Spend Smart and Save

With a new 2014 National Budget having being released, it may be a good idea to have a look at your own budget. A decrease in personal tax, and an increase in commodities and fuel, along with a weaker rand are all very possibly going to have an impact on your monthly budget. The Guzzle team, with the help of financial adviser Jane Harris, have put together three must-know tips when it comes to making your monthly income go further.



1. Know what you have



This first thing Jane told us, was to know exactly what you have- right down to your last cent. This includes knowing what your income is after tax, and what your fixed regular monthly expenses (rent, bond payment, rates, insurance, pension etc.) are going to be.



Sit down and list what’s coming in and going out - the result will be the amount you have for your variable expenses - such as groceries, petrol and general spending money. To figure out how much you should be taxed in the 2014 fiscal year try out this handy income tax calculator.



2. Decide on your spend


Now that you know how much money you have to spend, plan just how you are going to use it. Jane advises asking yourself these kinds of questions when doing this - “What do I need to spend my  money on this month?”, and “what do I want to spend my money on this month?”. Right down the answers to these questions, and then see how they fit into the cash you have to spend.



Remember, when budgeting for petrol, make sure you have a good idea of how much it will be going up by - it may not seem like a lot, but it could be that little bit that pushes you into spending more than you have. If you don’t drive a car, make sure you know of taxi/bus/train increases in advance so you don’t get a nasty surprise.

3. Plan your spend


‘Just because you’re budgeting doesn’t mean that you have to cut out the luxury items  - you just need to spend smart’, says Jane. And the Guzzle Team couldn’t agree. Spending smart is making sure that you don’t waste precious rands on items and activities that may be on special somewhere else. By checking sites such as Guzzle.co.za and Groupon before you go shopping or plan activities, you can ensure that you get the absolute most out of your spending money for the month.



Just remember, an item on special isn’t necessarily cheaper if you need to travel quite a distance out of your way to go and purchase it. Weigh up the cost of your travel against the amount you would save to see if it would be worth going to get it. Also, many retailers now offer online shopping, so be sure to check if they have an online store you can order the item for.