Budget & Discipline Your Way to Money Mastery (Amidst Financial Changes)Submitted by: Carla Oberholzer
As you and your fellow South Africans await the upcoming budget speech announcements to be made by Finance Minister, Mr Enoch Godongwana, Wikus Olivier, the managing director at CreditSmart Financial Services, urges you to be proactive when it comes to your personal financial situation and approach. By adjusting your budget accordingly and implementing the required steadfast discipline along your financial way, you can ensure yourself money mastery success even when having to deal with some changes and disruptions during your journey.
“You may not be able to prevent events and external decision-made implications from happening BUT it is crucial to keep tabs on your personal money management. Be strict not to exceed your ‘financial boundaries’, regularly overlook your situation, and tweak your budget to try and leave some room to best deal with financial changes that come your way and affect your cash flow,” highlights Olivier.
“Consider these practical tips to help you take on a disciplined budgeting approach through thick and thin,” encourages Olivier:
Assess your current financial state.
Download your last three (3) months’ bank statements and put your inspector hat on. Review your income amount, various expenses, debts, and savings or investments to identify your current reality and certain areas for urgent improvement. You can also download your credit score from a reputable platform (for free each year according to the law), or do a Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI) calculation to see where you are at:
Your total debt amount (all your debts added up)
Divided (÷) by your gross salary (amount before deductions) and
multiply (x) by 100
Your Debt-To-Income-Ratio percentage (%)
**If the calculated percentage is above 40% you must seek ways to improve your financial standing and lower your debt. If it is above 60% you are experiencing a big red flag and can ten to one be classified as being over-indebted. Seek and implement an ideal solution that can help improve your situation and current standing.
Create a realistic budget outline & adjust it as needed.
List, amend, and refine your budget each month according to your various responsibilities and the financial changes that may occur. Search for useful educational material and an available, easy-to-use template or app that can work for you (if you are not using a helpful tool already). As a start, don’t wait – set up a simplistic budget outline and ‘fill in your personal-picture-portrayal gaps’:
Money in/Net salary (income after deductions) and include/add any extra income amounts like commission, rent, if you are a homeowner, or your side-hustle boost amount to your ‘money in’ total.
Money out/Expenses (various debts or obligations, service agreements, and living costs, for example.)
Savings (short-term savings, an emergency fund, or long-term savings like investments, and annuities – note, not included in your net salary already.)
= (equals a surplus or minus total/number.)
** If the calculated amount reflects a surplus (+) amount, you can pay off your debt (bit by bit) or add to your emergency fund and other saving initiatives. But if the amount reflects a minus (–) you need to be proactive and identify as well as deal with the problem. Don’t forget to always try and implement ways to lower your debt.
Regularly check in with your accountability partner via a ‘budget meeting’.
Appoint someone reliable in your circle to support and keep you responsible concerning your budget, spending, and other financial habits. This is a key initiative to help you improve your behaviour and reach your money goals. Have a check-in every month (or second month) and enjoy your involvement and commitment. This can be a big win towards a sound financial future.
Endure, Stay Disciplined & Make Your Way Through Financial Changes.
Apart from trying high and low to stick to your disciplined budgeting habits or money management approach, think resilience and remind yourself that you can succeed even when curveballs (for example, a money-reliant emergency, interest rate increase, fuel price hike, or grocery price change) creeps in to disrupt your set-out plan.
Try to stay positive and proactive – go back to the drawing board and see what you can change within your budget. Take an intentional look at what else you can do to up your money or lower your debt and unnecessary spending (for example, cutting subscriptions or those ‘spending leaks’) instead. If you have no choice – ask registered and preferred professionals to walk the walk alongside you to support your journey. Change and how you deal with the change (or challenge) are equally important. But having the support that goes along with these tasks, may just be the game-changer that you require to successfully achieve true money mastery.
“Explore the above recommendations as you continue your year and journey, to not only master your money situation but to also stay resilient when dealing with various challenges that may affect your budget and financial situation,” concludes Olivier.
CreditSmart Financial ServicesCarla Oberholzer
CreditSmart Financial Services (Pty) Ltd (est. 2018) is a registered Financial Services Provider (FSP 52295) dedicated to improving South African consumers’ financial well-being. Our comprehensive solutions cover credit, debt, and financial management, empowering clients to optimise cash flow, eliminate bad debt, enhance credit scores, foster positive financial habits, and achieve lasting financial relief. With a team of expert advisors and registered Debt Counsellors (NCRDC 3143), we offer tailored products and services throughout the credit-to-debt cycle, including credit (life) cover and short-term insurance. Trust CreditSmart for effective debt and credit management. For more information, visit www.creditsmart.co.za or dial 012 054 5755.
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