Some people say money talks – it says ‘spend me spend me!’ Amusing as this may seem, most of us are not mindful about our money. Money is certainly not everything in life, but like any other valuable resource on this planet, it’s a sin to waste it. And it is a very valuable resource for us – money buys our lifestyle and is not guaranteed forever.
So let’s look at some of the areas where money is wasted, often without us even realizing it…
- Having designer stuff instead of a designer life. Previous generations lived much simpler lifestyles and with one income only, yet today, we often have two incomes but no money. The pressure is on today to look good and have the best of the best, even if we can’t really afford it. Avoid the trap and focus on what makes you happy in life, not what others expect of you.
- Excessive entertainment and eating out can be costly. Even eating out once a week can cost R2000 per month or more, depending on the size of your family and your favourite restaurant. Consider starting a supper club with your friends – its a lot cheaper and a lot more fun. You could even run your own completion amongst each other, to add some spice to the dinners.
- Urban legend has it that every 2 years we should trade our car in. This means that for our entire working lives, we will be paying off on a car. Be money smart – pay off your car and save the money you would have been paying off, so that you have cash when you need to but a new car (at least for a very healthy deposit).
- Gadgets and gizmos at bargain prices. There is so much of it advertised on TV, on the internet and in the post. Most of this has very little impact on our happiness or quality of life and if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. We are often confused between wanting something and needing something. Also, sell unwanted items – create space in your home and your life – and money in your pocket.
- Check your bank charges – these can add up silently. Most of us never give our bank statement more than a second glance. Often, as well, people are encouraged to use a debit card for purchases, to avoid going into debt, but there are transaction costs here as well. Spend some time examining your bank statement, make some changes to put extra cash in your pocket.
- Retail therapy is one of the strangest concepts ever. People go out and spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, and this is supposed to make them feel better? Crazy notion! Rather go for a walk in nature or go for a picnic or some other activity that is healthier for the mind as well as the pocket, if you need a pick-me-up.
- Debt and interest is the ultimate money waster as you just pay for nothing at all. You derive no benefit from interest paid. Do a simple exercise as part for your budgeting – list the monthly interest repayment on all your accounts, cards and your home loan. The total amount will be shocking!
We are all so conscious of the effort it takes to earn our money. Put the same level of consciousness into how you spend it. A few simple changes can make a big difference at the end of the day. And always make sure that you have a financial plan which makes your money work for you, and protects your income against the unforeseen.