Interest rates? Time to act!

By Staff Writer

But now is not the time to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to spending like there's no tomorrow. South African's are carrying more personal debt then ever before and hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to pay their bills, facing imminent bankruptcy.

The economic outlook for the country is uncertain, but there is much we can do as individuals to keep our own finances on the straight and narrow, cushioning us from the potential hiccups waiting around the corner.

Here are some simple steps we can all take to improve our situation:

Budget - Take a tip from Trevor and plan your finances better. Use the Justmoney.co.za planner to work out where you're spending your money and how much is left at the end of the month. If you spend more than you earn then you need to cut back, so check out our moneysaving tips as well.

Health check - The simple Health Check questionnaire helps you identify where your financial priorities should be, whether it is putting more money aside in savings and retirement planning, or taking action to top up your life insurance and tackle your debts

Save money - Justmoney.co.za found that many people could save between R50 to R100 a month by switching to a different bank account because their existing account is unsuitable. You could then put that extra R100 a month in a savings account

Take control of your debts - Easy access to credit over the past decade has led to a huge personal debt mountain and high levels of over indebtedness. If you're struggling to pay your debts, rather than look for another loan, it is important to take steps to tackle that debt, whether it's via debt consolidation or debt management

Switch your mortgage - If you haven't checked the cost of your mortgage lately, then now is the time to do it. By shopping around for mortgage deals you could save money - even a ½% cheaper deal could slash thousands of Rands off your mortgage

By making some simple changes to the way you spend and look after your money, not only could you be better placed if the economy - or your own personal circumstances - takes a dive, you could actually find yourself better of financially, easing the stress on your pocket and your peace of mind.

We'd also love to hear from you if you have any other money saving or financial planning ideas. What works for you might work for others, so please e-mail Justmoney.co.za at editor@justmoney.co.za and share those good ideas.

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