How to fight end-of-year fatigue and keep your finances intact
Use online tools to save yourself from spending too much this festive season
After 18 months of close confinement, pandemic fatigue is now conspiring with the usual end-of-year fatigue. The result could prove doubly dangerous to consumers who have kept their financial affairs together up to now in these most trying of times.
As we near the festive season, the temptation to break free from budgets and splurge may be strong, especially when retailers are outdoing themselves to attract shoppers and tantalising tourist destinations beckon as borders reopen.
Letting go of budgets during the festive season is a well-known phenomenon that becomes evident every January. When the new year dawns, it invariably brings shocking statistics of rising indebtedness in SA and tales of regret about spending decisions made in haste.
Fatigue can do that to a person, and the age of smartphones and online shopping has made it even easier to spend more than we should. By the same token, online and digital tools can be a careful consumer’s best friend.
Saved in the nick of time
Take the digital authorisation settings on your banking app: setting a low amount for daily payments and transfers could pay off handsomely in a situation where the temptation to spend rears its ugly head.
Picture the scene: you are making an online purchase that you know you shouldn’t, really, but you cannot resist. You press “Pay” on your app, only to receive an instant notification that the transaction amount exceeds your daily limit.
You could, of course, go ahead and change your settings to increase your daily limit, but the interruption could be just what you need to cool your enthusiasm for the item you were buying. Saved in the nick of time!
Impulse buying is not the only budget-busting behaviour to look out for in the festive season. Many people also tend to overindulge in dining out and entertainment. As many of us were starved of these experiences during the stringent phases of the lockdown, it might be tempting to make up for the lost time. And with so much going on at this time of year, it can be all too easy to lose track of how much you are spending and on what, particularly if you have accounts with multiple financial institutions.
For instance, you may have a credit card with one bank, a transactional account with another, and savings and investment accounts at other institutions, locally and possibly even abroad.
Single view across multiple service providers
What you need is a full view of your financial position from a single vantage point at any given time. A useful tool for this is Standard Bank’s My360 app, which was recognised at the sixth annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards in December 2020 in the category for most innovative international fintech.
Downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play store, My360 is simplicity itself. After setting up a My360 profile, you can link all your accounts, whether with Standard Bank or with any other financial institution. On one versatile dashboard, you can then see a complete picture of your finances, including houses, cars, pension or retirement funds, other assets, insurance cover and investments.
Something else to watch out for at this time of year, when more buying and selling is going on, are financial charges. There are significant savings to be made by using an account such as the newly launched Shari’ah personal call account of Standard Bank, which has no monthly fees and no penalties when you want immediate access to your funds.
While this may be a Shari’ah-compliant product, it is available to anyone who wants to bank differently as the values that underpin this philosophy of banking resonate with many.
Doing things differently is a good way to approach the end of the year, knowing that when you come out on the other side, rested and invigorated, your finances will be in good shape too.
This article was paid for by Standard Bank.