The year is coming to a swift end and it is almost time to start afresh with your 2018 financial goals. Have you been thinking about your fiscal resolutions at all? Hopefully, you are not feeling too down in the dumps because your financial cookie crumbled. It is indeed a time to arise and let your New Year’s resolutions include things like protecting your finances, being financially free and getting rid of your debt woes to become the ultimate ‘debt-free mastermind’.
According to Matthys Potgieter, spokesperson and debt expert at DebtSafe, there are seven significant steps or things that you can incorporate in your 2018’s financial resolutions:
1. Re-evaluate your monthly expenditures to make room for savings
It’s easy to miss the small and ad hoc bills that all add up. However, if you calculate and pin down your expenses on a budget sheet, you’ll know exactly what your actual spend per month is and what you can save. This will also help you to portray an accurate budget that truly reflects income and expenditures, and thereby preventing accidental budget overspending.
2. Check your credit record and make sure the info on it is correct
Do you know what your current credit profile looks like? You can download your record once a year for free, visit: TransUnion, XDS or Experian. It is always good to know that your credit record is in check. Be alert and make sure there isn’t anything fishy going on with your credit score. If you see something suspicious – sort it out right away by getting in contact with the relevant credit bureaus.
3. Stop playing victim and put an end to your reckless borrowing
YOU are responsible for your debt and finance management. If you are not going to control your spending splurges, then nobody else will. Don’t be a blame-shifter. Rather compare rates and costs from different credit providers by doing the necessary research to see if you can afford the loan(s) or item(s), before applying for any credit.
4. Catch up on your reading to become ‘financially literate’
It is about time that you read up on the National Credit Act and regulations, the National Credit Regulator, The Consumer Tribunal and what Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents (like the credit bureaus, debt counsellors, the Ombud for Banking Services or the Credit Information Ombudsman) involves. You’ll not only broaden your consumer rights knowledge but you’ll also create a money-savvy culture around you by being a financially clued-up person.
5. Put a dent in your debt
There is one of two options that you can consider when trying to get rid of your debt:
- you can either make use of the so-called snowball effect by paying off your smallest debt first (like a clothing account); or
- you can use the avalanche method – where you pay off your debt with the highest interest rate first, like your credit card.
6. Protect your debt
Debt obviously has a negative connotation to it, so how are you supposed to ‘protect your debt’? Life happens and you therefore have to protect what is most important to you. You don’t want to leave your loved ones with a debt mess, do you? Make sure you have credit linked insurance to take care of yourself and your loved ones when unpredicted (or in some cases predicted) things happen like temporary or permanent disability, retrenchment, maternity leave as well as death.
7. Talk to recommended professionals in the financial field
How can you protect your finances or future and also be debt-free if you don’t get the help you need? Talk to your financial advisor or banker and get the support you deserve.