How To Keep Your Head Above Water

  • Saving for a rainy day was something our parents and grandparents told us as we were growing up. However, back then it didn’t seem to apply to use. That was the stuff the grown-ups had to worry about.
  • Fast forward a few years, and we are now the grown-ups. Adult life soon proves that saving for a rainy day is never a bad idea. The path of life is never as straightforward as we’d like it to be. It’s full of straight stretches. Along the way, though, there are several curves that must be navigated and mountains that must be conquered.
  • Not saving the extra money you have on hand for a time you’ll really need it is not a priority for many adults. We all have that one friend who has a crisis in the middle of the month because they needed to have car repairs done that they hadn’t budgeted for. Maybe you are that friend!

Here are some tips for people who struggle to save money:

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1. Have a fixed savings plan

Set a fixed amount you plan to save every month. You might want to put some of that into a separate bank account that you only use in an emergency. Set up a debit order that takes the money as soon as your salary is paid. Invest the balance in a savings product that your financial advisor recommends. This is a long-term savings strategy.

2. Know what you’re spending on

We tend to look at the debit orders and accounts we have under the umbrella of expenses. Write your expenses down and categorise them. Each expense must be listed as debt, necessaries, and non-essentials.

These include eating out, your daily cup of coffee on the way to work or your satellite TV package. Necessary expenses are for things like the bond, insurance, vehicle payments, school fees, etc. Look at your non-essential expenditure and see what you can do to cut it down to fund your savings efforts.

3. Be realistic in your budget

You can’t cut all non-essential spending out of your budget. Consider something like changing your daily latte experience to a weekly treat. Incorporate a set amount for non-essentials in your budget and stick to it. Keep track of how much money you spend on those little extras to make sure you don’t exceed the amount.

Review your non-essentials budget and be creative in cutting it down. It might be time to downgrade your satellite TV package, take a cheaper cell phone contract and pack lunch for work.

4. Examine your debt

Being in a debt cycle is dangerous. The only major debt you should have is your bond, your car, and insurance policies. Any other short-term loans, credit cards, and store accounts are an extra burden. Make your first priority saving extra money to pay these unnecessary debts and get rid of them.

5. Don’t assume your rainy day isn’t coming

Escalating petrol prices are passed onto the public by increases in the prices of all consumer goods. The VAT increase in 2018 has forced prices even higher. The technical recession makes the economy volatile. An interest rate hike may come when you least expect it which impacts on all your debt repayments. This is going to place a strain on your budget.

We often experience sudden unforeseen expenses such as an emergency trip to attend a funeral. You cannot afford to go into debt to fulfil your family responsibilities. This is the type of circumstance in which you’d access your emergency fund.

There’s no time like the present to start your savings campaign. Set up a separate bank account and consult a financial advisor to find a long-term savings product that works for you. Avoid dealing with rainy days by going into more debt. You’re exposing yourself to creating debt you can’t pay which can lead to a nasty run-in with the Credit Bureau.

  • It’ never too late to start savings. Set aside money in a separate bank account and have a long-term savings plan.
  • Take a hard look at your non-essential expenses and cut down on them where you can.
  • Settle unnecessary debt as soon as you can.
  • Your rainy day is inevitable – the best thing you can do is be prepared.

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