You may find yourself constantly bombarded on how you should manage your finances, but it is easier said than done.
The truth is it's a lifelong balancing act that you will have to maintain. However, there are a few financial mistakes that you can learn from without having to go through the costly journey yourself. These are the three golden rules that can help boost your finances and see you making money-smart moves.
Before we start
Please note that this does not constitute as financial advice, but a general guideline. It is important to speak to an accredited financial advisor who will be able to advise you based on your situation to find a solution that will be best suitable for you.
Always know where you stand
Setting a financial goal is the first part, but what will play a significant part in turning your financial situation is understanding where you always stand. What this means is being honest and realistic with your current financial situation and using what is available to help catapult you forward.
It will also help you avoid taking on unnecessary debt which 80% of South Africans currently find themselves at, or dipping into your savings to make it to the end of the month. Be honest with yourself on what you can and cannot afford. It will make budgeting easier and help you save a couple of Rands that can be used in areas that need a boost.
Avoid robbing your future self
The thought of stretching your finances on an already thin budget that has been exasperated by the pandemic can be difficult. However, robbing your future self by not paying yourself first can be a costly mistake that can take years for some people to recover from.
According to a recent survey by Deloitte, South Africans are more stressed about their finances than COVID. The data revealed that 41% of South Africans do not have sufficient income to sustain their expenses.
Paying yourself first means finding affordable policies and investments like retirement funds, stocks and life insurance policies that you can use when you need them the most. But the key is to start small. Taking on too much too soon can prove to be a financial strain, especially when you are faced with a financial curveball.
Start with saving an amount you can maintain monthly, followed by an emergency fund, before you compare policies and investments that would be most suitable to your situation. It may be hard at first, but it is something your future self will thank you for.
Use Debt to your advantage
Yes, it is possible to use good debt in your favour. This could be in the form of taking out a loan with a good interest rate to buy a car that you can use for business or finally starting a side hustle.
Good debt is essentially when you borrow money for something that will see you reaping the benefits more than what you borrowed. Should you already find yourself struggling with debt, then taking on more debt will not be suitable.
Always keep in mind that borrowed money is not free money, but money that will have to be paid back with interest. Focus on reducing your debt. Start small and work your way to the larger amounts. Find ways in which you can cut back to give you some breathing room.
It will be crucial to consult with a financial planner to find a solution that will be tailored for your current situation. At the end of the day, it is always vital to make financial decisions that will work for you because no two financial journeys are the same.