Make every hard earned cent of your money count

Abdul Milazi

Abdul Milazi

The English novelist William Somerset Maugham once said "money is like a sixth sense and you can't make use of the other five without it".

The current credit crunch and high debt environment has made saving every cent a must for consumers to keep their heads above water.

We asked Toby Wooldridge from Go Banking for a few practical tips to help relieve the pinch of the current high debt environment.

n Evaluate your insurance and assurance products

If you have not evaluated your premiums in the past year, do so. Shop around again, get competitive quotes and fight for a better rate - you might be able to reduce your premiums.

n Reduce short-term debt

Credit cards, store cards, overdraft facilities and personal loans are charged at a higher lending rate.

The abuse of credit cards is a personal finance epidemic. Get rid of them, or pay them off.

n Medical aid

Evaluate your medical aid. Do you really need a comprehensive plan? Perhaps you can downscale to a more basic cover.

n Bank fees

Add up your bank fees - you will probably be shocked when you realise what you are paying in fees and charges.

On average you may be paying as much as R200 per month, which adds up to R2400 a year. Look for the best possible account for your banking behaviour.

n Cut back on luxuries

One less packet of cigarettes (R22), four less cappuccinos (R14 x 4) and one less meal out (R150) could save you R228 which could be used to pay one of your debit accounts.

nHave your DStv decoder switched off for a few months saving R439 per month.

If you are not using your Internet account regularly, you don't need it. Cancel it.

n Do your best not to fall into excess

Banking is about managing risk and pricing it right. The higher your risk profile, the more the banks will charge you for what you borrow. An average overdraft facility will charge you prime plus 2percent, but when you fall into excess your interest charge jumps to about 20percent.

n Make payment arrangements

If you are struggling, call your bank and make arrangements.