No need to break the piggy bank

It can be challenging to save for a new mobility device and still go see the latest Avengers film at the cinema. Here are a few basic financial tips to help you make every cent count.

Managing finances can be daunting for people with disabilities, especially since employment opportunities are few and expenses are many. However, smart financial planning could help you stretch your last couple of rands a little more. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Take advantage of government programmes

Be sure to make use of all the government programmes available to assist people with disabilities. Apply for a disability grant and disability tax rebates. It could make all the difference, especially when you have to buy a new mobility aid or adapted vehicle.

If you are not sure what forms are needed for tax rebates or how the process works, contact a tax consultant for more information.

Budget, plan and budget some more

Every household needs to have a budget. It helps you to see what you spend your money on and where you can save. Set up a budget at the beginning of each month with your planned expenses. Be sure to leave some room for unexpected expenses such as tyre punctures. Try to keep to the budget you set and review your progress at the end of the month.

Save every cent

It can be difficult to save, but a good habit to learn is to put a little into a savings account before paying any bills. Then, resist the urge to dip into those savings – instead, budget for less spending.

There are tax-free saving accounts available, 32-day notice accounts and various other investment options to help you grow the little that you are able to save. Discuss the alternatives with a financial advisor.

Don’t skimp on the important things

Be sure to sign on for a good medical aid and avoid reusing catheters. While this might mean you have less money to spend on other things, they can save you much more in the long run. Reusing catheters increases your changes of contracting a urinary tract infection, while medical aids play an important role in paying medical expenses, from doctor visits to hospital care.

There are other ways of saving, including sharing a flat or renting out an additional room in your home; cooking all your meals; and reducing water and electricity use.

Eating healthily, exercising and going for regular check-ups can help reduce medical expenses by lessening
your risk of illnesses such as high cholesterol and
diabetes.

Take advantage of discounts

Many shops offer rewards programmes similar to the Pick n Pay Smart Shopper programme. These can make a big difference if you’re living off a small food budget or in a month where you have reduced spending money.

Do odd jobs when possible

Even if you are employed, a little extra cash can assist in making it through a particularly difficult month. Take on extra part-time work where you can. Consider giving a motivational speech at a school in your area, becoming an Uber driver or helping out in a store.

Play to your strengths and be creative in finding odd jobs. When you do earn a little extra either through an occasional stint or through receiving a bonus at work, try and save most of that windfall for unforeseen expenses.

Other ways to keep your budget under control include: staying debt free; creating a safety net by owning assets such as property (you can also be a part-owner if you can’t afford to buy a property on your own); or consider making use of crowdsourcing platforms when buying expensive equipment.

With a little planning and discipline, it is possible for you to enjoy your money and save for that dream
wheelchair!

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