We all have material wants and needs. Some are essential and some can wait – and it’s easy to confuse the two. Learn to tell the difference and get money wise. Managing your money doesn’t have to be a hit-or-miss process. No matter what size of your bank balance, the principles of good money management stay the same. With a sound strategy and a healthy dose of self-discipline, you can do it!

The difference between what we need and what we want might seem obvious, but it’s easy to confuse the two in a society where the temptation is to spend everywhere. If you want something badly enough, it might seem that you need it. There are so many products that promise to make our lives easier and simplify things – but they don’t if you can’t afford them.

How often have you been tempted to borrow when you shouldn’t, because credit is so easily available? How often do you buy things you don’t need, because buying on account makes the expenses seem so distant? If you’re looking for expert tips on how to get your budget plan rolling then look no further. Wonga SA has prepared a list of the most critical information to help you set up your budget quickly and stick to it for the long term.

Good money management is about understanding the difference between needs and wants, and then spending your money wisely and not ringing up debt. Buying things you don’t need when you can’t afford them will just make you more needy. So, begin by drawing up a list of your needs – things you cannot do without – and a separate list of your wants – things you would like to have, but which can wait.

Involve members of your family in drawing up these lists, because the financial decisions you make will have a direct impact on them. Together, you must decide which is more important – new bikes for the kids, for example, or saving for their future education. In the end, you’ll find that it’s more rewarding to meet the needs you can afford than to satisfy the wants you can’t afford.

Learning to prioritise your needs is a step in breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Budgeting can be daunting, but it helps us to overcome our fears by giving us a plan of action. With proper budgeting, you will be able to work towards your short and long-term financial goals. Draw up a budget and stick to it, but also, learn from your mistakes.

At the end of each month, go through your budget and make changes where necessary. If you are determined, you’ll find saving gets easier and easier. If you find that you have a surplus left over every month – well done! Use it wisely by saving or investing and you’ll be thankful in the future. I recommend checking out apartment therapy’s post here for additional guidance on how to budget in a practical yet realistic manner.

Although it may seem like obvious advice, the vast majority of South Africans still do not take the time to budget properly on a monthly basis. The result of this neglect is a key reason why most us of find ourselves terribly short of money not even a week after payday.

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