On International Consumer Rights Day, Tshiwela Mhlantla, managing executive of Absa Personal Loans, shares some vital financial management tips.
- Tell the truth to yourself. Intimately understand and acknowledge your personal financial situation and live within your means.
- Tell the truth to your bank. Banks have checkpoints, but they also rely on you to provide them with the most accurate information about your current finances in order to advise you on the best lending product to meet your needs.
- Don’t keep up with the Radebes. Never allow other people’s apparent material success to derail you from your personal life plan and goals, due to what they have or expect you to own. Besides, you don’t really know their true financial state of affairs when they’re home alone.
- Know how everything adds up. Be aware of everything that has an impact on your income and expenditure. For example, understand how to work out your tax. Understand, too, that that if you only put the switch off on your appliances and not at the plug-point, you’re paying extra for electricity.
- Plan ahead and budget carefully. This helps you to borrow responsibly and assists you to get financing more easily, should an emergency situation arise. It is also great if you have spare cash for a rainy day.
- Get to understand the economy. You’d be surprised at just how much impact this has on each of us — our financial ambitions or circumstances as well as other aspects of our lives. For instance, legislation is constantly changing, so read up on regulations like the Consumer Protection Act and understand how it affects you. Be aware of fuel-price hikes so you can plan your budget and travels accordingly.
- Pay on time. Pay everything on time, every time — even the small things. Let it become part of the way you live your life. It simply makes life easier, and gives you one less thing to stress about. A good credit track record is worth its weight in gold.
- Don’t be shy to negotiate. If you’re in a situation where you’re after a high-value, or even low-value, item, discuss a discount with the seller and see if you can bag a bargain. If you can’t get a better deal, you will at least know that you have tried and had a shot at improving your bargaining skills, too. In addition, don’t be shy to shop around — you could find the same or similar product elsewhere at a more cost-effective rate.
- Every cent counts. Don’t say: “It’s just R2 or R5.” Think about every R5 and R2 you have disregarded in this way your entire life and wonder about the sum total of it all. What could you have done with this money if you hadn’t just disregarded or misused it?
- Grow as a person. Educate yourself, read as often as you can to stay relevant in our ever-changing world and be a star at what you do. If your dream is to get that promotion, great; but even if you’ve reached your desired place and position in life, never stop learning. If nothing else, it will keep you interested and interesting.
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