Improve Your Finances in 2020 with these Tips

Improve Your Finances in 2020 with these Tips

With the new year in full swing, its time to improve your financial health by aiming to save or invest more and cut back on unnecessary expenses. 

Here are some great tips to help you to improve your finances in 2020. 

Have the End of the Year in Mind at the Start

Start the year by deciding what your personal, physical and financial goals are for 2020. Break down the end goal into smaller more manageable goals like daily, weekly or monthly goals.

Smart Investments

There are plenty of resources out there that give advice, tips and tricks on finances and investing, so pick up a book aimed at South Africans and start reading, so you can start to understand your money and what to do with it so you can make smart investment choices. 

Have the Money Talk

Financial problems can affect you and your loved ones as it creates stress and anxiety. You need to sit down with your family and discuss the financial situation, your stress and your financial goals so that your family is on-board with the journey to financial freedom. 

Have The Plan for the Goal

You should have a budget in place to serve as the plan on how you are going to spend and save your money. A budget will also help you in tracking your expenses and how much you have to save, what you have for expenses and flexible spending. 

Review Your Credit Score

You can check your credit score online for free, which will show how creditworthy you are and you can find ways to improve your credit score. A good credit score will help you to get lower interest rates on loans. 

Check Your Insurance

With another year done and dusted, you and your assets are a little older. Take a look at your short term insurance to ensure that you are not overpaying based on last year’s asset values and adjust your risk cover policies to ensure that you are covered correctly for any surprises that life could throw at you. 

Get Yourself a Reward

There are plenty of reward programmes that offer savings on purchases, free goodies for positive behaviours and points that can be redeemed. You just need to make sure that the price you are paying for these reward programmes does not exceed the benefits. 

Review Your Fees

Take a look at your banking and investment fees and makes sure you are getting the most value. You can also compare fees from other banks to check if you can save a little on these. 

Speak to Your Financial Planner

Have a meeting with your financial planner to go over your investments and update them on anything that has changed in your life like marriage, a new child or a death of a spouse to make sure that your current investment plans are still in line with your financial goals. 

Make Use of Your Tax Free Savings Account

You will have until the end of February to invest up to R33 000 into your tax free savings account for the current tax year. Make sure you don’t miss out on this otherwise you will miss the opportunity to use this investment vehicle in this tax year. 

Make Saving a Habit

Make the year 2020 where you go from a spender to a saver. You just need to spend less and save more. You should put money away at the beginning of the month instead of at the end.

Save with Online Shopping

Use the internet to shop around for the lowest prices, which will help you to save money as well as time. 

Go Over Your Investments

According to personal economic changes, you should review and rebalance your investments to ensure that your investments are still suitable for your investor risk profile and goals. 

Become Debt-Free in 2020

You need to determine your total debt and come up with a plan as to how you will be paying it off. A good idea is to start with the debt that has the highest interest rate first and focus on eliminating this debt. 

Update your Will

If you don’t have a will then you need to create one. If you do have a will then you need to review it and make sure it contains your current wishes. You will also need to update the beneficiaries on retirement funds and life policies as these are not included in your will. 

Increase Your Personal Value

Learning a new skill can increase your value and save some money. When you acquire a new skill you can increase your potential earning power, which will help you to save money. 

Go by the Six Month Rule

We acquire a lot of items in our lives and we all have electronics, furniture and even clothes we no longer use. The rule here is if you haven’t used an item in the last 6 months, then sell it. You might be surprised at what people will pay for preloved items. 

Save More by Spending Less

Go through your bank statement and eliminate unnecessary expenses for stuff that you don’t use or need. Look at subscriptions and see what you can cancel, skip those takeaways and so on as these will help you to save money. 

Find a New Income Stream

Generate a second income by doing something that you love. If you are crafty then sell your items, if you love to bake then sell your delicious goodies and so on. Having a side hustle is a great way to increase your income. 

Fill Your Piggy Bank

Collect your loose change throughout the year in a piggy bank. At the end of the year count up your savings and reward yourself. 

Start 2020 on the right financial foot this year with some easy to follow money tips that will help you to save more and get the most out of your money.

