How to manage your personal finances during and after the pandemic
As the government puts plans in place to ensure businesses survive the coming months, it is important that you come up with your own strategic plan to manage your finances during and after the pandemic. Consider the following points to keep your expenses low while putting effective measures in place to ensure a stable financial situation in the future.
Change your shopping habits
As essential groceries become more expensive, shopping can leave a big dent in your budget. While it may not be possible to stop buying certain products, you can change your shopping habits.
- Swap the stores you regularly shop at for ones that are focused on saving. Local chains such as Pep Stores and Game offer lower prices on essential items and have bulk buying options that help consumers save on their purchase amount.
- It is also advisable to research prices before buying. Wholesalers like Game advertise their weekly and monthly specials online for quick access. By simply searching for ‘specials’ you can browse the latest catalogues featuring bulk buying options on all the essentials.
- Draw up a shopping list and stick to it. Buying things you did not plan for can affect your budget and savings goals. It's also advisable to avoid piecemeal shopping as this can lead to overspending.
- It is wise to compare prices before you buy. Stores use different suppliers and often the price for certain items may vary largely. Have a look below at the different prices for a 1L milk from popular stores. This gives you an idea how much you can save if you compare prices before you shop.
It’s been said too many times, but saving is your best bet at financial success. And even though saving during a pandemic may be difficult, especially if your source of income has been reduced, there are clever ways to put away some money.
- Draw up a list of your fixed monthly expenses and allocate less funds to each expense. For instance, you can do your own laundry instead of paying for a dry-cleaning service. You can also cut down on takeaways and prep your own meals.
- Allocate a daily allowance for yourself or for each family member and try to stick to it. This may mean taking your own coffee to work, but cutting down on those R25 cappuccinos can save you plenty every month.
While you may not be able to reduce everything on your budget, this method will surely help you cut down your spending.
If you struggle to save, there are savings tools designed to help you put money away without too much effort. These online platforms are designed with the use of artificial intelligence to work out a specific budget for you, and help you track where you are spending your money.
Alternatively, you can instruct your bank to activate an automated savings service. A specific deposited amount will get transferred to a different account, helping you to instantly save. You'll also enjoy better interest rates on your savings this way.
Investments help you coast through the future. Investing your savings gives you better returns on your savings and grows your income steadily.
Investing during a pandemic may seem risky, with most investment options offering less returns. However, you can still invest in fixed income assets, which are low risks investment options with a fixed interest rate, with confidence.
Try alternative holidays
We all need a holiday after this year. However, holidays can hurt your pocket with all the expenses involved. This year, instead of opting for a luxury vacation at a resort or an overseas trip, consider travelling locally and staying at backpackers and guesthouses. South Africa is an incredible country that offers something for everyone. From the vast plains of the Kalahari to the wild oceans of the Wild Coats, with provincial borders being open under Level 2 of the lockdown, the country is open to explore!
Invest in your personal finances
During these uncertain times, it may seem like a tough task to manage your personal finances. But South Africans are known for their adversity and with a few simple steps in place, you can manage your budget while saving a few Rands every month.
While these times are temporary, it can help you to cultivate productive habits for a lifetime of well-managed personal finances.