Ways to stretch your January budget


Ester Ochse is the First National Bank (FNB) Integrated Advice & Product Head

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE beginning of January hits hard as overspending from the festive season and new year expenses such as school fees, uniforms and books weigh down on the regular budget.

Some have their salaries paid early in December, while others like contractors and freelancers often have a break in income, making January a very long month to get through.

But there is way to get to pay day in style. Ester Ochse, Product Head at FNB Integrated Advice, gives us tips on how to stretch out every rand and get the year off to a good start at the same time.

Use your rewards
This is the best time to use your rewards and loyalty programmes, such as eBucks. These normally pay out around the second week of January, so it is the perfect time to take advantage of the extra boost in cash flow.

“Spend your rewards on essentials rather than treats,” suggests Ochse. “For example, with eBucks you can buy Checkers vouchers on the app, and you can pay for some essential purchases, such as fuel or banking fees. This will immediately free up extra cash to soften the long January drought.”

Max out your freebies
Continuing the rewards programme theme, many rewards programmes give freebies as incentives, and they are awarded throughout the month. Use these to the max.

“On the FNB app these include free Starbucks and Kauai vouchers, as well as Wimpy burgers. If you attempt to use all these freebies, they will quickly add up and are a nice treat when your budget is very stretched.”

Get into good financial habits
The start of the new year always comes with new year’s resolutions.

“This is the best time to include your financial wellbeing into your new year’s resolutions. For example, this can be prepping meals instead of buying at the office every day. Even small changes make a big difference,” says Ochse.

Have a look at your budget, either by using pen and paper or use nav» money on the FNB banking app to see where you can cut down or even cut out on unnecessary spending. Start that now.

Look out for specials
With the end of the festive season most retailers go into a season of specials to incentivize shoppers.

“Make use of specials for essentials and try change your spending habits to get more bang for your buck,” suggests Ochse.

Review your subscriptions and memberships

The new year is the perfect time to assess all those subscriptions and memberships that automatically roll out of your account monthly.

“You don’t even need to cancel these. You could pause a subscription for the month just to free up a bit of extra money. Once you have done without it for the month, assess whether you use it enough,” suggests Ochse.

Getting to pay day in January doesn’t have to be painful. With a bit of planning and maxing out on the opportunities that are available to you, you can start 2024 off on the right financial foot.

NB: Ester Ochse is the First National Bank (FNB) Integrated Advice & Product Head

– CAJ News

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