By: Brendan Dale
We all want more money but finding it in our already tight budget can sometimes be hard! In fact, with the ever increasing cost of living it’s easy to feel a bit depressed about our finances and rather ignore the problem as we don’t really know what to do.
Well, it’s not all doom and gloom as it’s easy to learn about managing your money better and a few small habits and processes can make a huge difference over time. Here is an easy 4-step process to evaluate your automated payments to see whether what you pay for each month is really worth it.
Analyse all your accounts
Go through all your bank accounts and cards. Look at the transactions over the past 30 days and note down all automatic payments. Things like cellphone contracts, DSTV, debt payments, insurance, policies, funeral cover, etc. Take note of the service provider and the amount. If you don’t actually know what the amount is for then you should phone the service provider immediately!
Scrutinise the services
Now that you know what you’re paying for, have a look at the contracts and note down all the services and benefits, especially the optional ones. This may seem like a lot of admin but if you can save R100 a month that would be R1,200 over a year. If you spend 2 hours on this then you’ve earned R600 per hour! What if you can save even more each month how much that is worth?
You may need to phone some of the companies to really understand what you are paying for and it’s likely you’re paying for services you don’t need. Think about the club magazines that you don’t read or the TV channels you never watch. How many cellphone contracts do you have? Do you pay for cellphone insurance when you already have it on your normal insurance cover and do you pay for multiple funeral covers? And what about loyalty programs that you pay for; do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Once you analysed and scrutinised it all, shop around and see if there are better deals available. There are many companies that offer insurance, cellphone contracts, internet, security etc and it is worth your while to see what other options are out there.
This is really the first step but I’ve left it for last as it requires you to now go and do what you’ve just read! It’s great reading advice columns but it’s worthless unless you do something.