The 1st of January always gets to usher in the new year, but everybody knows when things really start to get real at the beginning of each calendar year, don’t we? The year starts in earnest the day you drop your kids off at school.
Back-to-school day holds the unofficial “No really! Welcome to the new year” crown and coupled with the ensuing madness that leads up to the day itself, there is the realisation that it costs a lot more money than you may have expected.
Hands up if this is how your back-to-school week recently played out?
Seemingly unbeknownst to your kids, you’d already started working and were being barraged by meeting requests, emails and deadlines. While doing all of this, amongst many other things, you had to have the kiddos suited and booted up for 2020, while they still seemed to be stuck in “vacation mode”.
You could make the time (barely), but it was the financial stretch that was increasing your anxiety levels.
Thank goodness for the credit card. It had already been run through the mill over the festive season, but you had a few bucks you could still squeeze out of it.
Sound familiar? Time and money pressures.
Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly how it played out. But can we get honest for second?
Did you have enough money this January to comfortably pick up all the back-to-school expenses?
If you didn’t, it’s a little too late to do anything about it now.
All you can do is try and be a little more prepared for next year.
Concentrate on trying to save a little more money during 2020, by looking over things that end up costing you a few bucks here and there. We know it’s not easy, but sometimes the smallest little tweaks and changes can add up to thousands and thousands of Rand over a year.
You don’t have to make huge sacrifices, but little changes will go a long way.
Here are 15 money-saving tips that could easily help cover most of your January 2021 expenses. It must be a borrow-free back-2-school January, next year.
1.If you finish paying off something like a credit card payment or your car this year, don’t be tempted to buy another car or use that freed-up cash to buy something else you may not really need. Rather save the money that went to those monthly car instalments or paying off your debt each month.
2. How much are your bank fees costing you? How many other debit orders come off your account each month, that you don’t need? It’s so easy to get stuck with a bank for years on end, without reviewing their costs. Decide exactly what it is you need from your bank, then shop around and see if you can save a few hundred bucks a month. And pick either Netflix or ShowMax. Do you really need both?
3. Review all your insurance needs and get a few comparative quotes. Negotiate better deals with your short-term insurer, especially if you’ve had no claims in the past year or so. Do you really need four funeral policies? Are you not better off with one comprehensive life cover policy? If you need a life insurance quote, leave your details at the bottom of this blog post.
4. Give your kids pocket money each month – either on a rewards basis for doing chores around the house or just a flat rate. They will need to use this money for any entertainment outside of family time or to buy something they really want. They will have to decide how they want to spend their money. This will help you budget the fixed amount each month, and you’ll find you won’t be handing out hundred Rand notes every weekend.
5. Make more meals at home and avoid burning money on too many take-outs. Plan your meals as a family and only shop based on that. Follow different companies on social media, so you can see when they are running specials. You can also visit their websites regularly to see what items are discounted each week.
6. Look into nifty online grocery shopping apps like One Cart. Sure, they charge a small delivery fee, but how much money (and time) will you save yourself by not hurtling around from one shop to the next?
7. Surf the net with your kids to find lunch box inspiration and ideas. Then have your kids help you to make their lunch – that way they are more likely to eat it and you will be wasting less food and less money.
8. Are any family cell phone contracts coming up for renewal this year? Instead of simply choosing the latest handset, really consider if your plan is the correct one for you and perhaps downgrade for a year. The potential saving in a year will run into thousands of Rand.
9. Allocate your kids a certain amount of data/airtime each month and if it runs out, that’s tough luck. You save and they get to understand the value of budgeting and planning.
10.Why not try and earn some extra cash on the side during this year. If you are good at art maybe you can start a business where you sell your artwork or run art classes for people in your community. Are you good at cooking or baking? Why not start making meals to sell to families in your community or start catering for functions on weekends. Or maybe you can run extra lessons in the evenings if you are a school teacher. You might be a great dressmaker and making and selling your own range of clothes could bring you in a few extra Rand each month. A side hustle is a great way to increase your income.
11. Consolidate all your smaller debts into one loan, with a lower interest rate, and save yourself a fortune over the next twelve months.
12. Use your rewards programmes as much as possible during the year. Sign up to whichever rewards programmes work for you and try spending your money at their partners to earn maximum points. Redeeming your points at the end of the year or the start of 2021 could be a great cost saving way for anything kids or school related– with eBucks you can buy school supplies online with Takealot, for example or buy groceries at Checkers. With Standard Bank’s UCount rewards programmes, you can buy school uniforms and sporting equipment from Makro for instance. Or sign up with Momentum multiply if you are a Momentum policy holder and earn discounts at partners of theirs, such as Dischem, Edgars, Jet or C.N.A where you can buy clothing and school supplies.
13. Sell what you no longer need around the house, like old baby equipment such as car seats or prams, or furniture you no longer use (like an old crib or couch). There are local community pages on Facebook to do this on.
14. Hit the gym or cancel the subscription.
15. If you make some unexpected extra money during the year like a few bigger commission cheques than usual or you get an annual bonus, put a third of it to the past (paying off your debt). Then put another third to the future (saving for a short term goal or putting it towards your retirement savings). Lastly, put a third of it towards a present for either just yourself, you and your spouse or all of you as a family.
Do you have any money-saving tips for this year? How do you plan to make 2021 the first borrow-free January in a while? We would love to hear your comments below.
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team