How to remain financially afloat during tough times as a family

These are challenging economic times for South Africa's families. The economy is losing jobs, unemployment rates are rising, families are losing their homes while the cost of basic necessities continues to rise.

Our current economic hardship threatens an increasing share of the nation’s families, with implications for their children and for our nation’s future. Whether they've lost their jobs and had to tap their savings to stay afloat or have simply trade dinner and a movie out for staying home with a pizza and videos, many families are being forced by the recession to downscale their lifestyles.

Pieter Woodhatch, CEO of FNB Easy, advices families to have a budget. He says a budget is a good way of identifying where your money goes, but most importantly, it also helps identity wastage and unnecessary expenses. The sooner you spot and close leakages in your family kitty, the better your financial position will be over the long-term.

As soon as you have a budget as a family and are consistent in how you manage it, you begin to chart a path in which you can steer your finances as a family. An important aspect though, is ensuring that all family members are onboard as there may be some sacrifices that need to be made.

As you formulate the budget, there are a few areas where you can make adjustments and cushion the blow of the high cost of living:

Unplanned expenses

Times are tough, but it’s important to make sure you put something away for the rainy even it’s as little as R100 a month, it will go a long way should you be faced with an emergency. The best way to remain consistent with your savings is by having debit order transfer with a set amount on a monthly basis. In this way, you are able to plan around the money you are left with after saving and committing monthly expenses.
Education expenses

Instead of buying school informs during the Back-to-School period try to by these items much earlier as they are likely to be a bit pricy during the hype. Lay buying is another option that could ease pressure on you because you can buy uniforms over a period of a few months.

Don’t cut off funeral insurance

If you have funeral insurance into which you contribute monthly, don’t get rid of it rather cut down on other expenses such as entertainment. A funeral insurance will buffer you from having to borrow in the unfortunate event of a death in the family.

“The only thing that will push a family towards financial prudence is consistency, and in this instance what counts is having a budget and sticking to it,” concludes Woodhatch.

When times are tough you can be tempted to approach a Mashonisa, instead get help from a credible financial institution. The main benefit is that you will build a credit profile which, over time, will allow you room to access credit when the need arises.

How do you remain financially afloat during these tough times as a family?