DURBAN – Whether you are a year or two into your working life or a few decades in, there is no time like the start of a new year to get your budgeting basics right.
The best part, said Stephan Hartzenberg, head of product development at 10X Investments, is that a few hours of focus will very likely free up a chunk of cash every month.
Start by carving out some dedicated time to sit with your budget. Include your partner or children, or do it alone if that will be the most productive way to tackle it. This is not a fun project, being productive and economical is the key. Do your first pass alone if your partner is just going to distract you or weaken your resolve to build in some controls over your monthly spending.
Go through at least three months of bank and credit card statements line-by-line to see which black holes most of your money is disappearing into. You could very well be surprised at how much waste there is. Tally monthly costs for certain recurring items, the totals will start providing a clearer picture of where your money is going.
Re-evaluate all your debit orders and other regular payments. Are you still reading the magazines or newspapers you are subscribed to? Maybe there are cheaper and more useful online publications you can sign up for? Tip: Many leading international publications, such as the Economist and the New Yorker, allow non-subscribers to read a limited number of articles a month at no charge before being asked to subscribe.