Tag Archives: moneysmart

Take Back the Power…Saving Electricity.

“Do you have neighbours? Do you have extension chords? Tired of paying too much for electricity….?”

April is the month of Savings on moneysmart, so my latest column has to do with saving costs on power. Legally. ;-) 

The cost of living can get everyone down. With winter approaching and heaters turning on, it’s almost as if you expect to hear an infomercial voice-over suggesting illegal ways to siphon off some of the bills (think extension cord to your neighbour’s power supply).

Before you resort to breaking several laws (not to mention ruining your odds of ever being able to borrow a cup of sugar) try these nifty electricity saving tips: read more

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Save Water, Shower with a Friend

My latest column for moneysmart:

Saving Money has never been more Gay.

Gone are the days of old when people bathed once or twice a month, and were sewn into their underwear to survive the cold of winter. I think I can speak for all of our nostrils (and health statuses) when I say that thankfully we are in a much cleanlier era. However, just because water gushes out of the wall in a miracle of science at the turn of a knob– doesn’t mean we should abuse this right.

The government, celebrities, Green Peace and documentary filmmakers are all screaming about conserving the world’s resources– like water. Yes. We care. But look at it as saving MONEY and suddenly we care a lot more. The environmental thing is an added bonus.

A bath uses three times more water than a shower!

Well, we South Africans don’t need to be reminded of the merit of a good shower. Our president even sings their praises (oh, I went there). This doesn’t mean you should stand under the hot rain guilt free. A 5 minute shower uses 60 litres of water. What really takes longer than 5 minutes to wash? If you’re shaving your legs or leaving on hair conditioner turn the water off while you do it.

Even better- shower with a friend! (Showering with strangers might get risky)…. read more

 

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Surviving the Petrol Price

Being a single girl in these trying financial times, I hear a lot of talk about ‘sugar daddies’- but I can buy my own sugar. What I need is a “petrol daddy”. Petrol is skyrocketing faster than it did when it was physically inside the first actual rocket that went into the sky. (Well, that’s not scientifically accurate. But the severity of the analogy is not lost on any of us).

Just last week, I was chatting to my petrol pump attendant (in an effort to distract myself from crying, as I noticed how little the needle moved after what was essentially a R300 shot of petrol) and he was telling me that many motorists have stopped tipping him at all for his services, because they’re too mad about the prices. As if it’s his fault. He doesn’t even have a car. Yet again the bottom rung suffers most.

While there is very little we can do – here are some ways to save petrol in the 2012 mayhem in which we live. And for goodness sake, tip your attendants…

read more on moneysmart

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What Music Style is your Spending?

My latest moneysmart column:

What if your financial spending style was like a musical stereotype? Lets delve into the world in my mind of MTV, line dancing, radio hits and dollar bills, yo.

Hip Hop and Rap
You are all about short-term results with your spending style. Wasting money on flashy cars, diamond encrusted walking sticks and solid gold. You talk about money all the time but probably don’t stick to a very responsible budget. When a girl in a club asks you to pop another bottle and you oblige, your budget quietly weeps. You’re all about luxury and opulence, which is great while you’re still “young money”. But you’d best think about future investments before all those credit cards start putting you in some serious D.E.B.T. Which is not the name of a hot new jail-broken talent, but a nasty thing that banks claim from people who aren’tmoneysmart. You might need to take out life-insurance as drive by shootings are a common problem.

read the full article including ‘Country Western’, ‘Emo’, ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Hipster’ Spending styles….

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moneysmart column: Budgucated

My latest column on moneysmart was all about reflecting on the budget challenge that I took part in.

Budgeting can be fiddly

If you didn’t notice the #budgetchallenge hashtag this week, or the multiple moneysmart Facebook posts asking for votes, popping up everywhere, then I don’t know what rock you’ve been hiding under – but I’d venture a guess that’s it’s somewhere past Limpopo.