Avoid the Debt Trap in the New Year with these 5 Tips

December is an exciting time of year with Christmas and the New Year approaching as well as summer holidays, but the silly season should be approached with caution and you need to avoid coming back from the holidays with an empty bank account. 

Here are 5 tips that will help you through the holiday season and to help you to avoid the debt trap in the new year. 

Just Because It’s Holidays It Doesn’t Mean You Can Go On a Spending Spree

Many employers will pay out salaries early for January and you need to be extra careful if this is something that your employer does. Many of us will forget that this salary will need to stretch for up to 40 days or more until the end of January. 

This means you will need to budget carefully. It is a good idea to put your salary for January into a separate savings account and fight the temptation to dip into it. You will need to have a budget in place that caters for all your regular payments as well as extras. Keep track of all your expenses, so that you can avoid excessive spending and your January bank balance will look healthier.

If you are worried about overspending, then it might be an idea to rather use cash. Draw a set amount of cash for the things you need to buy and leave your cards at home. This way you are only able to spend the cash that you have in your wallet. 

Know Your Monthly Repayments

You might be tempted over the festive season to use your credit card to pay for all your extras, but if you do this then you need to ensure that you can afford your monthly instalments.

You should determine how much you can afford to spend on monthly instalments and not exceed this. 

You can also opt to take a personal loan for the festive season as it will have a fixed interest rate that is usually lower than credit cards. Also, with a personal loan, you can only spend the loan amount and can’t get anymore, whereas, with a credit card, you can easily fall into the trap of just swiping for all your purchases. Again, if you take a personal loan for your festive shopping, then make sure that you can afford the monthly repayments and factor this into your budget after the festive season. 

Check Your Credit Report Before You Spend

If you do find that you need to use credit to pay for your goods, then you should first check your credit report so you can get an idea of your credit status. Knowing what your credit says can help you to plan your spending and stay within your credit limits. 

Your ability to access further credit will depend on your payment behaviour as everything gets reported in your credit report. 

Also, you can make sure there are no errors or unusual activity and protect yourself from theft and fraud. 

Choose Debit

You should make a habit of using your debit card for everyday purchases. This can help you to avoid overspending on your credit card during the festive season. The rule here should be that if you don’t have the money available then you can’t buy the item. 

Watch Out for Sales

The best way to keep your budget in good shape without missing out on the festivities is to keep an eye out for sales. 

You will find a lot of stores and online retailers having sales during this time of year on everything from groceries to clothing and more. Keep your eye out for sales and see if the items you need are on special. Keep in mind that a sale doesn’t mean that you should go out and buy items that aren’t on your list, because this will lead to overspending. 

So have a list and find the best prices for the items on it.

Make sure you don’t end up in too much debt in January by keeping a budget, a list and finding the best deals.  If you do need to use credit over the festive season like a personal loan, then make sure that you can afford the monthly repayments from your budget. 

The Top 5 Reasons to Get a Personal Loan for Christmas

The Christmas season is not called the silly season for nothing. Its an expensive time of year and even though retailers will be offering specials and discounts there are many things that need to be considered over the festive period. Not only do we get gifts for friends and family there is also family feasts and holidays. So, even though we have the best intentions around this time our bank balances don’t always stretch as far as we would like them to. 

Ideally, you would have wanted to have saved up throughout the year for these expenses, but things don’t always go to plan. One way that you can pay for all these items is through a personal loan and use it to pay for gifts, travel, food and anything else you may need for the festive season. 

So, here are the top reasons why you should consider a personal loan for Christmas. 

Have a Plan In Place

If usually, your holiday funds start to run low before the holidays are even over, then you are most likely miscalculating your seasonal budget. You will need to be realistic and really work out what you spend over the festive season. A Christmas loan can help you to create a holiday budget and you will need to follow this as closely as possible. Unexpected expenses have a way of popping up, but when you have a budget then you are more likely to stay on track.

A Christmas Personal Loan is Cheaper than a Credit Card

You might be tempted to put all your Christmas expenses on your credit card, but your credit card usually carries a higher interest rate compared to a personal loan. Also, if you are not able to pay off the full balance at the end of the month then carrying high interest credit card debt can cause financial issues and play havoc with your monthly budget. 

