Happy girls are the prettiest, or are they? How do you begin to be happy when you can’t make ‘cents’ of your Rands? There are many unhappy women who are hoping to find happiness in money.
The illusion is that money can buy you happiness. According to Credit Ombud Mr Nicky Lala-Mohan, who also believes that #debtfree girls are the prettiest, says, “Many women find themselves paying today for what they bought yesterday by borrowing from tomorrow.” With women contributing so much to the economy, Mohan gives the following A to Z tips to assist women with finance and credit related matters.
A. A payment a month keeps the sheriff away!
Skipping payments, making short payments or making late payments causes unnecessary harassment from creditors and brings down your credit score. Pay the minimum required instalment every month to maintain a healthy credit score.
B. Budget for that black tax!
Black tax refers to the financial responsibility that black people have towards helping their family members, but it can be a never-ending trap if the family’s financial dependency does not come to an end. From renovating Mama’s kitchen to taking your nephews and nieces through university, make sure you have a budget and boundaries.
C. Careful the credit seduction!
For every R1 000 you earn, credit providers will extend credit of R3 000. Avoid temptation by declining the credit limit increases and only take out credit when you need to.
D. Due for a downgrade?
We are often presented with an opportunity to upgrade – be it cellphones, vehicles, lifestyles, etc. Try downgrading from a big house to a smaller one, drive a cheaper car, or don’t not renew your cellular contract and cut back on expensive retail brands.
E. Excited by plastic money?
Store cards and credit cards = plastic money = debt. And debt is expensive. Consider that the next time you’re about to swipe that card.
F. Fleek on finances! It means it’s on point!
- If you do not have a steady income, save for the months that you will not get income.
- Understand your bank fees and explore alternative options to reduce the monthly bank fees and costs.
- Keep track of your expenses, even the small ones.
- If you borrow, pay it back as quickly as possible.
- Investing is not just for the wealthy, start small and start today.
G. Greed + over-consuming = over-indebtedness
Our lack of self-control often lands us in trouble. The trick is to differentiate between what are essentials and what we can live without, and delay gratification.
H. How did i get here? Ignorance of your financial position is a recipe for financial disaster.
We usually respond to enticing advertisements like ‘you qualify for’ or ‘you have been pre-approved.’
Reckless spending can get you into debt. Distinguish between needs and wants and consider saving for some purchases instead of taking out debt for them.
I. Incapacitated by debt? Seek help!
The National Credit Act introduced debt counselling to assist consumers who are over-indebted. Debt counsellors help restructure your debt by negotiating lower payment amounts to help you survive and can assist in a case where repossession of assets is about to take place.
J. Join forces with your partner/spouse towards a shared financial vision
It is important for two people to share their financial goals in order live in harmony. Bad financial habits have the potential to choke any marriage/relationship to death.
K. Know your rights
Consumers have rights as set out in the National Credit Act and you are encouraged to exercise these rights when it comes to credit related matters. These rights include:
- Right to apply for credit.
- Protection against discrimination in respect of credit.
- Right to reasons for credit being refused.
- Right to information in an official language.
- Right to receive documents.
- Right to access and challenge credit records and information.
L. Live within your means
Be mindful of your finances and how far they can stretch.
M. Making ‘cents’ of rands/debt
Understand how interests and fees are charged to avoid being overcharged. Shop around for the lowest interest rates. Beware of adverts such as ‘blacklisted welcome’ and ‘loans available, not credit checks’ as these can be unregistered loan sharks (mashonisa) who charge exorbitant interests. Their collection processes are also illegal as they use methods such as repossession of ID documents and bank cards and/or violence. When buying on credit, read the contract carefully before signing for hidden costs and make sure you are paying for what you are purchasing. Do not sign blank contracts with any credit provider and ensure that you have a copy of the contract.
N. No new debt
Have a plan to close existing debt to free up funds.
O. Oops, I can’t afford that!
Even if it is ‘50% off’ or ‘Buy one, get one free’ … if you haven’t budgeted for it and you need to borrow to get it, you cannot afford it. Many of these so-called bargains are financial traps.
P. Pyramid or ponzi perhaps?
If you are lured into an ‘investment’ opportunity with the promise of high returns (for a fee of course) you are likely being conned into a pyramid or ponzi scheme. In most cases, these schemes collapse and many investors lose their money as a result. Pyramid scheme warning signs:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
- You are promised double or more than double your investment in a short period of time.
- You are urged to join fast before you ‘lose’ the opportunity.
Q. Questionable conduct
Signs that read: “No refunds” or “No exchange” are illegal and should not be put up. Don’t be intimidated by these and understand what your rights are as a consumer.
R. Retail therapy
If it’s not in the budget, it should not be in the shopping bag.
S. Saving, the latest trend
No matter how little you think you earn, save! Set short, medium and long-term financial goals.
T. Tighten that ‘figure’ belt!
You can save R5 796 a year just by cutting out the daily coffee you purchase. The same may apply for lunch, takeaways, etc. Make a grocery list when you go shopping and stick to what is on the list to avoid overspending, and never shop on an empty stomach.
U. Unforgivable sins
Borrowing from Zodwa to pay Amanda is the quickest way to find yourself in a downward debt spiral. Trying to keep up with Fundiswa will put a strain on your finances.
V. Value your money
Respect the money you spend so many hours earning. Value it and keep track of your spending, no matter how small.
W. What’s in that purse?
Having three or four credit cards plus store cards is not the ‘in’ thing. Cut down on the cards, literally, with a pair of scissors and save on interest!
X. Xcuses must fall!
Whatever improvements and adjustments you have to make to your financial life, start now! We always make excuses like: ‘if I can get more money’ or ‘If I can just get another loan’ delays your financial freedom.
Y. Yield towards improving your financial lifestyle
It is always best to have a handle on your finances: keep slips, check bank statements and view your credit reports.
Z. Be zealous about financial/credit knowledge
With so much information available out there, there is no reason why women should not be financially smart.
Source: Credit Ombud. Image: Pixabay