The Newspaper – April Edition 2022

Page 8




Back to the office tips Just Money release Investment allocation: If you have not yet spoken to a financial advisor and considered their professional perspective, this is a good time to book a meeting or call. Commuter costs: Fuel costs have gone up dramatically, and your petrol bill could be a headache when you commute to the office. Vehicle maintenance and careful driving will pay off eventually. Consider car-pooling with a co-worker, as vehicle insurance costs may increase due to mileage-based premiums. Office gear: If your office attire has been sweatpants and t-shirts for the past two years, you may need to revise your wardrobe. Lunch money: Packing your own coffee capsules and lunch for work will save hundreds of rands a month, which could be allocated to building your emergency fund. Child care: If you have family nearby, enlisting their help, while offering compensation, is the easiest way to reduce child care costs. As South Africa plans to lift pandemic restrictions – at least in part – there will be more calls to return to the office. This could take the form of 8-5 at the workplace, staggered staff hours, or a hybrid model involving both the office and home. Whatever your employment options may be, this is an appropriate time to take financial stock, revisit your budget, and examine where you can save, says Preparing for a return to the office, whether on a full- or part-time basis, it’s worth considering JustMoney’s financial planning checklist. Budget review: Make a list of your current household essentials, such as bond payments, electricity and food, along with additional expenses such as car payments and school fees. Emergency savings: Aim to build up sufficient savings to cover your expenses for three to six months. Channel any additional funds into investments.

Online shopping: Online shopping will not only help you maximise your leisure time, but will also cut your fuel expenditure. Employee benefits: Your company probably made compensation changes during the pandemic, and will be reviewing these as staff return to the workplace. Ensure that you are informed about, and take advantage of, company benefits, such as your employer matching your medical aid and retirement saving contributions. Debt help: The pandemic has made us more aware of the importance of mental health. Being unable to keep up with debt is extremely stressful. The good news is that there is professional help available to support you in tackling debt., established 14 years ago, is a trusted voice within the personal finance sector. The JustMoney website offers articles, money management tools and a wide range of financial products and services. Over 200,000 South Africans subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed and become financially savvy.

Delivering your dream kitchen without the drama The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home and is one of the most popular home improvement projects, but also one of the most complex. According to specialist loan provider, DirectAxis, home improvements, including kitchen remodels, are among the leading reasons people take out loans, so ensuring that you get the best value, and the finished kitchen meets your expectations is important. Nozizwe Fakude, DirectAxis’ head of consumer insights, says that it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for before committing or applying for a loan, and that means being realistic and aligning your preferences with what you can afford. According to the Kitchen Specialists’ Association (KSA), a non-profit organisation that represents 274 reputable kitchen manufacturers and suppliers, a major source of conflict between a customer and a kitchen company is when the client’s tastes and budget do not align. She says that once you’ve decided, write a brief before you visit a kitchen company. This will focus your mind and save time by giving the designer an understanding of what you want.

Stick to your budget: Fancy upgrades and accessories are sure-fire budget busters.

The brief should include your budget and explain why you are undertaking the renovation and what the goal is – a cost-effective facelift or completely redoing a 20-year-old kitchen. It should also explain your lifestyle. Do you love to cook? What type of food do you like to cook? Do you entertain a lot? How does the kitchen feature in family life? The more information you provide, the easier it will be for the designer to meet your requirements.

Communicate: Don’t be afraid to ask the designer and contractors questions about why they’ve made certain recommendations or are doing things a particular way. Remember, you’ll have to live with the kitchen long after they’ve left site. Except there will be difficulties: Not having a kitchen while the work is taking place is disruptive and can lead to tensions in the household. Try to anticipate and avoid these by providing alternative places to make tea or coffee or setting up somewhere else for children to do homework.

Tips for a stress-free remodel are: Make alternative catering arrangements: While your kitchen is out of service, expect to do a lot more braaing or eat a lot more microwavable or take-out meals.

Make sure the job is properly finished: Before you sign off your new kitchen, make the final payment and the contractors leave site, make sure everything is completed. You can find a checklist on the KSA website.

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