A personal loan, on the other hand, may have lower interest rates and with a set repayment period and amount, it will be easier to manage.

A personal loan for Christmas is there to help you get through a busy financial period and reputable providers will ensure that you can afford the monthly repayments before giving it to you.

You Can’t Blow Your Budget

A credit card will have a max credit limit and if you are not careful, you can easily spend more than you wanted to because it is so easy to just swipe your card and worry about it later. With a personal loan, you can only borrow up to a certain amount and can’t increase the amount. You will only have what you borrowed available making it less likely for you to blow your budget. Leave the credit cards at home and only use your personal loan with your budget to pay for things you need.

No Guess Work

A personal loan is fixed. You will have a fixed amount with a fixed term. You will be required to pay a certain amount each month for a fixed amount of months. This means you will know exactly what you will be paying each month and can budget accordingly.

Also, as it is a fixed amount it is easier to say no to additional debt or expenses because you don’t have the money. It will then force you to only get what you need. You will be more aware of your finances and will be forced into managing your finances. 

It Takes Out The Stress

Once you have qualified and have received your loan, you can follow your plan and budget and feel less stressed knowing that you have everything covered and will not need to worry about your huge high interest credit card bill in January. 

A personal loan for Christmas can help you through this busy period and with fixed terms, you will find it easier to manage and plan for than a credit card. 

What You Should Be Asking About Your Money

Money has a vital role in our lives as it pays for everything that we need, which means that we can’t escape it and we have complicated relationships with it. Every person will save and spend money differently, but there is always something that we can do to help us manage our money better. 

Here are questions that you should be asking about your money.

Are You Prioritising Your Expenses Properly?

Like many of us, you probably try to stick to a budget every month. If you don’t have a budget in place, then it’s time to create one. When you are setting up your budget, you will need to look at what your priorities are. 

You need to be honest about what you need and what you want so you can spend correctly. You are allowed to buy things that you want, but you will need to satisfy your needs first like groceries, accommodation and so on before you look at your wants like new clothes, a new TV, a new car and so on. You also need to reign in your spending on wants and not go over the top. 

Are You Spending Money On Things That Matter to You?

Take a look at your budget and see if your spending habits reflect your values and if those values are compatible with financial security. If they don’t match up then take a look at what you can change so that your budget aligns better with your saving goals, your beliefs and your overall financial plan. 

What is the Last Thing You Regret Buying?

What were your last purchases? Do you regret anything that you bought? If there is, you are not alone. If you have a regrettable purchase then think about why you are unhappy with your purchase, why you bought it and what you can do to stop yourself buying items that you will regret later.

Impulse buying is a problem and often these are the purchases that we regret. Before you buy anything rather take some time to think about the purchase. More often than not, you will either forget about the purchase or realise that you don’t need it. 

Do You Have Too Much Debt?

Debt can easily get out of hand and it could just take one more purchase to push you over the edge where you will not be able to keep up with the monthly repayments. If you find that you are already stretched and any other expense will push you over, then you need to get a plan together to pay off your debt as quickly as possible. 

If you are already over your head in debt and are already struggling, then you can consider seeking the help of a debt counsellor or can use a debt consolidation loan to help with your debt.

If You Didn’t Have Debt What Would Your Budget Look Like?

Imagine if you didn’t have any debt and interest payments to make and you were able to put that money somewhere else like a retirement annuity, a trip away or anything else. The quicker that you can get your debts paid off the quicker you will be able to start putting that money towards things that matter. 

Are You Able to Increase Your Income?

If you are not earning enough right now, then you need to think about ways that you are able to change this. You can get a part-time job, freelance, tutor or upskill so that you are able to get a raise or a better position at your current workplace. If you have a small business idea, then it might be an idea to start with this. However, if you are thinking about starting a small business then you need to apply caution as you do not want to end up in more debt. 

Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?

When you have clear financial goals, it keeps you focused. If you don’t have any then set some and then determine the steps you need to take to achieve these goals whilst also planning for any obstacles. 

Are You Setting a Good Financial Example for Your Children?

