.
4. Use cash
Paying with a card dissociates you from the money you are spending. A great way to counter this (albeit a little riskier) is to carry cash. Once you’ve set up your budget, go to an ATM and withdraw the money you have to spend for the month. By portioning the money into envelopes to be spent on specific expenses like groceries, entertainment, etc., you will be able to see exactly where every rand goes. You can do this on a monthly or weekly basis – whatever suits you best.
5. Settle debt
Debt can be very expensive with payments seriously impacting your budget in a negative way if not handled correctly. Where possible, always pay more than the minimum amount on your debt per month. This way, you will be paying back more towards the balance, leading to less interest the following month.
If you feel that your debt has become an overwhelming burden and is standing between you and a healthy budget, you can contact Debt Rescue for help.