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Finances Take charge today!

It isn't pretty. The petrol price is forever on the increase and food certainly isn't getting any cheaper.


Now more than ever South Africans need to step up and take control of their finances. While this might sound like a tall order here are five no-nonsense steps that you can take to get your finances on the straight and narrow.  


Understand your money personality
If you are a credit card junkie or a happy-go-lucky spender who has not saved a cent for a rainy day then it is time to get to the root of the problem and understand your money personality. Influenced by your parents, your peer group, and your value system, your money personality determines your approach to money and the financial decisions you take. Taking a moment to understand why you handle your finances the way you do will help you avoid the same mistakes next time around.

Budget
You have heard it all before, but without a working budget you are not going to get very far down the road to financial freedom. Drawing up a list of monthly expenses is not always as easy as it sounds. You might need to track your expenses for a few months to get a clear picture of exactly what you are spending your money on every month. Remember that every successful budget includes an amount for unplanned expenses.

Debt
Paying off your unpaid debt and learning to live well within your means is crucial. Draw up a plan to pay back what you owe as quickly as possible, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas. More importantly, once your debt is repaid, learn to stay away from credit and store cards!

Emergency fund
According to the experts we should all have 3 to 6 months worth of living expenses saved in a so-called emergency fund. You should only spend this money in case of an emergency, for example a sick pet or car repairs. This fund also guards against financial crises like retrenchment. The great thing about an emergency fund is that if you have cash on hand you won't have to reach for your credit card when the roof starts leaking or the garage gate packs up. Don't be put off by the 3 to 6 months bit. Even if you can put away 1 months worth of expenses you are on the right track.

Savings
You should be saving towards your emergency fund and of course your retirement. Retirement planning is serious business so call in the help of an expert. You should also be saving towards your savings goals, like a much-needed holiday or a new lounge suite.

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