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Mid-year financial check-in

July is a good time to pause and review how well you’ve been managing your money. You’re in a groove, you’ve got six month’s worth of spending habits to evaluate, and another six-month period to make adjustments if needs be. We call this process your mid-year financial check-in.

Your credit report
Start your check-in by getting a copy of your credit report. It will tell you how much money you owe, how many payments you’ve missed, and whether anyone has taken legal action against you. This information will give you a clear idea of what your financial position is.

Remember, you’re entitled to one free credit report every year, and you can download them from any credit bureau’s website.

Look at your budget

 
 

Why kids are never too young to learn about saving

At what age should we start teaching our kids about money and saving? This is the question on the minds of many first-time parents hoping to instil good financial habits in their children. Jayne A. Pearl, personal finance blogger and author of Kids and Money: Giving Them the Savvy to Succeed Financially, says that it is almost never too early to start teaching our kids good financial habits.

Research suggests that from the age of four children can start understanding the basics about numbers and money. While they may not understand finance, they can be taught simple counting and basic addition.

 
 

How to turn student loans in to good debt.

A student loan can count as good or bad debt. The difference often lies in how strategic you are about where you study and what you choose as your career path.

Good vs. bad debt

Very few people have the resources to finance their personal and professional advancement without going into debt. So, recognizing the difference between good and bad debt is important. Essentially, bad debt involves going in to debt for anything that won’t go up in value or generate income. Good debt is pretty much the opposite.

Student loans: good debt or bad debt?

It may be expensive to repay student loans, especially when you factor in interest. But, as a tertiary education can help you earn a better salary in the future, the debt can qualify as a good investment. There are no guarantees, though. Here are three reasons why student loans may not amount to sound investments.

  1. Living expenses
 
 

Tips for saving money this Easter

Easter is a big deal for many South African families, and the occasion demands the right kind of action. A big lunch is standard. Going away over the long-weekend is the policy in many households. And eating lots of chocolate eggs is… well, it’s just what you do.

One way to make the holiday even sweeter would be to keep entertainment costs down. Here are three tips to help you save this Easter.

Make your own Easter basket

You have two options, really. You could spend money buying a generic basket that you know will be discarded of once all the goodies in it have been consumed. Or, you could find a basket (or the closest thing to one) at home and make your own version of the ideal Easter basket.

If you’re going with option two, fill your homemade basket with Easter-themed items such as chocolate eggs and bunnies. You could also have a bit of fun and decorate it just how you like it. That way, you save money and make your Easter more personal at the same time.

 
 

Five timeless tips for managing money

We all know that trends come and go, a type of music may be popular for a few months and then become stale or a hairstyle may define a generation before disappearing from the streets. One thing that hasn’t shifted styles over the years is how to manage money well. People who’ve done it right have tended to do most of the same things when managing their money. Here they are, and they’re worth trying.

Know where you stand

Before you can come up with any sort of financial plan, you need to know where you stand. What’s your income? What are your expenses? Do you have debt and, if so, what’s the interest? Do you have investments? Facts are the foundation of any strategy so relax, focus and get them.

 
 

Financial guide to surviving the festive season

07 December 2015 - With the festive season drawing closer, South Africans are already planning for the holidays. With pricey family gatherings and Christmas shopping on the cards, it’s important that consumers make wise financial decisions.

This is according to Craig Whittaker, Head of Product at Wonga SA, who offers the following festive season advice to consumers in order to limit their financial strain going into 2016:

  1. Take note of your spending
 
 

Budgeting: Five steps to help first timers

When it comes to managing your money, working without a budget is not likely to lead you to financial security. Your debt situation won’t improve, your savings won’t grow, and you’ll miss out on the feeling that you can take care of a crucial part of life.

Having a financial game plan makes you focus on the way you use your money and helps lay the ground work for a bright future. This might seem daunting at first, but if you manage to work your plan, the rewards far out way the effort.

How much is coming in?

Knowing how much money you’re taking home every month (from all sources of income) is the first step. Remember, you need an accurate figure if you’re to make a budget that works. Calculate your net income, i.e., the money you are left with after each payday after all taxes and deductions. This final amount will help you tweak your expenses, and determine how much you can realistically save.

How much is going out?

 
 

Do you understand debt?

Have you ever sat down and considered the affordability of your debt and whether the money you are borrowing is good debt or bad debt? How much thought do you put into the cost of that debt and whether there is a better alternative? Do you ever sit down and actually work out how much everything you borrowed would cost to pay back over its total term and do you ever just pay extra off to reduce the term and cost of your debts?

It’s no secret that at some point we will almost all need debt in one form or another. The first step to effective management of debt is understand the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. These good debts are often perceived entirely differently from bad debt, like buying a home or paying for a university education.

 
 
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