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Cutting costs in the new year

Posted: 09 Jan 2015

4 mins to read

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No matter how good we think we are with money, we all need helpful tips and tricks when it comes to budgeting for the New Year.

Tips for a prosperous 2015

Seeing as you have probably indulged a little too much in spoiling yourself and your loved ones this past Holiday Season, here are some tips to help you become more prosperous in 2015.

Get debt-savvy. Pay more than your minimum instalment due

Paying extra on your instalment every month will have you paying off your debt with less interest and in a shorter amount of time. Consider paying off your accounts that have higher interest charges first. This will, in the longer run, ensure that you can be on the right road to saving more. Many creditors charge service fees (some amounting to R50 excl. VAT!) every month. By paying those accounts first, you save R50 that you could use to pay off other accounts or even better, you can put towards your savings! Remember, that it is not as important to focus on closing and clearing all your accounts – credit can be an asset when used responsibly. A healthy credit score is as important as eating healthy meals for a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle.

Cash or Debit Order?

Another way you can get those extra pennies for saving is to set up your instalment payments over debit order. Cash withdrawals actually cost you in bank charges and bank visits also takes up your time to be productive and earn more money. No one enjoys standing in a queue for 3 hours on a Saturday morning! With debit orders in place, you won’t forget to pay on time and even better, you’ll have a stress free weekend and more ka-ching in your wallet.

Keep track of your weekly spending

We know that tracking your expenses on a monthly basis can be hard enough. However, as much as this sounds slightly over the top, keeping tabs on your weekly spending will make you more aware of how and where you are spending the most. After the month has passed, you won’t be scratching your head asking, “Where did the money go?” Here are some helpful tips to help you save money on a weekly basis:
  • Keep and assess your slips
  • Pack your own lunch meals from home
  • Bring your own tea / coffee to the office instead of buying take-away
  • Make a weekly shopping list and stick to it. This will help you to avoid buying unnecessary items from the supermarket
  • Keep an eye out for coupons or specials

Still not saving? Take it one step further:

  • Look around the house: Is there something you have just lying around that you can sell? One man's trash is another man's treasure. For every new thing you might buy, make a policy to get rid of an old thing that you don’t need.
  • Hide your credit and store cards and only use them once you have cleared them. Only then can you reward yourself with something special.
  • Use less electricity – unplug any devices you aren't using. Try and use less water too. (For example, avoid fill up the kettle every time you want to make a cup of coffee.)
  • Try and cut on cell phone calls. Rather SMS or send a Whatsapp message to your friends.
  • Look for cheaper entertainment options. Have a game night with the family at home with some homemade popcorn instead of going to your local steak restaurant.
  • Try and buy in bulk. This is often cheaper than buying only one item at a time. Maybe you could do this with another family so that you split the costs?
  • Cancel your TV or satellite service for a short time until you are able to afford it again.
  • Carpool if you drive to and from work. If this isn't possible then drive slower, as this will cut down your fuel expenses.
  • Use rechargeable batteries instead of buying new ones.
  • Quit smoking. This will not only be great for your health, but also great for your wallet!
  • Make one day a week a 'no spend' day where you will not spend any money.
  • While you try and reduce your expenses, find ways to increase your income.