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Quick and easy tips to start the year financially fit

12 January 2023 FNB

The much-awaited new year has arrived, and many are hoping for financial breakthroughs to build a secure financial future. This presents everyone with a fresh start and an opportunity to correct the financial mistakes made in the previous years.

Ester Ochse, Product Head, FNB Integrated Advice, says, “The first step to building a secure financial future begins with creating a budget that allows us to save money and pay off any debts you have. It’s important to be realistic when creating a budget and to make sure that it is something that can be followed. You should also consider cutting back on non-essential expenses such as eating out regularly or overspending on luxury items. Additionally, you can explore ways to earn extra income, such as side hustles.

Himal Parbhoo, CEO of FNB Retail Cash Investments agrees that instead of being overwhelmed by unnecessary expenses this new year, look at ways or areas where you can save and invest your money. Unplanned expenses can push people to unnecessarily accumulate debt, which should always be the last resort, he says.

Ochse and Parbhoo share quick and easy financial tips to start the year right and build a secure financial future:

1. Setting up automatic payments for expenses: Setting up automatic payments for bills can help you save money by reducing late fees and penalties. It also ensures that payments are made on time, which can help you maintain a good credit score.

2. Utilising budgeting tools: Using a budgeting tool, like smart budget available on nav» Money on the FNB App, can help you stay on top of your finances and track your spending. This can help you save money by helping you identify areas where you can cut down on unnecessary spending and redirect that money to savings.

3. Opening a high-yield savings account to save for an emergency: A high-yield savings account can help you earn interest on the money you save. This can help you grow your savings over time, assist when there is an emergency and can be a great way to save money. Given that inflation is increasing, look at appropriate savings vehicles that can help you save or invest. Short-term savings accounts help you contribute monthly through either immediate availability or 7 days. Having these savings accounts will help you better manage any emergencies that might creep up as life happens. A good rule of thumb for emergency saving is to have one to three months of expenses saved.

4. Taking advantage of rewards programmes: Taking advantage of rewards can help you save on things like groceries, travel, and dining. Through eBucks, FNB offers a rewards programme that can help you save money. eBucks allows you to earn points for every rand you spend at any of the eBucks partners. Look for special offers that can help you save even more.

5. Take advantage of tax-free accounts: Tax-Free Investment Account allows you to invest up to R36 000 a year without paying any tax on the returns. The returns you get from the investments held in the tax-free account are not subject to income tax, capital gains tax, or dividend withholding tax.

6. Save your change: Old school is sometimes cool and when it comes to savings, putting your spare change in a jar or box always works. Save your spare change in a glass jar or box and after a few months see how much it comes up to. For FNB customers, the Bank Your Change® feature allows all FNB customers who have a transactional bank account to save a portion of their change each time they use their FNB debit card to buy goods or services. To date, FNB customers have saved over R5.5 billion in the last three years by saving small amounts ranging from R2 to R50 through their FNB Savings Account.

"We are in a tough economic climate and encourage our customers to understand the potential of saving over time. Your savings, whether big or small, will make a difference to short or long-term financial planning opportunities. It’s important that you start saving now. It’s this step that will help you in the longer term to build a secure financial future. With dedication and discipline, we can make this new year the one we’ve always dreamed of,” Ochse concludes.

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