One of the most important things you can do for your kids is to teach them about managing money and looking after money. You don’t want your kids to make the same mistakes as you and suffer financial problems. You can’t just tell them what to do with their money, you also need to show them. You need to set a good example and give them a small allowance so that they can start practising financial principles. 

Can You Pay Off Debt and Save Money?

Two of the most important financial goals to have is to pay off debt and save money, but both are not always possible, so which one should you be doing first? Or are you able to do both?

It may seem that it would make sense to pay off your debt first, especially when you are carrying a high interest debt but it is also just as important to have savings like an emergency fund so that you have money to fall back on if something were to happen and this way you won’t need to go into further debt. 

Here is how you can decide which one to do first or if you can do both at the same time. 

Pay Your Debt First?

If you are carrying high interest debt like a store card, credit card or a personal loan then it is a good idea to prioritise these first. High interest debt like this is hard to get out of and is usually the reason that many South Africans are spiralling into debt. 

With this type of debt, you should always aim to pay more than the minimum each month. This may require you to make cutbacks. Bringing down your debt means that you will pay less in interest and in the long run, will have more available to save. 

If you aim to plan off your debt first, then avoid any further debt as this will just make the situation worse. 

Should You Save First?

There are some good reasons as to why you should save first even if you have outstanding debt to pay off. The main reason is to build an emergency fund. When an unexpected expense comes up, you will be able to pay using your emergency fund and avoid getting into more debt. If you don’t have enough to cover the full expense from your emergency fund then you can at least part pay and use a personal loan to pay for the rest and limit the amount of debt. A personal loan usually carries a lower interest rate than a credit card, which makes it a better option if you have to go into some debt. 

If the debt you are carrying has a low interest rate, then it will make sense to put money towards your savings. You ideally need to have enough money saved up to cover between 3 and 6 months’ worth of your income. 

So What’s Best?

The best way to reach your financial goals is to do both if possible. You will want to get rid of debt and save money at the same time, so look at a way for you to split your money between the two. 

For instance, if you have budgeted R1000 for savings but are carrying high interest debt, then split it 50/50. It may mean that you are paying a bit more interest but you will gain peace of mind knowing that you have some money saved up. 

This won’t always be possible depending on your debt situation, so if you feel that it is more important to first focus on your debt and cut that down then do so. It all depends on your financial situation. 

If you are carrying too much debt, then it might be an idea to speak with a debt counsellor to get advice. They will help you create a payment plan and if you are over indebted then you may want to consider a debt consolidation loan. 

If you need help with debt, then keep reading for a plan to pay off your debt.

Your Plan to Pay Off Debt

You are not able to ignore debt because this won’t make it go away. If you want to get out of debt, then you need a plan and financial discipline. Here is a plan for you to pay off your debt, so that you can start saving and become financially healthy. 

What is Your Debt?

The first step into paying off your debt is to own your debt and find out how much debt you have. You will need to look at all your statements and find out exactly what your monthly repayments will be for the next month and how much you owe overall. It is also a good idea to get your credit report, which you can get for free. Make a list of all your debt from the lowest to the highest. 

Create Your Monthly Personal Budget

Once you know what your debt is, you will need to create a personal budget so that you can work out how you are going to pay your debt back and how long it will take. You need to look at your spending habits and see where you can save money. You may need to cut back on nights out, takeaways and so on. There are always areas where you can cut down and save even if they are just small savings as these will add up. 

Which Debt to Start With

When it comes to paying off your debt there are two ways to go about it. 

Paying the highest interest debt first will help you to save money in the long run, especially if the debt with the highest rate is also the one with the highest balance. This will take the longest to pay off, so you may lose motivation to carry on with this if you don’t feel like you are making progress, which is why the second way might be the better option. 

The second way is to pay your lowest balance first, which offers instant benefits. When you can pay off your lowest debt first, you will gain motivation to carry on tackling your debt and you will free up money that you can use to pay for your next debt and so on.  This can be the best way to start tackling your debt. 

