The world looks more than a bit topsy-turvy today than it did a few months ago, that’s for sure. How has the lockdown been treating you (and your loved ones) so far? It is not very easy or ‘user-friendly’ to deal with a lockdown period. Just the practicality of it can be unnerving, yet implemented for a very good reason. You and other South Africans can endure and overcome this difficult situation. And, honour and respect the President, citizens and yourself in the process. It is, therefore, an ideal time to try and manage that which you can try to keep in ‘control’. Think in the line of your finances and financial situation. How are you currently managing your money during lockdown? Any success yet?
It is during times like these you should reflect on important money matters. And, to try and keep your mini-economy stable, even though the world or the outside is going bonkers. Now is not the time to ignore your financial responsibilities, but to rather be proactive instead. It is as good a time as ever to revise and manage your money situation.
Here are three thought-worthy tips on how to do just that – ideas on how to thriftily manage your money during this lockdown period:
First things first – keep calm and work with what you have available currently.
You can access your latest bank statement, correct? So, start working with that. What are your expenditures (outgoings) and income (incomings) reflecting? Get your head around your financial situation, those plusses, minuses, and your budget. Your inspection and observation can indicate where you are, where you are heading, and also, where you want to be in the future (financially speaking).
Time to cut those spending leaks and save money where you can.
By now you would be able to have seen a few spending trends that you all so regularly portray – way too many takeaway meals that you had, regular driving routes to certain ‘luxury buy’ pitstops or monthly bills you need to pay for something you hardly use (like that gym membership or PayTV channels).
During lockdown you won’t be driving anywhere, you can’t order takeaway meals (instead you can use the items available in your pantry and fridge while discovering the inner chef in you) and you can become frugal in regular house activities. For example, why not use energy-hungry appliances like the dishwasher on a weekly (and not DAILY) basis? You can save on fuel, meal and electricity costs during this lockdown period AND instead put the money budgeted for other essentials, to significant use. Or, (if you can) what about adding your extra savings to your ‘future emergency fund’ right here and right now?
Be proactive and continue to communicate any concerns with creditors/other necessary parties during this time.
Perhaps this lockdown time is a cause for concern when it comes to your credit repayments? Although the government has set ‘debt-relief alternatives’ in place via various platforms, you can’t assume that you will automatically qualify. You have to take action and communicate with your bank, creditors or other relevant providers if you know that you won’t be able to make ends meet and pay your bills the way you ought to. Communication is key, and now is not the time to ‘lockdown’ on communications, but instead, open up your communication channels and voice those questions or concerns. Remember that various companies’ employees are working remotely/from home, thus make sure what the recommended channels are that you need to use. For example, send an email to the appointed person instead of trying to contact a phone line that will not work during this lockdown period.
And lastly, a final line of thought – if you can indeed pay your creditors, or if already under a Debt Review programme, please continue to honour your agreements/restructured payment amount. Now is NOT the time to be a non-payer of debt. If you perhaps can qualify for some sort of relief, you have to incur interest on those related accounts, and/or it can indeed cause major complications for you later on. So, keep this reality in mind.
The DebtSafe team encourages you and other South African consumers to take a step back from the chaos, and try to keep your ‘financial head’ whilst at home and under lockdown. Even if things look and feel gloomy – it is still important to try your utmost at managing your money matters as best you can.