Being a woman in South Africa or anywhere in the world can be tough during unpredictable economic times. Not only do you have to contend with a wide gender pay gap but, more often than not, you are also the main breadwinner in your family.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the gender pay gap in South Africa is estimated to be between 15% and 17%. This means that a woman has to work about 14 months to earn the equivalent salary that a man would earn in a year. John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual says, “Women often bear the brunt of an economic downturn, as rising living costs increase the pressure on budgets and make it harder to get out and stay out of debt.” Make use of the free online tools available or speak to an accredited financial adviser to help you manage your finances. Once you’ve drawn up a budget, it will become easier to monitor and control your spending.
10 tips to help you draw up an effective budget
- Analyse your finances at the end of each month to identify ways to bring down your expenses. For example, instead of ordering lunch every day, why not bring your own lunch from home?
- Scrutinise your bank accounts on a weekly basis and be on the lookout for any extra costs, unusual fees and double charges.
- Make sure you are aware of all debits and credits on your account and that they are accounted for. If you forget to pay a bill, you will be charged interest – so diarise when your bills are due and check that payments have gone through.
- Compare your receipts against your monthly statements to understand your spending habits, which in turn will indicate where you can cut spending.
- Make a note of all the items you need to buy and how much they will cost you. Ensure the list is complete and then stick to it.
- Know when to stop. When you’ve got everything on your list, it’s time to stop shopping. Avoid popping into the malls, where temptation is huge. Remind yourself that if you can’t afford to add something to your list and pay for it with cash, don’t buy it.
- Shop around, look out for discounts and buy in bulk, especially if you have a large family. However, if you live alone or have a small family, think twice before buying food in bulk, as some items may spoil if not consumed in time.
- Avoid expensive brands if you can’t afford them.
- Don’t compete with friends or neighbours; this could damage your financial wellbeing.
- Staying out of debt and becoming financially fit is one of the most empowering favours you can do for yourself and your family.
Source: Old Mutual. Images: Pixabay