Spring into a financially savvy summer

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

As the weather warms up, there are 2 questions that weigh heavily on our minds. First is, “How am I going to afford a fabulous summer vacation?” and second is, “How am I going to fit into that bathing suit I bought last summer?”

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to grab a fresh bill of wellness, with the season of spring cleaning. Done right, the spring-cleaning trifecta will tick all these boxes:

  • Deep-clean your home to improve physical wellness.
  • Declutter your world for mental happiness.
  • Refresh your budget for financial greatness.

To achieve the first 2, all you need is some elbow grease to clean and re-organise your life, but the financial spring clean requires introspection, planning and commitment.

Wynand van Vuuren, head of legal at King Price, shares 5 things you can do right now to dredge up some mad money for a financially savvy life (or a wicked holiday).

Take stock

You’ve heard this countless times… Putting together a budget is one sure way to climb the ladder to financial freedom by curbing unnecessary spending. Print out the last 3 months of bank statements. You’ll be surprised how much you spend on some nondescript items, and will easily be able to identify areas for improvement.

As soon as you have an understanding of what you’re (really) spending your money on, then you’ll be able to identify ways of tweaking it to match your true needs.

Bulk up your wad

Now that you have a good understanding of your spendable monies, set up a scheduled transfer to put away a wad of cash every month. That way you ensure that you save before you spend.

Savings allow you to proactively live your life, because we all have ‘rainy days’. And if you haven’t saved enough money for these eventualities, you might find yourself creating debt to get by.

Pay back the money!

While it’s great to be able to save, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have loads of savings if your debt hole is deeper than your moneybox is wide. Always try to pay off all debt as quickly as you can first, because you’d be shocked at how much interest it accumulate.

To master this, work out your interest rates across all your debt and pay off the 1 debt that’s costing you the most each month. Also, if you bought your car through bank financing, try to pay more than you’re required to each month. This way you’ll be paying off the actual debt and not so much the interest. 

Stay away from bad debt

‘Low interest’ credit cards and overdrafts might seem enticing, but be sure you use them only when necessary and ensure that you take out an amount you can afford to pay back. Then, make sure you pay it back each month. 

Have a back-up plan

Remember those unforeseen eventualities you need to save for? Well if you own high-value items, chances are you can’t afford to depend on your savings alone. Imagine having to pay to fix damage to your car after an accident, or worse, not being able to replace your car after a theft or hi-jacking. Good car insurance also includes third party cover, which protects you in the event that your car injures people or damages their property. 

“The importance of ensuring that your high-value belongings and property are covered by a reputable insurer, for their replacement value, can’t be over-emphasised. So, make sure you get insurance to cover you for those unplanned events,” says van Vuuren. “Having that ‘uncle’ you can call in case of theft or accidents gives you peace of mind. And insuring with an insurer who believes that price is king is even better.”

Don’t wait for the new years’ resolutions to roll around, make long-term changes now, and enjoy the ultimate financially savvy summer.

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