Ways to stay financially disciplined with online banking

It’s tough sticking to a savings plan when South Africa, and the world at large, is going through such a difficult time as a result of the Coronavirus. Putting money away isn’t easy at the best of times, but the reward is that you will be that much closer to living your best life. It all boils down to financial discipline. Achieving your financial goals means being able to control how you manage your money.

One of the challenges with all good endeavours is that, very often, people just don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide to get you going while working from home during this 21-day lockdown.

  1. Know yourself

    Because our spending habits have a lot to do with our money personalities, a good place to start is getting to know who you are from a financial point of view. Can you pinpoint where you feel you lose control over your money? What bad habits do you have when it comes to money? If you’re able to identify your spending weaknesses, you’re in a better position to put measures in place that will help you to manage your finances better.

    Tools that will help: One of the best places to get to know yourself is with your bank statement. It paints a true picture of your spending habits and how disciplined you’ve been each month. Getting to know yourself isn’t a once-off exercise either — use your mobile banking app to access your bank statements daily, weekly and monthly, and regularly make adjustments whenever you feel something isn’t working.
  1. Be clear about your goals

    A good financial discipline plan is only as good as the goals you’re creating that plan for. Having goals is a great way to steer your behaviour. Whether short-term or long-term, your goals will give direction to the financial decisions you make daily.

    Tools that will help: African Bank’s MyWORLD account offers a Power Pocket feature which you can use to achieve your goals. A Power Pocket is a separate account linked to your Primary Account. Each Power Pocket comes with its own account number, debit card and PIN, and earns 5.5% (NACM)** interest per annum on positive balances. You could name every Power Pocket after the goal you are chasing, allowing you to keep tabs on your progress.
  1. Create your budget

    A budget enables you to plan and track where your money goes. It is an important factor in your ability to reach your goals. However, your budget is only as good as your commitment to staying disciplined. It needs to be realistic and easy to follow, especially if you’re a beginner at budgeting. Use your bank statements to see where your money goes each month. Then, create a structured plan for allocating money towards your goals and your financial responsibilities. If you’re not sure how to go about this, these tips can help.
  1. Pay Yourself First

    Saving money can be hard if you have a lot of financial obligations. Many people pay bills first, then try to figure out how to save money from what they have left. A change of mind-set is necessary. The best way to reach your financial goals is to automatically pay yourself first. This creates the discipline of consistently putting money into savings because you don’t have to think about it every time you get paid. 

    Tools that will help: MyWORLD also comes with a Savings Pocket feature which will help you in setting up automatic payments into your savings account from your day-to-day banking account. Great news — you can also do this from your banking app whenever you come across extra money that you can allocate towards your savings!

    A Savings Pocket is a separate bank account linked to your Primary Account. This account allows the Primary Account Holder to save at SA’s best interest rate of 6.5% (NACM)** per annum on any positive balance, while enjoying immediate access to your funds.
  1. Track your spending and savings

    Start keeping tabs on your money. Knowing where your money goes, especially every day, is key to becoming financially disciplined. Cellphone banking enables you to do just that by allowing you to access your bank statements anywhere, and at any time. 

Financial discipline is all about taking charge of your spending and ensuring that all bills are paid, even when you’re home and unable to go to the bank. Know your spending triggers, know where you are financially, have goals and a budget to spend better. You’ll soon be in a great position to save money each month and reach your financial goals.

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