Pay More than the Minimum

When you only pay the minimum on your debt you won’t get very far because of the interest rate. If you want to pay off your debt faster, then you should look at trying to pay double the minimum. Take a look at your budget and see where you can cut down so that you can pay more towards your debt. You can set up debit orders, which will ensure you stick to your debt repayment plan. 

If you feel you are over your head in debt, then speak to a debt counsellor that will be able to help you with your finances and pay off your debt. Another option is to opt for a debt consolidation loan, which will combine your debts into one and will give you one lower debt repayment each month, but you will need to make sure this is the right option for you. 

Do You Know How a Small Loan Works? Here is What You Need to Know

If you need cash, but are not able to afford or able to get a big loan then a small loan might be your answer. There are a number of reasons as to why people are not able to get larger loans. These reasons could be that you have a bad credit score, you are carrying too much debt or the interest rates stop you from getting a larger loan. However, you can consider getting a small loan if you need cash.

A small loan is able to help in a number of ways, so here is what you need to know about a small loan. 

Applying for a Small Loan

If you want to apply for a loan, then you will first need to find a lender to borrow from. Lenders will differ in terms of their policies and their minimum requirements, which you will need to meet in order to apply. It is then advisable to do some research and find various lenders that you can compare.

This is very important because the decision that you ultimately make has the potential to make or break your finances. You also need to be wary of scammers and make sure the lenders that you are looking at are reputable and legitimate. 

This can help to make sure that you do not get trapped in a high interest rate scam and find that you are stuck with an unaffordable loan. 

As there are many lenders out there it can often be daunting trying to find the lender that is right for you. However, you will find plenty of online sites that will do the hard work for you. With these sites, you fill out just one simple application form and they will match you with reputable lenders based on your needs. You will then have the ability to compare offers, interest rates and policies easier and choose the one that is right for you. 

So, What Affects the Outcome of Your Loan?

Once you have found a lender that you are happy with then you just need to apply. You will usually be able to apply for up to R5000 with these lenders, however, there are some things that can affect your application. 

The first is your credit score and credit report. These are both influential factors that affect your loan outcome because it shows the lender if you can pay the loan back, if you are good with debt, if you are worthy of receiving the loan and so on.  

Both of these can prevent you from obtaining a loan. Your credit history is easier to rectify as you will just need to pay your bills on time and get rid of any debt as quick as you can. Your credit score though will take longer to change for the better. 

However, if you have a bad credit score it doesn’t mean that you are never able to get a loan. You are able to find lenders that will be willing to lend you money even if you have a bad credit score, but prepared that they will usually charge you a higher interest rate. 

Another factor is the lender and they will influence how much you can get. They may have a minimum lending rule, which means that you are not able to borrow less than what they consider standard. 

If you want to get the best rates and have a good chance of getting a loan, then your credit score and credit report need to be good.

The Small Loans You Can Get

There are different types of small loans that you need to be aware of when you apply. 

Short Term Loans

A short term loan is an affordable choice for borrowing money and are relatively easy to secure. With these types of loans, you will generally just need a proof of income as this is used by the lender to determine how much they are willing to lend you. 

However, many small loan lenders now perform credit checks to ensure that you can afford the loan and are able to repay it so you don’t get yourself into a financial pickle. 

A short term loan is one where you have a short period of time to repay the loan, which can be anything from a month to up to 6 months. This means that you are able to get the small amount of money that you need and pay it off quickly, so you don’t need to carry debt around for years. 

Short term loans are a great option for an unexpected expense, an emergency or anything else. Also, these type of loans are paid out quickly and you can often receive the cash you need within hours after applying. 

Bad Credit Loans

If you have a bad credit score, then you are still able to apply for a loan. If you don’t have a credit score, then you are also able to use these types of loans. 

However, you need to be aware that these types of loans usually carry a higher interest rate because you are deemed to be a higher risk by the lender. 

If you don’t have a credit score or if you have a bad credit score, then you can still access a small loan that you may need. 

If you need a small amount of cash for whatever you need with flexible repayments, easy application and quick payout then a small loan is the perfect solution for you.

Time to Clean Up your Budget

When it comes to your budget, you should update it often so that you can make sure that your budget aligns with price increases and extra financial commitments you may have taken on. It’s time to take another look at your finances and make sure your budget is up to date. 


