Valentine's Day. (File Photo: IANS)

Be passionate about your finances beyond the month of love

February’s big challenge is to turn on the romance without sending your finances into a tailspin. 

Every year the month of love brings both sweet traditions and the pressure to splurge on extravagant gifts. Karabo Ramookho from Old Mutual shares some tips that will help you keep both your relationships and your finances happy.

1.    Show some self-love: pay yourself first

As a woman, you are probably used to putting the needs of everyone else before your own. Self-love is about ensuring that you are more balanced (physically, emotionally and spiritually), which will help you take better care of your loved ones.

Managing your finances well and making provision for the future will ensure that you safeguard your family’s financial wellbeing. Pay yourself first by setting money aside for saving or investing BEFORE all your disposable income is absorbed by your living expenses and other debt. It’s a good idea to set up a deduction from your salary or a debit order from your bank account so that you save or invest first, rather than waiting to see what is left over.

2.    Make sure your money, like your love, keeps growing 

The sooner and longer you invest, the more you benefit from compound growth. Compounding means you make money on your original investment as well as on all the interest gained in the following years (that is growth on growth over time).

It is better to save a small amount for a long period than to save a bigger amount for a shorter period of time. For example, if you invest R180 a month for 40 years at 10% it would grow to almost R1 million. But if you had only 10 years, you would have to put away over R5 000 a month to reach R1 million! You can start small: invest from as little as R400 a month in a Tax-Free Savings Account.

3.    Get to know your money intimately   

Draw up a budget and track your spending. Knowing what you spend your money on - and how much - can highlight areas where you can cut back. Apps like 22seven by

Old Mutual can help you categorise your spending. You can also set saving goals and action them through the app. Make your partner and family part of the budgeting process so that they feel involved, understand and support it. And remember to budget for family outings and activities too. Life is a balancing act!

4.    Love your loyalty programmes

Many retail stores now offer all sorts of benefits and discounts through their loyalty programmes. Familiarise yourself with the rules, how you can earn maximum points or capitalise on savings. Old Mutual Rewards gives customers a percentage of their premiums back in points. Use these to reinvest, to spend with a range of partners or to buy a voucher. Your next mani or pedi could be on the house!

5.    Go for gifts that keep on giving

Be creative about expressing your love. Instead of splurging on a three-course dinner, pack a romantic picnic for two and enjoy it outdoors. Drop a few hints to your partner that pricey flowers are making way for pretty wonder plants like the Spekboom, which absorbs carbon dioxide more efficiently than any other plant in the world. The #Spekboomchallenge has gone viral on social media and hopes to help combat the effects of climate change. A gift that keeps on giving!

PERSONAL FINANCE