Hello to all you savvy spenders and budget warriors out there! If you’re looking for a bit of financial inspo today, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s delve into a nifty tool that can serve as your financial compass, especially if you’re knee-deep in debt—The Debt Diary.

What is a Debt Diary?

Think of it as a journal, but instead of penning down your deepest, darkest secrets or your romantic escapades, you jot down your financial endeavours. Every time you incur debt or make a payment, record it. Whether it’s your credit card bills, student loans, or even the cash you owe to a mate, it all goes in there. This is where you keep track of numbers that matter, mate!

Why Should You Bother?

Because the numbers tell a story. Not one of Tolkien’s epics, sure, but a story that could lead to your very own financial ‘happily ever after.’

  1. Awareness: You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
  2. Planning: Knowing your debt numbers helps in budgeting.
  3. Motivation: Watching the debt decrease will motivate you to keep going.

How to Create a Debt Diary

Grab a notebook, or if you’re more digitally inclined, create a Google Sheet.

  1. List your debts: Write down every single one, from your mortgage to that R100 you borrowed from your cousin for petrol.
  2. Amounts and interest rates: List the outstanding amounts and their respective interest rates.
  3. Payment dates: Jot down when each debt needs to be paid.
  4. Monthly payments: Record what you can realistically afford to pay off every month.
  5. Track, track, track: Every time you make a payment, even if it’s just R20 towards a credit card, note it down.

My Personal Journey

I started my debt diary about a year ago, and let me tell you, it was a humbling experience. At first, I was gobsmacked by how much I owed. It felt like I had a mountain to climb. But as I began tracking, I noticed something miraculous. The mountain started to shrink. A little at first, and then more noticeably. Each payment, each reduction in the number was a small win. It was invigorating!

And guess what? I’ve managed to clear off two of my smaller debts entirely. How’s that for progress, eh?

Tips for Your South African Debt Diary

  1. Prioritise High-Interest Debts: In South Africa, credit cards can carry annual interest rates of over 20%. Attack these first!
  2. Negotiate: Some lenders may be willing to offer you a lower interest rate or a more manageable repayment plan.
  3. Consider Debt Counselling: If your debts are spiralling out of control, debt counselling is an option in South Africa that could help you negotiate better terms and give you a structured repayment plan.
  4. Extra Income: Consider ‘side-hustles’ like freelance gigs to speed up your debt repayment.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on the fluctuating exchange rates and economic trends. With South Africa’s volatile economy, this can have a significant impact on your financial planning.

Summing it Up

Starting a debt diary might not be glamorous, but neither is being shackled by debt. If I can do it, you certainly can! So, let’s get writing and start the journey towards financial freedom, one page at a time.

Happy budgeting, South Africa!

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