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Home / PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMN - Four things you can do to improve your finances

PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMN - Four things you can do to improve your finances

2020-10-22  Staff Reporter

PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMN - Four things you can do to improve your finances
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Thembi Kandanga

Although we are inclined to look at our finances with a long term view, your financial situation should be comprised of many smaller goals, decisions, and activities that are easier to manage. 
Here’s a look at a few minor things you can do today to improve your financial health. 

Review your bank statement
Bank statements don’t lie. If you want to know where your money goes, your transaction history tells a detailed story that can help you track spending. Reviewing your statement can help you identify ways to save in fees, particularly if you are paying excessive administration and transaction costs. 

A quick review of your statement can also help you identify any fraudulent activities in your account such as unauthorized debit orders. In many cases, the law protects you from losses. The sooner you notify your bank, the more protection you have.
Comparison shop your insurance

At least once a year, take some time and contact other insurers to compare your premiums with competitors. You might be surprised to find that you can lower your car, home, or life insurance premiums by quite a bit. It is a tough market out there and insurers are prepared to negotiate better rates to win over good clients.

My personal experience has shown that your current insurer will do everything in their power to retain you as a client. Leverage this to shop around and go back to them with a more competitive offer. They might offer you a lower premium and if they cannot, moving to a new insurer can be done over the phone and is relatively painless. 
Be sure to confirm that you will still be getting the same cover or better should you move insurers, otherwise it’s not worth the trouble.

Lower your monthly bills
This is not where I tell you that cutting your morning coffee and muffin will make you a millionaire. It won’t and I hate the notion that to get where we want to be financially we have to give up life’s little pleasures. While cutting back on coffee might not be the answer to all your money troubles, the principle of trimming unnecessary spending stands.
Although it might seem like you are strained already and there is no room for spending less without drastically changing your lifestyle, consider this. One can reduce their variable spending such as clothing and entertainment by being flexible and having a frugal mindset before every purchase.  

Call your internet and cell phone providers and ask if you’re getting the best deal. New offers pop up all the time, so your current plan may not be the most cost-effective anymore. If you’re aware of a better offer from a competitor, mention it. Your provider may match it. If they won’t match, switch to the competition. 

Learn something new
Find something about your finances that you don’t understand and research it. Maybe you want to know how unit trust works or whether you need life insurance. Maybe you don’t understand how credit cards earn interest. Take the time to learn and understand these concepts, it is vital for your financial health. The more you know, the better you become at managing your finances and making good decisions. 

While this might not be the answer to all your financial concerns, these small changes are a step in the right direction toward becoming accountable and responsible for your finances.
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2020-10-22  Staff Reporter

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