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Financial Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Madri Jacobs, 7 August 2018

As a Senior Financial Planner at Sanlam, here are some of the hacks I often share with clients to immediately start turning their financial situations around.

Start today – you’ll be surprised how quickly it makes a difference.

1. Ditch expensive debt

Review all your loans including mortgage and vehicle debt, credit card and retail accounts. Plan to repay the most expensive (or highest interest) debt first. Then ditch the cards and buy with cash in the future. Save the money you would have spent on debt in a smart savings vehicle. Then, instead of paying high interest, you could be earning it.

2. Spring clean your bank account

Determine whether you optimally use the monthly package you pay for. If not, you could consider downgrading to a more suitable package or even switching banks. Saving R40 monthly on bank costs equates to R480 yearly, which could possibly cover your mobile account for a month.

3. Review your subscriptions

Review your TV subscription(s), data and Internet provider costs, as well as gym or club memberships. Ask yourself if you still need them. Based on my experience, you can save approximately R99 to R899 per month, just from cancelling or downgrading subscriptions. Use the savings to repay expensive debt or to invest.

4. Pack lunch

Packing lunch is a great way to cut down on costs, plus you’ll probably eat more healthily.

Saving R20 per day equates to R100 per week, and thus R4,000 for 40 weeks of the year.

5. Borrow before you buy

Consider borrowing gadgets or home appliances from a sibling or friend if you plan to only use it once. If you have gadgets gathering dust, consider selling these for extra cash.

Play the five-day game. If you still want something after you’ve thought about it for five days, then maybe it’s worth it. If not, you should probably put the money towards your emergency fund instead.

6. Budget – create one, review it frequently and stick to it

Budgets get you to review your finances, manage it more effectively and set longer-term goals. Split your budget into a long-term (e.g. retirement), medium-term (e.g. education) and short-term (annual and monthly household budgets) plan. Involve all family members in the planning process.

7. Never go without a shopping list

Lists mean you’re less likely to forget items, cutting down on unnecessary repeat trips to the shop that waste time and precious petrol. Use bank statements to work out how much impulse shopping is costing you. Curb the spending and put the money towards a medium- to long-term savings goal.

8. Get a personal financial trainer

Just like you need a fitness coach, you need a financial one. Find a personal financial trainer who you can be accountable to and build a relationship with. Together you could work on a plan that could improve your finances and, as a result, your future outcome.


Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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