You’re not alone in this: according to research 52% of South African customers participating in Black Friday don’t know what they’re going to buy before the day, yet 40% of shoppers expected to buy 2 to 3 products. This kind of unplanned spending is a shortcut to debt. 

READ MORE: 5 Tips to turn your financial situation around

Research by the National Credit Regulator shows that more than half of all credit active consumers are at least three months or more in arrears, with South Africans owing over R1,3 trillion in outstanding debt.

Even if you’re not the only one facing a financial shortage over the next month or two, you are alone in getting yourself out of debt. With Christmas only a few weeks away and the holiday season about to kick into high gear, you’ll need some extra cash to get you through the expenses of December.

We spoke to René Moonsamy, director and registered debt counsellor from local business National Debt Counsellors, to get some expert insight and tips to help recover and get back on track, fast.

READ MORE: How to survive black tax

The most sensible way to get yourself out of debt, she advises, is to be realistic with your spending. “Don’t over extend yourself, and work out your budget. So many people who approach our company for help have never worked out a monthly budget and have no idea how much they spend in a month,” she reveals.

Moonsamy advises that women learn how to live without unnecessary credit. “Of course, credit like vehicle finance and bonds are needed, but how many people do you know don’t have a clothing account, credit card or loan? If you cannot go a month without using your credit facilities, you are headed for trouble,” she says. 
 
“The best thing you can do is open a savings account and save 10 % of your gross salary every month, this way you can ensure your own financial stability. Women should always have a backup plan and financial independence to ensure we are setting examples for younger woman and are able to provide the best for our families,” she says. 

READ MORE: Financial institution sparks #BlackTax debate

That is sound advice, but if you’re looking to save quickly, and returning your Black Friday splurge isn’t an option, you’re going to have to stop spending immediately. 

Takeaway coffee alone can cost you over R700 a month, while takeaway meals and snacks can soon add up to over R1000. Other short-term ways to save include cutting back on entertainment, and limiting luxuries, but if you are really serious about saving then also try to limit spending on travel and data too. You will be surprised at how much you can save by staying in with a good book on a Friday night.  

For longer term saving, consider dropping regular expenses like gym contracts, and renegotiating insurance payments. We asked regular women to give us their top tips for getting out of debt, and saving, quickly.

READ MORE: If you can only do one thing, do THIS to take control of your money

Dina: “I have a separate savings account where I save little by little through the year, however much I can afford that month. Then I start buying Christmas gifts in September/October already. I also make use of the purple sticker promotion that Clicks has (3 gifts and the cheapest one is free).”

Claire: “Put everything on hold that’s not urgent or necessary. Or eat beans and rice for a month!”  

Anele: “I use a budgeting app to help me track my spending. There are a several that offer free basic options, and you can find one that offers you what you need. The 22seven app lets me see all my money in one place and categorises all my transactions so I can see where I’m spending.”  

Asha: “I keep track of everything in my bullet journal. Every time I don’t buy something I would normally have, even something small like a coffee or a packet of nuts, I write it down so I can see how much I’m saving. It adds up fast.” 

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