Re-evaluate Your Expenses

There could be a number of things relating to your finances that may have changed recently. For instance, you may have received an annual pay rise or there could have been an increase in petrol prices, insurance premiums etc. or you may have debt that you are paying off. These type of things can result in either a gain or a reduction in your disposable income. If you have had a change in your finances, then your list of expenses will no longer be the same. 

You should then make a new list of your expenses which include your monthly necessities as well as personal loans, credit card debt etc. that you might be paying for. Also, make sure that if any of your expenses have increased in price that you have made the necessary adjustments. Deduct these expenses from your salary and you can determine if your budget is working or not.

If you find that you have a reduction in expenses, then you could put a bit more money into paying off debt or into your savings. If you find that you are paying for more things, then you may need to see where you are able to make cutbacks and readjust for the increases in expenses. 

You need to make sure that you have included every financial aspect into your budget so that it is true to your lifestyle. 

Check Your Insurance

You should go through your various insurance policies like car insurance, home contents insurance etc. and see if what you are paying is still providing you with the cover you need. If you have bought a new car recently then you should notify your insurance provider and update your details so that you have the right cover. 

The same is true if you have bought a new home or have added to your home contents as your premium may change to accommodate these changes. You need to make sure that your home is not over or underinsured. 

Also, it is a good idea to compare new insurance quotes from providers to ensure that you are still getting the best deal with the right cover for you. You may find that you are able to save a little each month on premiums by doing this once in a while. 

Keep reading for more ways that you can clean up your budget…


Watch What You Spend

Keeping track of your budget is easier than ever nowadays with apps that do it for you. Spending money can get out of hand when you don’t have a budget or a way to track your spending. With tracking apps, you can record what you spend. 

When you track what you spend, you can make sure that you stay on budget and are not overindulging, especially when you just get paid. 

Check Your Credit Report

Once a year, you are entitled to a free credit report from the credit bureau. You may not think that you are in financial trouble, there is a possibility that a default or a judgement is present on your name that you are not aware of, there could be mistakes in your credit report that you should get fixed right away or someone may have fraudulently taken out credit in your name. 

You should review your credit report and make sure everything is in order. 

Get to Know Your Real Debt

When it comes to debt it can be easy for us to avoid it even though we are accumulating debt from different providers. You may think that you don’t really owe that much, but when you add up your credit card debt, store accounts, loans etc. you may find that it is actually a lot more than you thought.

You should review your debt often and have a plan in place to pay off your debt and avoid taking on more debt. Your debt repayment plan should form part of your budget so you know exactly what you will have as disposable income after everything has been paid. 

Check Your Bank Charges

Every year your bank may increase their charges, so you should have a look at what your accounts are costing you. You should see if they offer better priced products that suit your needs. Also, assess if the accounts you have offer benefits that you are actually using and get rid of any accounts that you don’t use or need that are costing you money. 

Having a monthly budget is important and you will need to review your budget every once in a while and ensure that it still aligns with your expenses, your debt repayments and your lifestyle.

Want to Save Money When Grocery Shopping? Here is How You Can

One of our bigger monthly expenses is food, cleaning supplies and other essentials and depending on your living arrangements, you may find that you have to buy these items on a regular basis. This means you end up spending a large amount of cash every time you go to the grocery store. 

However, there are ways that you are able to save money whilst you are doing the grocery shopping. Here are some tips that will help you to spend less money every time you go food shopping. 

Don’t Go Hungry to the Store

This may sound odd, but have you ever thought that you might be spending more money especially on quick snacks when you are hungry?

One way that you are able to avoid temptation and to only get what you actually need is to go grocery shopping on a full stomach and never head out to the grocery store when you are hungry. This can help you to avoid buying snacks and fast food. You can then save money and add a little more to your monthly budget. 

Keep Shopping to Once a Week

The majority of us will decide that we will go get groceries regularly, but a lot of us fall into the trap of taking extra trips to our favourite stores, especially when they are close by. This means that we end up buying extra items, sale items and food that we don’t actually need at that time. 

