Trimming the fatty bits and giving your budget a make-over!

These days most people would agree that times are getting tougher and tougher, and with all the additional expenses that keep creeping up on you, your pockets could be starting to feel very tight. Some common everyday expenses can even be considered luxuries!

 

So how can you solve this commonly experienced problem? Should you beg your boss for a raise, start a home industry job or sell your shoe collection?
None of the above seem like great ideas, especially selling your shoes! But there is hope! I suggest that you take a bit of time to think about your attitude to finance and start next month off on the right foot. Here is a list of a few simple things you can do to try and put a few more much-needed Rands into your back pocket.

Get rid of the skeletons in your closet
If your bank account is looking a little sad and sitting on a negative balance the first step is to fix this by any means necessary. A great way to start is by cutting down on luxuries and rather paying off those balances. You could even do a little cleaning and get rid of all your unwanted items for cash! Try online platforms such as www.gumtree.co.za or stores such as Cash Converters to convert those unwanted items into cash.

Take stock
Most of the time we end up accepting expenses through the year that we forget we’ve even signed up for. Go back over your 2016 expenses and see if they are all really and truly necessary in 2017.
Do you really need to spend R300 a month on that gym membership? Chances are, if you haven’t been to the gym in the past few months you can opt for an alternative way to get in your necessary exercise and save on this bit of cash. Take a look at your internet and cellphone bills? Are there any add-ons you could possibly have removed to free up a bit of your cash?

Switch to save
I know sometimes just the thought of going through all your service provider bills (cellphone, insurance, etc.) scares the living daylights out of you, but trust me, it will definitely be worth your time.
I suggest, pour yourself a glass of wine and then going through all of your monthly expenses.
You will be very surprised to see that a lot of your service providers may have a new special on or be willing to reduce your payments.

Set your financial goals
When you set a goal, motivate yourself to reach it. For example if you are saving for a holiday then change your computer screensaver or phone background to a picture of the destination so you are constantly reminded of your goal.

Call it what it is
If you claim to be saving every month, but you leave your “savings” in your cheque account I strongly advise you to commit to actually saving! Open a proper savings account, be it a short term or long term account. Most of the time you will notice a better return on your interest meaning you’re making money by saving money!

Shopping
This is always a hard topic to address, especially with us women. When it comes to those tasty chocolates or even that beautiful pair of shoes, every now and then I find that I just have to have it all.
The key here is control; sometimes you just have to learn to say no to yourself.
However, if you are like me and the word no just doesn’t want to come out of your mouth when you see a beautiful pair of leather boots, then you can always fall back on these three words: Sales, specials and discounts!

Plan your shopping around these three things. When you are looking around for a certain item make sure you check out all the sale sections in all the stores before purchasing.
Before your do your monthly grocery shopping collect a bunch of promotion pamphlets and find the places that have your items at the best price. If you are a bit of a techie visiting www.guzzle.co.za  will make your life so much easier as it collates all the online promotion pamphlets for you!

Rather eat in
I know that having someone else prepare your meal for you can be very convenient, not to mention delicious, but it is not cost-effective to eat out all the time.
Rather pack lunch for work or stay in and make a nice home cooked meal. You will see the financial benefits very quickly.

Allocate specific amounts for specific needs
It can be very hard to stick to your budgetary allowances for going out or even for food shopping but if you have set these limits you are much less likely to exceed them than if you don’t have any limits at all! It will also help if you have set those goals we discussed earlier. It will help to make it easier to limit yourself if you have a clear goal that you are determined to achieve!

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