Are your friends or colleagues regularly complaining about their finances - having more month by the end of their money? Not to mention hearing their stories - falling for marketing gimmicks or those difficult choices they need to make when trying to get out of debt. Are you in the same boat and all too familiar with these bad financial habits and scenarios?
Why don't you stay in season and try the out with the old and in with the new principle.Yes, it is time to trade your rusty financial habits for some fresh, new ones. You'll not only become financially free, but your debt will slowly but surely disappear and become a thing of the past.
Experts say it takes 21 days to form and get used to a new habit. Matthys Potgieter, spokesperson and debt expert at DebtSafe, mentions that you have to set a daily reminder during this time period (on your phone for example). This will systematically encourage you to 'add' the habit to your lifestyle and schedule so that it will become second nature to you.
Get rid of your out of season financial habits by trying out these five practices regularly implemented by debt-free consumers:
1. Plan to achieve financial victory
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It is as simple as that," says Potgieter. Financial experts continually put emphasis on budgeting and planning as well as encouraging consumers to set up automatic payment deductions and to pay their savings account first. "You have to also clearly outline your short, medium and long-term goals together with a date or year when you aim to achieve them," Potgieter advises.
2. Take control of your financial environment
Debt-free consumers are not easily persuaded by marketers and advertisers, are you? Do you control your spending splurges or do you go wild when you see the SALE sign? Take control of your frugal environment and show what you are made of – resisting temptation. "Don't go into a shopping outlet when you are hungry," says Potgieter. "And do not buy unneeded items that are not on your shopping list," mentions Potgieter
3. Communicate effectively
Are you one of those consumers that avoid your creditors and experience a lot of internal conflicts, which in fact could have been avoided if you just communicated? Debt-free consumers were not always debt-free you know. But, through thorough communication, they opened a whole new world of negotiation and opportunity. And you can do this as well. Negotiate a better interest rate for your house or car. And what about your insurance options – take a good look at all your premiums and negotiate or change to a provider that would best suit your pocket. Communication can allow you to 'open up' a bit of extra cash flow and in the end allow you to pay off debt faster.
4. Adjust your money psychology
"Where the mind goes, energy flows," says Potgieter. It's so easy these days to get your head in a negative space with all the price hike predictions and economic uncertainties. Change your headspace and get creative to open up opportunities for yourself. This can include additional income projects with skills and assets you already have available. Get your creativity going and start tutoring, give extra piano lessons and what about that room in your house being wasted for storage – rent it out.
5. Use credit cards responsibly
A credit card is indeed convenient, but if not managed properly, it can have devastating consequences. Debt-free consumers manage and use their credit card(s) responsibly by keeping up with their payments. Do you? Remember: by effectively managing your credit card, you'll improve your credit score. You should also be aware of what your credit agreement involves. Make sure you know what your minimum payment entails, what your interest rate is and what other fees and charges are involved.
Be done with old financial habits and try these above 'fresh' ones instead. If, however, your old habits have left no room to get some debt out of the way, talk to DebtSafe's team. SMS your name and INFO to 30898 (free of charge).
Carla Oberholzer (Public Relations Officer)
Tel: 0861 100 999