To avoid this trap and spending more money, you should try and only go to the shop once a week and have a plan in place. You will need to make a list of the things that you really need and not what you want. If you can stick to your once a week list, you might be able to save cash each month because you can skip those impulse buys that look tempting in the store. 

There are more tips that could help you to save money…

Plan Your Meals

You can plan ahead before you hit the shops by making a meal plan for the week and making a detailed list of the items you need. The list should include your drinks, any ingredients you may need or any pre-packaged meals you might want to have in advance. 

You will then have a handy list of everything that you need to get when you head to the supermarket and can avoid items that are more of a want than a need. 

Also, by having a plan in place beforehand of the things you need for the week, you can be more careful about what you purchase and buy the more affordable options or the options that are on special, which means you can save money. 

Look for Discounts

Many of our supermarkets will have free ‘shopper cards’ available and if your favourite store has one then you should get it. These shopper cards can give you access to further discounts on selected products and with some of them, you can earn points on your shop. These points can then later be changed to a cash voucher for the store, which means you can save money on another shop in the future. 

Have a Calculator Handy

If you get to the checkout and are surprised by the cost of your shopping, then a great way to watch your spending is to shop with a calculator or an app. 

You can add up the price of items as you place them into your trolley and you will then know what you will need to pay before you reach the till. This can also help you to stay on track and inline with your budget. 

You can use your calculator on your phone or you may find there is an app available for your store that can help you to tally up your purchases. For instance, Pick n Pay and Woolworths have apps and you can make lists on the app before you head to the store so you know what you need to get and what it will cost.

It can be tough to save money, but we have to find ways to save, especially with items going up in price lately. Try these tips and you may find that you can spend less on your food shopping and stick to your budget. 

When is the Right Time to Take a Personal Loan?

In an ideal world, you will never have the need to take out a loan, but life is full of surprises and can be expensive, so you never know when you may need some extra cash.

When an unexpected expense crops up, it is easy for us to think that we need to take a personal loan to cover these expenses. So then when is it the right time to take a personal loan?

Here are some points that you should check off before you apply for a personal loan. 

Do You Really Need It?

An essential purchase can be classified as one that is necessary in order for you to carry on living your everyday life. You may need a loan for car repairs so that you can carry on getting to work for instance, but a new TV isn’t an essential purchase that would warrant a personal loan. 

You are only able to borrow so much money and every time you take a loan, it will reduce the chance of you getting another. If you then take a personal loan to pay for a non-essential item like a TV, then you will reduce your chances of getting a personal loan when you really need it. 

You should then ask yourself if the purchase is necessary. 

Are You Going to Improve Yourself?

The best investment that you can make is one in yourself and money that is spent on upskilling and training is money well spent. If you know that having a certain qualification or skill will improve your employment, then a personal loan can make sense.

Not only is education a good investment but having the right tools or equipment for your career can also warrant a loan. 

Do You Have a Solid Credit Score?

If you have a below average credit score. i.e. below 500 then you probably shouldn’t be applying for a personal loan, which means you should work at improving your credit score. A good credit score is one above 720 and this will mean you can benefit from a lower interest rate, which results in you paying less over the life of the loan. 

Also, when you have a good credit score it will be easier to secure a mortgage, as a good credit score shows that you are able to manage debt effectively. 

Keep reading for more things to check off before you apply for a personal loan…

Are You Able to Borrow from a Reasonable Lender?

You may come across lenders that will offer you a loan where others won’t. Irresponsible lenders don’t have an issue with giving you debt that they know you may not be able to pay off. The interest rates on these loans are also high and ensure that if the odd customers default they are still able to cover their costs. 

You need to be able to borrow from a reputable lender that has your interests in mind. Reputable lenders will assess if you are able to afford the loan and if they find that you can’t then they may reject your application. This is to protect you and your finances, so it isn’t bad news, it just means that you need to look at improving your finances so that you can get the loan. 

Are You Able to Pay It Back?

This should be common sense, but when things get tough many people will take a loan even though they know they are not able to pay it back. 

Taking on unmanageable debt is a big no. A reputable lender will make sure that you are able to afford it and that you are not saddled with debt you can’t handle. 

