Written By: Jessica Woodruff
"Procrastination is when someone puts off tasks they think are unpleasant until the last possible minute," says Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education at FNB. "While sometimes putting off completing tasks in your everyday life is not a big deal, you shouldn’t take that attitude with your finances as it can not only cost you money in the short term but, worse in the long term you may find yourself without any savings or a with a bad credit record."
Here are a few common ways that procrastinating can be detrimental to your finances.
Always paying bills late
Do you tend to put off paying your bills until the very last day, or even after they are due?
"Unfortunately service providers will not let you get away with paying bills late," says Sibiya. "There is either interest that accrues from the day that it is late, a late payment fee and in some cases the service provider will simply stop the service."
Not paying bills has a more serious consequence than penalty fees. Unpaid or even late bills will reflect at the credit bureau making it difficult to apply for credit.
"There is really no excuse to pay bills late nowadays with all the digital platforms that banks provide," says Sibiya. "With cell phone and online banking or an app there is no need to delay paying bills or use the excuse that you don’t have the time."
Not having a budget
"One of the reasons why you may not be tackling your finances could be because you don’t want to face the truth about what you are actually spending every month," says Sibiya.
If you haven’t done so by now, it is vital that you draw up a budget by simply writing down money that comes in every month, versus money that goes out.
"Budgeting can help you save money as it quickly highlights bad spending habits," says Sibiya. "This is the first port of call in getting your finances under control which will help you manage your money and track expenses."
Filing your tax return
Not filing your tax return on time comes with a price and penalties. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to collect all the documentation you need, such as IRP5’s from previous employers, tax certificates from medical aids, investments and RA’s.
Putting off saving
Procrastinating over savings will really cost you in the future.
"Most people don’t realise that by putting off saving they are essentially taking money from their future selves," says Sibiya. "So the money that you spending on unnecessary items now, such as entertainment or clothing is money that your future self could be using towards something that will make a real difference to your life - such as a deposit for a house, your children’s school fees or even living comfortably in retirement."
It doesn’t matter how little you are saving, as long as you are putting something away right now as a start. This is one financial discipline that can’t be put off indefinitely.