Economy / 3 January 2020, 3:00pm / BR Correspondent
CAPE TOWN – You’ve lived your best life during the December festive season and now January looms ahead. This is the time to reset your spending to normal mode and survive the start of the new year like a grown up.
“We all know January is the longest ‘three months’ of any year. At least, that’s how it always feels” sympathises Aimee Miller, marketing and sales manager at consumer online retailer Teljoy.
“Post the festive season is when we need to get back to being an adult about how we spend our hard‐earned cash, but following a few tried and tested rules should make it all the easier.”
As a company which enables its customers to buy the household items they need on a rent‐to‐own model, Teljoy has 50 years of experience in vetting the financial eligibility of these customers. Miller therefore has the following advice to get consumers back on track after the holiday high‐spending days.
Learn how to budget to see where your money really goes
This is advice we hear time and time again, and yet very few consumers ever draw up let alone stick to a budget. While it may be tough to start, seeing how you spend your money each month is a big initial step in understanding how best to manage your finances.
“The very first thing to do towards setting up a viable budget you can stick to is to learn to account for every cent you spend in a normal month,” says Miller.
In other words, where you think you spend your money and where you actually spend it can be two very different things, adds Miller: “There are so many expenses that happen every month of which we are not consciously aware. Interest rates and bank charges are among these, and can account for thousands of rands you would not take into consideration. Suddenly, you’re broke with no idea where your money went.”
Spend the money you have as wisely as possible
“Ideally,” advises Miller, “you should be spending 50 percent of your income on essential living expenses, 30 percent on flexible spending such as internet, gym memberships and other negotiable expenses and the final 20 percent should be put towards formal savings and investments.”
For example, particularly in terms of large essential household items, rather than entering into expensive hire‐purchase agreements or buying on your credit card, both of which incur the high interest rates mentioned above, a rent‐to own model like Teljoy’s can provide you with many of the items you may need, from appliances and furniture to electronics.
“The monthly cost we work out for you is the only cost there will be, plus you can either upgrade, downgrade or even cancel your account at any time. There are no other hidden costs,” notes Miller.
Teljoy’s rent‐to‐own model offers risk and maintenance cover as part of the the rental agreement for the duratiin of the rental period, saving on any unexpected maintenance costs that could otherwise arise. And if you opt for ownership at the end of the rental period, you are able to take on Teljoy's Easyfix risk and maintenance cover which covers upto five appliances for very little monthly premium.
If you need to cut back, consider all the alternatives
A budget will also reveal where you are overspending and where you could cut back. Consider using public transport to get to work and save on both petrol and parking costs. If you find you’re spending a lot on things such as takeaways, rather spend more time cooking meals at home, preferably using gas above electricity, to save additional costs.
Or, instead of taking the family out for entertainment, learn to entertain yourselves at home – watch a movie together on a good TV and home movie theatre system, play games on an X-box or PlayStation or even consider getting a pool table.
“We all these available from our wide range and one can browse our latest catalogue for specials,” notes Miller, “The monthly rental cost on any of these items is far less than even just one normal family outing.”
But it all starts with the budget, reminds Miller: “A budget is your blueprint towards financial freedom and living within your means. It’s never easy to recover from festive season spending, but the good financial habits you put into place today may save you from suffering the same consequences come the end of 2020.”