The most important thing that you need to check before you apply for a loan is to make sure you can afford it and to only borrow as much as you afford comfortably. Make sure that you borrow from reputable lenders with competitive interest rates. 

Is the Risk Worth It?

Personal loans have to be paid off within a certain amount of time and if you fail to pay then the lender can issue court action against you and even have you have blacklisted. This will cause damage to your credit score and make it extremely difficult for you to apply for a loan in the future. 

You need to read and understand the terms and conditions of the personal loan contract and be aware of any penalties. 

Also, have a look at the kind of interest rate offered. There might be a promotional rate that can start low but then may jump to a higher rate after a certain period of time. 

A personal loan could be what you looking for as long as its an essential purchase or investment. When you apply for a personal loan make sure it is with a reputable lender and that you have read all the small print. 

Were You Rejected for a Loan? Here are the Reasons Why

There are thousands of loan applications that are rejected every day, so if you have been rejected for a loan then you are not alone. 

Knowing the reasons why you were rejected for a loan though are not often divulged by lenders and banks as they each will have their own approval system in place. However, there are some common reasons as to why your loan application was rejected. Take a look at the reasons so that you know what you can do and improve on being able to get your loan approved in the future. 

Rejected? Here is Why

Your Credit Score Could Be The Culprit

If you are in debt and have managed your debt poorly then it will show in your credit score. Your credit report and score can be accessed by lenders and if they don’t like what they see then they will reject your loan application. You are able to get your credit score and report so that you can see where you need to improve, so that you have a better chance of getting a loan in the future. 

Been Blacklisted?

If you have been blacklisted or if you have a judgement against you then you will most likely be rejected for a loan. There are some online lenders that offer assistance and loans to those have been blacklisted, but be prepared as you may have to pay a high interest rate. 

If you are under debt review, then generally credit is declined as the process focuses on getting you out of debt. Once the debt review process is complete then you will be able to access credit again.

Have a Garnishee Orders?

This is court order where deductions are made on your salary by your employer in order to settle debt that you may have with a third party like a store account, a bank, a short term lender and so on. This will show that you are bad at repaying money that you owe and will most likely show in your credit report, which means that lenders will reject your loan application. 

Still wondering why you have been rejected…keep reading

You Can’t Afford It

When you apply for a loan, you will need to supply the lender with some information, which will include what you earn. Reputable lenders will assess if you are able to afford the loan and make the loan repayments. If they find that you won’t be able to keep up with the repayments because you have too many outstanding lines of credit, bills and such then they will most likely reject your application. 

Your Job Might Play a Role

There are lenders who will refrain from lending money to those that potentially may not have a stable or future income. This means that contractors, freelancers and even small businesses may have a hard time getting credit. Your income will be looked at to see if it is sustainable and based on this a lender may decide to accept your reject your loan application. 

If you are a job hopper, then you may not be looked at favourably because lenders might think that your job is not secure. You might also be rejected if you haven’t been in your current position for long as lenders prefer to see that you have had a stable job for at least three months and want the bank statements to show this.

You Have No History

If you have never taken a loan before then you may think that it is a good thing, but actually, this means that lenders have no way of knowing how good you are at repaying credit, which means they will be hesitant about lending you money. If you don’t have any credit history then you could open a store account or apply for a credit card, make small purchases and be prompt at repaying. This will help you to start building a good credit history and lenders will be more willing to grant you a loan. 

Just a couple more reasons…

Is Your Info Correct?

When you fill out your loan application you have to be honest. This means you shouldn’t overinflate what you earn and be truthful about who you owe money to. If you lie, then you will be rejected and you could even be charged with fraud. 

Age is Not Just a Number

In order to apply for a loan, you need to be over the age of 18 years, but you can also be too old for a loan. Generally, if you over the age of 75, you won’t be able to borrow a large amount of money like a mortgage, but you might still be able to get a short-term loan. If you are still earning money over the age of 75 then you could still qualify for a loan. 

There are a number of reasons as to why your loan application might be rejected, but if you have a good credit score and history, have a steady income and show that you can make timely repayments then you will be able to get the loan that you need.