Updated: Jul 16
Negociate Credit Solutions - Lauren Heekes
When you have choices, CHOOSE the best. When you believe you have no choice, DO your best.
American Motivational Writer Rosalene Clickman
Ditch the excuses.
Everyone is guilty of making excuses when it comes to curbing unnecessary expenses.
Just think about the last time you said, “I can't cut that expense out because (insert your excuse here).””
The problem with making excuses is that it can hold you back from reaching your life goals and living the life you want.
Next time you think that you can't go without a certain expense, be realistic with yourself.
For example - Do you really need the latest smart phone that comes with an expensive 24 month contract? This contract is locking you into an agreement that doesn’t take into account your future earnings. If things go south, how will you pay for it? The consequences of not servicing this agreement will be damaging to your credit history. It is also subtracting from the much needed “emergency fund” or savings that you should be contributing to. You’ll be far better off with an emergency fund when unforeseen expenses occur. AND they always occur.
Your friend has just bought a new car. She earns the same income as you do. So therefore if she can afford it so can you. Right? Wrong. You have no idea how this person is paying for it. Maybe they saved for years, or maybe they are financing the vehicle with hefty balloon payment.
By comparing, you could be backing yourself into a financial corner. Instead, be realistic with your financial situation. Can you truly afford this car, maintenance and insurance? Consider the benefit of driving your current vehicle a little longer and putting some money into an investment instead.
Be happy with what you have.
The next time you think that you can't survive without something, stop and ask yourself if that is really true. Take a minute to look around at your environment and acknowledge how lucky you actually are.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life and have a good time. Money doesn't have to dictate how much you enjoy life.
The less money you spend, the less you need.
By spending less money, you'll decrease the amount of money you need in the future. This includes money for emergency funds, retirement, and more.
This mentality will also help you to build up your financial goals faster. If you get used to living a thrifty existence now, then you will be used to living on less in the future too. This means that your retirement savings doesn’t have to be as large, which means that it will be easier to reach your goals.
Don’t let your wants turn into needs.
Acknowledge that you are converting certain wants into needs and this is costing you a lot of money. What do I mean?
Some examples of the things that we want that we convert into needs in our heads are:
1. Water - Do you really need to buy bottled water or flavoured water.
2. Food – Do you really need to eat out or buy snacks for lunch at work.
3. Clothing – Do you really need to buy expensive clothing or branded items.
If you put your mind to it, you are probably converting many other things that are costing you money.
Here are some thrifty ways to curb unnecessary spending:
1. Plan one special dinner in advance and put it in your calendar. This will give you something to look forward to. It will also put an end to going out willy nilly without budgeting for it, which inevitably puts a strain on your bank account.
2. The most common money drains are spur-of-the-moment splurges. Before you think about splurging take the money you would have spent and put it into your emergency fund. When unforeseen expenses occur you will be glad you did.
3. Have a family meeting. Encourage everyone – including your kids – to bring their wish list to the table. Discuss ways to save for those items. Do a story board that you can display as a reminder of that wish list. This will probably put an end to splurges as there will be a visual reminder of the goal.
4. Involving your children in drawing up the budget is a lifelong gift. Draw up a menu for the week and the grocery shopping required for that menu. Take them with you to the store so that they can understand the cost of living and of putting food on the table. Compare prices. They will probably come up with great low cost meals that you might not have thought of.
5. That evening glass of wine. Think of replacing alcohol with delicious homemade iced tea or other low cost beverages.
6. Cooking utilises a lot of electricity. Save on electricity costs by investigating appliances like The Instant Pot or the Wonderbag.
7. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money. But stock lying in your grocery cupboard is a waste of money. Take a friend with you when you shop to benefit from deals like 2 for 1 etc.
8. You will always forget something on your shopping list, but research shows that fewer trips to the store are the best ways to curb unnecessary spending. Oh, and don’t go shopping when you are hungry. That’s another way to buy food you didn’t budget for.
9. Team up with a colleague at work to make lunch. Take turns in bringing lunch to work. That way you get to eat something different every other day and you will be saving on spending off the trolley or ordering take outs.
10. Put online purchase items into your wish list and leave them there until they can benefit from sales or a voucher promotion. Most online stores have at least one sale a month.
11. Check your statements for any hidden charges or policies that you forgot about that you no longer need. I did this exercise with a client and she cut R1,200 per month from her budget.
12. Get organised. Go through your home and put aside items you no longer use. Sell them on second hand platforms and put this into a tax free savings account or 32-day call account.
About the Author
Lauren is currently a registered member of the National Credit Regulator. Prior to that, she worked as a Financial and Technical consultant for McGregor-BFA (Now INET-BFA). McGregor-BFA provided Financial Advice, Trading and Market related data as well as Investment management software to various Asset Managers, University Business Schools and Investment entities. Thereafter experience was advanced to the Property Market working as a Project Manager for Propertyi. But it was actually her career at the IEB in Adult Education that inspired a passion of hers to educate consumers about responsible ways of managing their financial lives and the long term advantages of doing so. It is her belief that financial education should be taught from an early age. By doing so we can create a country that is truly economically stable with consumers that are driven not only by work ethics, but by becoming Financially Independent.
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