In this extract, we discuss ten quick wins to service your personal budgets. Taking back the ‘pennies to protect the pounds’ is a good and faithful act, whether your budget is stuttering, “I’m going backwards!”; or perhaps you are planning wisely for a long road ahead.
Below are ten quick wins to start with, to help reduce the deficit and add more month to the money! Do yourself a favour – as you achieve small wins on the items below, list the savings… see what number you get up to; perhaps share your successes with others to encourage them.
Time! You may find you have more time at the moment – which means time to be the Honey Badger, and catch up on those things you never get to, e.g.:
- Go through your insurance policies in detail.
- Are there old items that don’t need to be there (all-risks, car hire options, old/unused IT equipment, etc.) – remove the waste
- Re-assess the values of insured assets/vehicles and reduce your premiums where possible
- Get two competitive quotes to check your current numbers against
2. Go through your medical aid, gap cover, life and disability insurances (if you have them) …anything that needs fresh thinking in the season you are currently in.
3. Cellphone contracts – are they properly structured to suit your existing work / homelife balance?
4. Entertainment debit orders – what are you paying for? What do you actually watch? If there is a mismatch, there may be a savings opportunity.
5. Trawl through your bank statements for the past three months. Are there little subscriptions that you no longer need (iTunes, Google, etc.)?
Budget and Dream
If you haven’t already. Set budget goals! One of my goals would be to build three months of cash reserves as a buffer. Crazy? Remember – it’s a goal. How do we eat an elephant… one bite at a time; or as a friend likes to say, ‘shoot for the stars and hit the moon; shoot for the barn, and hit the cow!’
6. Aim high! Read the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30).
7. Look at your plans for the next 12 months, the things that have or will cost money. Is there anything you can push out, delay or even cancel? Some spending can only happen when there is activity. Delay the activity – delay the spending… more time to earn and build a buffer.
You may already be saving money on fuel, general spending and day-to-day doctors.
8. If your budget is otherwise managing, consider adding these wins into debt repayment, your rainy-day savings or paying extra to others who are in financial trouble.
9. Chat to your company payroll about your payslip, tax and options. Are there fringe benefits you are unable to make use of; or some refinements to look at?
10. Banks are very open to payment holidays at the moment, on both home loans and vehicle finance repayments. If you need to do this, then consider it, but make sure that the relief they are offering is ‘extending the term’, and not requiring you to increase your instalments later on this year. If you’re renting, depending on your landlord’s own situation, they may be gracious with temporary reduced-rent allowances. Again, the offer needs to be a gift, not a loan which could cause you bigger problems down the road.
Our faith shines brightest as we trust God to do what we alone can’t do. In response to His grace, let’s be diligent with the 10 Quick wins above.. and better yet, a whole lot more that you managed to discover for yourself.
In the next edition of this budget series, we get to “Deal with Debt!”