5 Tips to Financially Survive Janu-Worry

We all know the month of January is filled with countless unavoidable worries of the financial kind. Others may feel it more than others, but we all feel it non-the-less. We make lunch boxes for the first time in weeks, we carpool to work, and we stop buying coffee at that gourmet coffee shop on the way to work and instead make it ourselves. Basically, we go into level 1 of survival mode when it comes to our finances due to the crunch we feel. Here are 5 tips to get you to the next level of survival mode this Janu-worry.

  1. Know your credit rating

Your credit rating is like a meal ticket. If it’s good it will get you the best 3-course meal money can buy but if it’s bad, you can only get a single meal a day that is less than satisfactory. Your credit rating is information that lenders use when deciding if they want you as a customer. The higher your rating, the better your chances are at getting the financial assistance you need for all the important things in life. If you do not know what your credit rating is, there is no time like right now to get the information. By seeing your rating, you can see where you stand and recover if your rating is below par.

Find out what your credit rating is for free here: https://www.clearscore.co.za/

  1. Get your debt under control

When you are in a hole you need to stop digging. The same applies to your debt. Stop unnecessary spending. I did an interesting exercise recently and took 3 months’ worth of bank statements and highlighted my spending pattern. On average I was spending between R4000 – R6000 a month on frivolous spending with nothing to show for it.  Eating out, buying snacks from the petrol station, impulse purchases and retail outlets, overspending on my food budget etc. Take a high lighter and look at your spending. See how you can cut back on those unnecessary card swipes every time you go somewhere.

  1. Get on switching

‘Switching’ is the eighth wonder of the world, yet people never do it due to their loyalty (and because it takes forever to do). But you can cut down your expenses by hundreds of Rands when you actually stop being loyal to your current providers. A depressing fact is that companies typically give the best deals to new comers. Interestingly, the longer you are with a provider, the higher your premiums are likely to be. So, switch and not only get a cheaper deal, but a better one. Who doesn’t want car insurance, entertainment, or homeowner insurance for less? Review your insurance providers, cell phone providers, bank charges etc.

  1. Start building an emergency fund now!

The budget may be tight this month but that will change as the year progresses. Building an emergency fund as soon as you can afford it is imperative. Things can and do change in an instant, including your financial state. So, having a financial safety net is the only way you can solve the issue without getting into unexpected debt in 2020. Its never to late or to early to start saving. Even R100 a month to start with.

  1. Create a budget

December is a busy month of over-spending. From presents to holidays, the meaning of the word “budget” gets lost in the rush to have a good time. Money is tight but the family’s needs must be met. Knowing exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out is the best start to reduce your financial woes. All you need to do is get all your financial records together and see where you can cut back without affecting the family’s necessities “basket.” And remember to add “savings” in your expenses column.