Spring clean your finances this September

Spring clean your finances this September

– Paul Damant, CFP (Director, Cornerstone Asset Management and Managing Director, Cornerstone Financial Services Group of Companies)

Spring is finally here and for many, it’s synonymous with new beginnings, fresh challenges and positive changes. In the spirit of Spring, we have compiled some great ways to spring clean your finances for a happy and financially free you.

Redo your budget for Summer

With the days warming up, you’ll find that you may start spending money differently – perhaps less on movies and coffee and more on braais and outdoor music festivals. This change in spending will require a new budget and the start of Spring is the perfect time to redefine your monthly cash flow.

In addition to social expenses that will change, take a look at all the other aspects of your budget. You may find that you will start buying more fresh fruit and vegetables and less processed food, perhaps you want to start a new hobby or join a gym. Whatever it is, a new budget will help to you manage your money better and smarter. Remember to be honest, realistic and kind to yourself when compiling a budget e.g. don’t allocate a R500 per month for groceries, you’ll never be able to stick to it and you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure.

Re assess your debt obligations

Unfortunately, if you are South African, there is a very good chance that you have too much debt, but that does not mean you cannot beat the debt slump. As Spring sets in, the universal euphoria of new beginnings accompanies the fragrant blooms, so what better time to tackle those debts head on and beat them once and for all?

Take some time to re asses your debt obligations. Here are some steps to guide you:

  • Tally up all the debt you have, it’s vital that you know exactly how much you owe.
  • Do you know the interest rates? If not, contact your credit provider and find out.
  • Now, prioritise your debts by sorting them from highest to lowest interest rate. Try to pay off the high interest debt first and these are the most expensive ones.
  • While tackling the high interest debt first, try to pay off the smaller amounts as quickly as possible. This will give you little victories throughout your journey to keep you motivated and on track.

Remember to submit your tax return

Tax season closes in about two months, so time is running out – get those slips and certificates in order! Remember, your annual tax return can be a massive help in tackling large debts, saving for education or holidays or merely spoiling yourself and your family.

Click here to read our ultimate tax return checklist to ensure that you get the best return possible.

Check and update your important paperwork if necessary

As much as getting paperwork in order can be a huge drag, it remains a vital part of all our financial lives and impacts not only us, but those around us as well.  Be sure to check the following documents and adjust where necessary:

  • Your will. Make sure it’s airtight and up to date.
  • Your short-term insurance policy. Check your sums insured, items insured and remember to add any new items and remove those you don’t own anymore.
  • Your beneficiary nomination form on any risk policies e.g. death benefits. Make sure that you have one in place and that the beneficiaries listed are correct and up to date.

Also read: If you don’t have a beneficiary nomination form in place – listen up!

Start saving for the festive season

No matter how strong or prepared we think we are, the festive season always makes us spend more money, sometimes without thinking about the consequences. A great way to ensure that you have some extra cash to spend during December, start saving for it now. By putting away some money each month, the impact of festive spending might not be as harsh as usual.

Do an actual spring clean and sell or donate unwanted items

Nothing beats a good old, traditional spring clean. Getting rid of all those unwanted and unused items can be very liberating and if you do it right, pretty lucrative. Thanks to services like OLX, Gumtree and BidorBuy, you can easily sell your pre-loved goods at the touch of a button and use the income generated to fund your debt payments or savings. Remember to be vigilant when publishing personal details online and never let strangers into your house without doing your homework.

Don’t forget that there are millions of people in need and with so many fantastic NGO’s around, it’ll be a very easy task to find a cause to donate your unwanted goods to. Cornerstone Financial Services Group supports Build The Future, a local pre-school and NGO that makes a massive difference in the lives of small children.

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