Does this sound familiar? Every month you sit down and fill in a form or spreadsheet with all your expenses and so on. You set money aside that should go to your savings account, and you have a clear indication of how much you can spend. You’ve created a masterpiece of a budget. Then, suddenly, it’s the second week of the month, and you’re scraping money together to put petrol in your car; and by the third week, you’ve spent your planned savings.
Don’t feel too bad; this happens to us all. But as this is the year to be better, we, at GetMore, are not statified with this kind of budget plan. Thus, we’ve done some digging and spoken to our financial experts about how you can stick to your budget.
Keep your eyes open
You can’t just create a monthly budget and then hope things will go according to plan. Revisit it once a week or so, to ensure you are still on track.
It’s a lot of admin, but it’ll give you a great overview of where you go wrong. Whenever you spend money (even R5 for the car guard) write it down, also note what your bank fees are – how much you pay per transaction, those small numbers add up quickly. Create different columns for cash, credit card and debits.
No one wants to be Dull Jack, but there are times you just have to say no. When you can’t afford to go out with your friends, either suggest a more affordable option or sit the round out. You should enjoy your life, but you need to be responsible about it.
Let something go
Do you have a hobby or a habit that is not doing your finances any favours? Maybe it’s time to let them go or assess how you’re doing them. If you love building model aeroplanes, can you really afford a new one every month? Do you smoke or go out for drinks three times a week? All these add up.
Yes, nobody wants to spend their Friday night planning next week’s meals, but it can save you lots of money and time. By knowing what you want to cook and when, you can shop in bulk and in advance, so no more hungry-shopping trips after work. Also, you can go to greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers – you can find the best ingredients and more often than not it’s cheaper than at a supermarket. Best of all, you can make enough to take food to work and stop buying your lunches.
The 48-hour rule
Think before you spend. Before you make an expensive purchase, take the time to think about it. If you still desperately want it in 48 hours, then you can buy it. Also, if you’re unwilling to pay full price for a sale item, you don’t really want it, so put the shoes back.
Why buy something if you can make it? Why do you need to call a guy if you can fix it? Yes, there are certain things you really should not attempt yourself, but putting the cupboard door back? We have faith in you. Creating something yourself will help you save money, let your creative juices flow and give your home a personal identity.
Set an allowance
After all the bills are paid, give yourself a weekly limit that includes food, petrol, etc. and stick to it. Don’t borrow money from the next week. If you really want something, but you don’t have the money for it – save to buy it next week. One way to stick to your allowance is to draw the cash so you can only spend that much.
You have to look further than just shopping. Review how you are using things. Fix the leaking pipe, scrape out the very last bit in the jar, switch off the lights, fix the torn shirt (or use it as a cleaning rag) or pack your half-eaten dinner for lunch. Try to get more out of the money you spend.
If you know what you’re saving for or putting money aside for, it’ll be easier for you to do. By keeping your end goal in mind, you’ll be more motivated to tighten your belt. Keep picturing yourself on the beach, in a new house or just living debt-free, and the next time your friends want to go out, declining the offer won’t be as heartbreaking.
We’re here to help you with your motor finance, tax concerns, advice on how to stretch your budget, and anything in between. So, visit us online, use our GetMore Plus app or call 084 11 438 48, and our financial experts will help you.