Keep a reminder of when all your renewals are due: This can easily be done with electronic diaries as they provide for recurring entries as well as diary entries a few years in advance. This would include things like your annual vehicle license, your driver’s license and passport renewal.
The cost: The fine for not having an up-to-date vehicle license is R500.
Pay your bills on time: The best way to ensure you pay on time is to have debit orders that pay your bills automatically. If you set up your credit card payment as a debit order it also improves your credit rating.
The cost: If you miss your credit card payment by even just one day, you could pay a R100 penalty over and above the additional interest. Missed payments also impact on your credit rating which in turn drives up your cost of credit.
Update your details with SARS: If you have changed your banking details make sure you have updated the information with the SA Revenue Service as this is the account into which they will pay your refund. If you closed your bank account several years ago, your bank may have reallocated the account number to a new customer. If your refund accidently gets paid to the wrong person it is not SARS’ responsibility. It goes without saying that you do not want to hand in your tax return late as this now carries significant penalties.
The cost: Late payment of taxes results in a penalty fee of 10% of the outstanding amount.
Check your bank statement each month: There has been an increase in complaints around unauthorised debit orders, so it’s important to check your bank statement each month and set up SMS notifications for all transactions, even those below R100.
The cost: Fraudsters deduct small amounts of around R100 per month, which are not always noticeable on one’s statement balance.
Check your credit record: If you haven’t already, check your credit record this month. Once a year you are entitled to a free credit check at credit information bureaus like Experian and Transunion. By regularly checking your credit record you will pick up any identity fraud where criminals may be using your identification to open up credit accounts.
The cost: The first time you discover you have been a victim of identity theft may be when the debit order starts going off for a car you don’t own!
Close accounts you don’t use: If you have store cards you never use you may find that you are paying for services like magazine clubs or card insurance.
The cost: Club fees and card insurance can add up to around R400 a year per card.
Work those reward programmes: If your wallet is full of reward cards make sure you are claiming the benefits, especially if they expire. If you are a member of Liberty’s Own Your Life loyalty programme you are entitled to thousands of rands of benefits – use them!
The cost: Reward programmes usually carry a cost. These can add up to a couple of hundred rand a year, so cancel them if you are not benefiting.
Update your beneficiaries: If your life has changed in any way such as a marriage, divorce or having a child, update all your retirement and policy details as well as your will. In the event of your death the trustees of your retirement fund are obliged to pay out your retirement benefit to your financial dependants. If you have not updated it to reflect all your children, for example, this will increase the time taken to resolve the payout.
The cost: Not keeping your policies and will up to date will impact your dependants both financially and emotionally.
Update your financial plan: If you have a financial adviser you should be meeting with them once a year as part of their service fee. This is an opportunity to make sure you are on track with your financial goals.
The cost: Most advisers receive an annual service fee, so if you are not receiving any service, it’s time to change advisers.