Stretch your Rand till Pay Day

It's month end and your money is nowhere to be seen? Stop stressing and zone in on the solution with these safe spending tips.

Do you get halfway through the month then realise that you're not going to make it to month-end? It happens to many, but with a little bit of planning and the right tools, you can manage your money like a pro.

Here are a few helpful hints to get the process started:

Budget

Everyone with any kind of income should have a budget. It’s great to earn money, but not so great if you fritter it all away.

A budget is an excellent tool because it forces you to be aware of your spending and allows you to keep track of where your money is going. You can then plan around that so that you don’t make it to the middle of the month and wonder where all your money has gone and what you are going to do until your next pay day.

Need help drawing up your budget? Get the step-by-step guide here.

Financial spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are a good way of keeping track of things in an organised, consistent manner. With programs such as Excel, it becomes very easy. All you have to do is pop in your info and voila! Take a quick squiz through the templates – there's even one for a wedding budget.

If you struggle with Excel, Google also offers a range of templates for the different types of spreadsheets that you need to manage your finances. All you need is a Google account (a Gmail account will do) and you can use their offerings for free. They are extremely user-friendly and all the tricky work is done for you – again, just plug in your details.

Internet banking
The internet has changed the face of banking. Processes that used to be a hassle can now be done quickly and easily – cutting out the middleman – from the comfort of your own bed, if you like.

Check your balance, double-check how much you have been spending, transfer money and even see what interest you are earning on your other accounts.

Overall, online banking is a very good reference for drawing up your budget, because it lays out your income, and shows you what your actual expenses are. All you need to do is compare these figures to your budgeted expenses at the end of every month and use them to inform your coming month’s budget. It also highlights any unplanned expenses, which you can then take account of in your future planning.

All your financial planning needs are at your fingertips so there really is no excuse to let your spending get out of hand... What are you waiting for?

The part-time University of Cape Town Personal Financial Management short course is presented online throughout South Africa. Contact Lyndsay on 021 447 7565 or lyndsay@getsmarter.co.za, or visit www.getsmarter.co.za for more information.

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