Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

How to make it financially to the end of 2024

The secret is to ensure that you are financially literate and use what you learn to improve your financial situation.

Although South Africans are faced with high interest rates, no tax relief and increasing fuel prices, there is a way they can make it financially to the end of the year.

According to the 2023 Household Financial Wellness Index by Momentum and Unisa many South Africans sadly overestimate their levels of financial literacy, Tshepo Mathato, Momentum Corporate retirement benefit counsellor and financial coach, says.

In a sample of almost 20 million South Africans, 45.7% of the respondents assessed themselves as being financially literate although according to the survey’s criteria, only 15% demonstrated a sound grasp of financial concepts.

In addition, although 54.3% felt that they were not financially literate, in fact as many as 85% scored low on the financial literacy scale.

ALSO READ: The dangers of living beyond your means without financial management

Make the right financial changes and stick to them

Mathato says this shows how important sound financial management is. He has a few tips for consumers on how to make the right changes and ensure they can stick to them:

  • Remember that financial success is a journey, but you cannot undertake a journey if you do not know where you are going. Therefore, setting goals is especially important. The first thing to do is to identify what your ultimate goal is, where you want to be financially and when.
  • Face some uncomfortable truths. It is important to indulge in honest introspection and ask yourself some uncomfortable questions about your current financial reality. It is only through answering these tough questions that you will be able to set new goals.
  • Focus on goals that will set you up for success by:
    • Compiling a realistic budget and ensuring that you stick to it.
    • Setting aside an amount each month for your savings. It does not have to be a lot but start getting into the discipline because it will help you learn the rewards of saving.
    • Repaying debt consistently, and on time is important. Start with a debt repayment plan for every month to ensure that your debts are always paid. This will also help to protect your credit record, which will be important for other future goals.
    • Think about retirement. Many people only start thinking seriously about retirement when it is too late and therefore you must always make sure that this is part of any financial plan and the earlier you start, the better.
  • Live within your means and always look for ways to trim your expenses. If you want to find extra money in your budget, you can always go back to some of these hacks:
    • cutting out take away coffees
    • cutting out take-away meals, especially work lunches that you can prepare at home
    • reduce entertainment costs
    • think about buying in bulk by yourself or with others and always compare prices of products at various stores using the internet and apps.
  • Where possible, pay a little extra into your home loan every month. This is long-held sage advice because by putting in a little more into your bond each month you reduce the interest and payment period of your home loan and leap into financial freedom a lot sooner.
  • Bring your family on board. Make sure that your family is aligned with any cost-cutting strategies that you introduce and make sure that everyone understands and sticks to the plan.
  • Practise what you preach. If you want your family and your children to stay the course, you have to do the same. Stay disciplined and strong-willed to save money.
  • Get a financial advisor. Even the most talented soccer players can only go so far without a team of coaches, nutritionists and psychologists. An expert can help you stick to your plan and enhance what you are trying to do.

ALSO READ: Fix your money mindset and improve your relationship with your finances

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