At 22seven, we love budgeting and planning ahead. Not sure where to begin? Here’s how to get your bucks in a row so that you can have a stress-free 2022.
Start with the basics
You can’t plan for spending or saving if you don’t know what you have to spend in the first place. Work out what you owe (car loan, store card etc.), what your fixed expenses are (school fees, insurance, rent etc.) and estimate how much you’ll earn this year. This will give you a clear idea of what you have to work with.
Budget for each month
Use the 22seven app to review your 2021 spending habits. Check which categories attracted the most spending and note the months where you went over budget. This will help you set a realistic budget for 2022.
Remember that your budget is not just for recurring expenses. You need to consider day-to-day expenses and exceptions, too. Here’s an example of what to plan for:
Plan to save, not just spend
Once you know what you need to pay and where you can cut some expenses, it’s time to look at saving, investing and most importantly, paying off debt. Start with the most expensive debt — the loan with the highest interest rate. Once you’ve flattened that, you can start looking to the future and financial growth!
‘Saving’ can include putting money into an emergency fund, or towards a big purchase in your future like a deposit on a car or home, or a wedding. ‘Investing’ can include a tax-free savings account, unit trusts, or a retirement annuity.
If you can’t find a gap in your budget to save, review your budget again and cut even more. Here are some ideas to free up money. Give them a bash in January and enjoy the benefits for the rest of the year.
• Shop around for better car insurance. Your premium increases annually, but your car’s value decreases. Get some quotes for a lower premium and use them as leverage to reduce your current premium, or simply switch providers.
• Do you need the things you think you need? Are you really going to use your gym membership this year, or will you be better off with an extra R1 000 in your pocket each month and more outdoor time to exercise?
• Life insurance and your home loan… If you have life insurance to cover your home loan, remember that your loan amount decreases while your premium continues to climb. Call your provider and ask them to lower your cover, and therefore your premium, to match the outstanding balance.
• Medical aid. Review your medical aid plan. Are you paying too much for unnecessary benefits? Read more here.
• Do you need Platinum? The bank card looks cool, but how often do you really use the airport lounge? You might be better served with a cheaper bank account. Check out South Africa’s most affordable options here.
• Ditch the contract. Pay as you go usually works out cheaper than a cellphone contract. And BTW, your old phone works fine, you don’t need a new one every two years!
Automation for the win
Once you’ve decided how much you want to save, invest and repay on loans this year, set up debit orders to make sure the payments are made automatically. This will help you pay on time, take the hassle out of the process and keep you 100% on track. Your credit score will thank you.
Get 2022 off to a flying start. Link all your accounts to 22seven, use the app to get a grip on your finances, and give yourself a big pat on the back!