Making Changes in Your Life

budget for new lifeAre you meeting your savings and investment targets, or does it feel like you just don’t have enough money left over each month to build your financial future? If you’re worried about your financial goals, there’s good news – by making small changes in your life each day you’ll end up happier, less stressed, and richer. Here’s how.

How to eat a financial Elephant

You may have heard the old saying that the only way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time. These words may seem ridiculous to some, but they do make an important point – the small changes we make in our everyday lives (and spending habits) can make a huge difference over time.

No matter how far you are from reaching your financial goals – no matter how much debt you’re in – there is always a way to turn things around. Saving a million Rand may sound impossible today, but what if you had 20 years to do it? That’s just R5000 a month – and with compound interest it could be closer to R2000. How impossible does it sound now?

Resisting the urge to spend

Human beings are impulsive creatures – when we want something, we want it now. That’s probably the reason so many of us find ourselves in debt.

In years gone by, before the age of credit cards and access bonds, people lived simpler lives. They paid off their homes as quickly as possible, saved for their retirement, and paid cash as often as possible – there simply wasn’t another choice.

Today’s world is different, and we certainly can’t go back in time – even if we wanted to. What we can do is to live in a way that allows us to boost our net worth instead of paying interest to banks and retailers by buying on credit. What we’re after is a life of financial freedom, and here are first steps you can take to achieve it.

Reducing unnecessary expenses

Every morning when we wake up, we have a fresh day ahead of us – and the best way to make changes to your financial life (or any other aspect of your life) is to simply start doing things differently.

Let’s take unnecessary expenses as an example.

Many people wake up and head straight for work, stopping at a café or fast food drive-through to pick up coffee and breakfast. This “morning ritual” is more of a sacrifice because it empties their wallets to the tune of R50 or more each morning – that’s R1000 a month just for a small breakfast.

By comparison, buying coffee and breakfast ingredients may cost less than half that amount – and it really doesn’t take that long to prepare.

Other examples of unnecessary expenses include:

  • Groceries that go to waste (easily solved by planning meals in advance)
  • Buying the wrong item and never exchanging it (five minutes’ work that could save you hundreds of Rand)
  • Going out every night of the week (you’d probably enjoy it more if you did it less often).


The list of small expenses you could reduce in your everyday life is almost endless – you just need the will to make changes. Try keeping a record of your expenses and decide on just one that you’d like to cut out – if you keep it up for a month, it’ll probably become a habit.

For more information on personal expenses and strategies to reduce them, contact Northwood today for a financial planning consultation.

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