It is undeniable that the pandemic has taken a financial and mental health toll on many South Africans. Significant job losses, increased debt and financial stress has consumed people with the question if it is possible to take control of their finances, cut down expenses and manage their money more effectively.
Andiswa Gqwaru, Momentum Velocity Club Client Success Lead, asks the question “What do you do when you feel like you are overweight and need to shed off a few kilos? You reassess what has got you to that point and start working on how to either reduce or eliminate to shed off those kilos.”
“The pandemic shed light on several expenses and items that we thought we needed but actually didn’t. This is the time to relook your budget, pull out that bank statement and start looking at your expenses line by line. Be honest with yourself about your changing priorities and remove or reduce the expenses that did not add value,” Gqwaru adds.
It’s vitally important in tough economic conditions to keep your eyes on the prize and have a set roadmap on how you are going to achieve those goals. Your financial plan does not have to stay the same, it will change when your circumstances change however, you do need it to provide direction on what needs to change, how and what the impact is.
Being financially stable means, you’re spending less money than you earn, which can be a daunting task. Though becoming financially stable requires patience and diligence, if you work on saving your money, paying down debt, and controlling your spending over time, you can be well on your way to financial stability.
By following these simple rules one can be on the right track to financial freedom:
At the heart of any savings plan is a budget – create one and stick to it, always track your spending, work on paying off your credit card, focus on reoccurring expenses e.g. go over your bank statement and look over all the things you spend your money on then see how much money on them to establish where you can cut back, control your impulse shopping, plan your meals ahead by using the ingredients you already have in your refrigerator and lastly build a savings goal planner and stick to it.
“Money is not the most important thing in our lives, but we cannot deny the influence it has, it should however be used as a tool or an instrument, a means to an end. It is therefore imperative that we do not shy away from tackling it head on to ensure that we are using it as efficiently as possible,” says Gqwaru.
“Becoming financially healthy and free requires a change in our attitudes and behaviours. This means making a series of conscious financial decisions every day. What better way to do this than by having a financial plan that can serve as a roadmap for how you are going to get to where you would like to be,” Gqwaru adds.
Gqwaru shares two practical decisions to make now:
Start reducing your expenses. This may mean downgrading your lifestyle. Be brutally honest about what you can afford and what you can’t before your bank or creditors start to tell you. For example, stocking up on groceries as opposed to spending on takeaways.
Try and find ways of supplementing and increasing your income through side hustles. What knowledge or skills do you have that you could use to earn extra money over and above your regular income?
“The pandemic came as financial shock to all of us. It has given us an opportunity to learn from our individual experiences and to understand the importance of living within our means as well as saving more than ever before. Let’s use this opportunity to make sure that our finances are future proof going forward!” concludes Gqwaru.
Having recognised the demand for increased financial knowledge, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings is a proud participant of various financial literacy campaigns aimed at assisting South Africans to be more educated about their finances. In 2020, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings partnered with FunDza, an online literacy portal dedicated to helping South Africans better their reading, writing and learning skills, to develop a short online course which focused on assisting users to better their financial decision making.