Time to sink or save

Madoda Milazi

Madoda Milazi

The 10 Commandments feature prominently in Christianity and Judaism as moral imperatives to save believers from sinning.

Similarly, financial advisers say consumers should swear by the "10 commandments of staying out of debt".

Luke Hirst, managing director of debt counselling firm Debtbusters, shared with Sowetan the 10 basic rules of keeping debt collectors at bay.

lThou shall budget

If you know how much you spend and where you spend it, you are less likely to fall behind on any payments that you owe.

lThou shall not ride an expensive donkey

Driving a car you cannot afford is just plain stupid. Sure, it's great to drive a flashy sports car and wear designer labels. But if you are worried about looking good in front of the neighbours, think about how silly you will look when the bank repossesses your car in the driveway while they watch.

lThou shall invest spare coins wisely

For most people, being unable to pay their mortgage is one of their greatest fears. To decrease the total cost of your home loan, pay extra when you can to save on overall interest costs - over a 20- or 30-year loan, the saving can be astronomical.

lThou shall not swipe now and pay later

Credit cards are great when you can't find an ATM, but relying on them to provide you with cash you don't actually have can be catastrophic. With credit card interest rates as high as 27percent, a simple shopping spree could cost you dearly.

l Renting is not a sin

"South African's have a mentality that renting is a sin, but in times of rising interest rates and high food costs, the knowledge that your rent is fixed for the term of your lease is a source of great comfort," says Hirst.

l Thou shall take control

The minute you think you may be in financial trouble, take control of the situation. Contact your creditors, get hold of a debt counsellor or re-evaluate your budget.

l Thou shall not follow the herd

With so much financial advice available, it becomes easy to read generic solutions and tailor them to your own financial situation. Get advice from a qualified expert.

l Thou shall shop around

Most people have been with their banks so long that they have no idea what competitive interest rate other institutions might offer. Don't be a passive passenger in financing your home, shop around.

lThou shall eat at home

Everybody likes to eat out, but it's the little things that add up when you are under pressure.

lThou shall not overpay on your insurance

With so many options available, shop around. The big names don't always provide the most cost effective cover.