Savvy money moves to start building financial safety net

Amount of R50 a month can provide a valuable safety cushion

Figure out what you want to achieve financially such as saving for a holiday or planning to buy a house.
Figure out what you want to achieve financially such as saving for a holiday or planning to buy a house.
Image: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images

And just like that the holiday season is over.

Going back to reality comes in a package, which includes your finances.

How we spend over the holidays has an impact on how we start the year.

However, in my books, it does not determine how we plan to do things in months that follow to eventually end the year on a high note.

Over the past few weeks I’ve watched with a smile and joy in my heart at how a lot of people were using the festive season to look at their finances, reflect and plan for the new year.

The past year was not easy for many but taking to various social media platforms, I learnt a lot from people who shared their savings experiences.

From people making decisions to rather be broke for a month after paying off loans and retail stores accounts to those who joined savings groups or started saving on their own to secure their future.

Some people shared how they have refurbished their homes using their savings.

I was amazed at how many people still use iskotokoto 😍😍😍

Having grown up in a home where my parents kept izikotokoto, it was so heartwarming to see people open them and count their savings.

Saving R2,000 a year is better than not having any savings..
Saving R2,000 a year is better than not having any savings..
Image: 123RF

The discipline was amazing to witness.

It brought back memories of my parents doing the same and sharing their savings with all their children in December before going away for the holidays.

Other people shared how they fell off the wagon and if you are one of them, do not be discouraged. The new year comes with new opportunities and you can start afresh and set new goals.

CreditSmart Financial Services managing director Wikus Olivier agrees and says the new year is “a great opportunity to start fresh in life as well as getting your financial house in order”.

“Have you been feeling a bit lost, disconnected or unorganised concerning your finances lately? Then, embrace the opportunity to kickstart 2024 as your best ‘financial year’ yet by implementing these simplistic, yet impactful, money moves to get you on track,” says Olivier.

Oliver gives us savvy money moves for 2024: 

Define your money goals and financial plan with realistic projections: Figure out what you want to achieve financially (this includes short-term and long-term goals). Whether you want to save for a holiday or if you are planning to buy a house, for example. Add a reasonable timeline that goes with each goal as this can keep you motivated to move onto each goal within your overall, outlined financial plan.

Identify different types of spending amounts (groceries, holiday/breakaways, education costs/studies etc.) within your monthly budget: Think of your budget as a puzzle. Instead of treating all your expenses as one big piece, break them into smaller parts, like groceries, holidays or school costs. Focus on particular pieces of the puzzle each month. For example, in January, you might need to use a part of your monthly budget for school supplies and extracurricular activities, while in April, it could include extra grocery costs for stocking up on toiletries and cleaning supplies again. By dividing your budget into manageable “chunks”, you’ll have a clear spending limit for each specific need every month.

Don’t wait for the storm to hit – start building your financial safety net: Life can be full of surprises, and emergencies can pop up when you least expect them. Begin setting aside money for an emergency fund as early as possible. Even small amounts, like R50 a month, can add up over time and provide a valuable safety cushion when you need it most. The key is to get started, no matter how modest the contribution, so that you climb your way to financial resilience.

Make saving money a fun game by trying out different challenges: You can experiment with a “no eating out challenge”, where you cook at home for, say the first quarter of the year or take on a ‘savings boost challenge” to see how much extra money you can squirrel away. Make use of your special bank to save card perks, for example, or suitable reward programmes. The key is to take “saving money” challenges seriously and creatively show your commitment to save whenever and however you can.

Smart money management is the way to go – develop good money habits: Smart money management includes all the above money moves and more. Consistent habits and a disciplined approach to spending, saving or investing can pave the way for long-term financial stability. So, avoid any impulse purchases – before you buy something, ask yourself if it’s a “need” or a “want” and reflect on (or experience) the consequences. It’s a habit that you won’t regret and perhaps the smartest money move you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Smart money management all the way!

Tackle your debt head-on: When you pay off your debt (bit by bit like using a snowball method or tackling your high interest rated debt first via the avalanche method), you not only reduce your stress levels, but you also open the door to focus on your various financial goals within your 2024 (or future) financial plan. To add to your motivation, don’t neglect to regularly check your credit report (it’s like your financial report card) and stay informed about your financial standing. If, however, you are already feeling overwhelmed and stuck because of your debt situation, a regulated, legal debt solution can be your way to go.

“Start your 2024 year off on the right foot by using these practical moves to help you lay the foundation for a financially secure future. This new year can be your success story towards improving your financial wellbeing and situation. Start now, stick with the basics and reap the benefits of your smart money moves throughout 2024 and beyond,” says Olivier.

We all have the power to change our financial situations based on decisions we make regarding managing our finances, developing good money habits and importantly starting savings.

Saving R2,000 a year is better than not having any savings.

Do not compare yourself to others but use their experiences to motivate yourself to do better.

Remember to set your own targets and learn to be OK if you cannot make equal payments every month. However, make sure you reach your target.

Here’s to starting savings, sticking to the plan and reaching targets.

Love, light and money!


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