Not paying January’s bills first

The December salary is usually paid early (around the 15th of the month), which means there are 40 days to the next pay-cheque! Most of our salaries are spent by the time the January bills and debit orders arrive and any New Year’s resolution to settle your credit cards and overdraft will be broken.

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So pay your January bills immediately, before you start spending – and welcome a 2018 that kicks off debt-free.

Paying the minimum balance

If you have a R10 000 credit card balance and only pay the minimum amount each month, it will take you nearly 20 years to pay off! That’s because the minimum amount is only marginally higher than the interest charged. The only credit card bill you can afford is the one you can settle in full each month.

Buy now, pay later

Using a store card may be a tempting way to buy gifts for the family or treat yourself, but is it worth purchasing something that will take the whole of 2018 to pay off?

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Forget the imported toys and designer shoes: instead, buy yourself a cappuccino and a bag of  delicious grapes for the family, and go home feeling virtuous (and solvent!).

Impulse spending

Credit cards and store cards make it very easy to buy stuff we don’t really need. If you lack the self-discipline to use your credit card responsibly, rather don’t have one. If you already possess one, cut it up or freeze it in water, so you have to wait for it to thaw before you use it – which gives you time to reconsider whether you truly require whatever you were considering buying.