Managing your household finances and making ends meet at the end of the month can prove to be a challenge.
But readjusting your budget once a year – just as the finance minister does – can make it a lot easier, says Old Mutual Head of Financial Education, John Manyike.
“In the same way that the national government takes a hard look at the state of the economy every February, and puts measures into place to strengthen it, consumers need to reassess their challenges and opportunities annually,” Manyike advises.
He says that being “money smart” has become more important than ever to ensure that consumers survive the stress of month-end.
To help you create a shockproof household budget, Manyike shares seven tips:
1. Commit to a budget – Compile a comprehensive household budget and stick to it, advises Manyike. Minimise unrealistic demands and expectations.
2. Keep your family healthy – Plan healthy meals for your family, including lunchboxes for school and work. This helps avoid overspending on takeaways, said Manyike.
Having a healthy family will keep illnesses at bay, also reducing medical expenses. It might help to cut out out sugar consumption, too, and to save on sugar tax.
3. Quit bad habits – Stop smoking and cut down on your alcohol intake. Not only will you save a lot every month, you will also avoid paying sin tax.
4. Keep saving – No matter what, don’t stop saving. Stay committed to your long-term goals and take advantage of tax-free savings options.
5. Don’t live to impress – Don’t put yourself under pressure by trying to keep up with the Joneses. Live and dress according to your means and not according to your friends’ lifestyles. (They may also be in deep debt behind the scenes).
6. Learn to say no – Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into buying things you don’t need and can’t afford.
7. Stay up to date – Take note of any taxation changes that could affect your financial decisions.