The Budget Challenge was moneysmart’s latest brainchild where they made 10 journalists battle it out for 7 days. “Battle” you muse? Yes, the oldest, most gentlemanly type of battle. The kind that would make Shakespearean Merchants of Venice proud – a battle of financial wit (and a fair dose of social media – I think we’ve lost Shakespeare on that point)… Read More

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Budget Challenge

So, many of you may or may not have noticed the hashtag #BudgetChallenge popping up on twitter the last week. It’s the latest thing by moneysmart. They are running a ‘challenge’ where we have to ‘budget’ for a week (see where they got the name? So clever.)

 

While I save the rhino on the money. YOU save the rhino in nature. READ MORE TO SEE HOW...

The raddest parts of this Challenge are :

1. They couriered each of us our own bank cards in a fancy box, with R1 500 on each card. My bank card is from FNB (I believe they are all from different banks) and mine is SILVER. I’m too broke and or lame to have ever qualified for a SILVER bank card. A silver ANYTHING (Unless you count sterling-silver knives and forks on Christmas day at my Nanna’s house, and even then, she doesn’t trust me alone with them…) So now I get to flash that around instead of my colourful student-account that I’m still pretending to qualify for.

2. There are 10 Journalists competing. We have to survive for a week on this R1 500, whilst sticking to a budget we set up in 9 categories on the moneysmart website.

My Budget allocations, on the moneysmart website.

3. They called me a “journalist”.

4. The winner gets to donate R10 000 to the charity of their choice. My chosen charity is ‘Put Foot Chicks’ which feeds directly into Project Rhino. Rhinos are getting massacred and whilst we can all shout, scream and stamp our feet – it’s not going to change anything. Project Rhino, however, are putting more men on the ground, more ‘car-guards’ if you will. Training them to better protect this vastly dwindling species. (look I got to use ‘dwindling’ in a sentence. It looks wrong, but has managed to escape the dreaded red spell-check line, I think this is a high for today.)

Help Save me and my Daddy... ?

5. The winner gets to SAY they were the winner. Bragging rights trump a free car. Well, no, that’s a lie. I’d love  a free car. But failing that, bragging rights come a close second to real free stuff.

VOTING:

6. By clicking ‘like’ on my profile on the facebook page you earn me (and the rhinos) points. By tweeting ANYTHING about the #BudgetChallenge and including my twitter handle (@YesReallyAngel – but you KNEW that… *side eye*) or simply by commenting on the facebook moneysmart challenge, and including my name in the comment… you EARN ME (and the rhinos) POINTS! Easy Peasy.

Do your good deed for the day. Imagine being a granny or grandpa, going to a game reserve and seeing the awe on your grandkid’s face as they see that real live rhino. Yup. You helped save them. Because YOU helped win R10 000 for Project Rhino.

Truth. You can sleep soundly in the knowledge that YOU are responsible for that joy you see sparkling in your future, hypothetical and potential grand-kids’ eyes. Now WHY would you want to deprive them of seeing a real live rhino? Why would you do that? You’re not heartless and mean are you? No. You’re not. I know you’re not. That’s why you’re gonna go vote for ME. For the Rhinos. For your Grandkids.

This could be YOUR grandkid.... Cute enough for you? Guilty yet?

So get voting quickly and ‘Help me, help you!’ Cheesy movie quotes aside… click on the screen grab below. It will take you through to moneysmart’s facebook. Then click on the ‘Budget Challenge’ link… Find the page that looks like the one below, and LIKE ME. Yes, Like me. Because I love you. “You had me at Hello.”

Or just tweet it. Easy peasy and SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Where's Wally? There she is! Top left.

*Random High Five to moneysmart for this awesome idea!*

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22seven vs moneysmart. Smarter..? Smartest..?

So there’s been a bit of an explosion on the social media lately as everyone applauds or laments this new money management platform: 22seven. Its awesomely funded launch has seen a huge buzz rise up from all the who’s who of the South African social media world.

It offers a great platform: Manage your money with budgets and tracking devices that helps you see what is going where and how and why. All the finicky things about finance that we don’t want to think about. I say YAY. Someone else can worry about numbers and stats, and tell us a personal summary so we can keep  lounging around eating sushi/bon-bons/cupcakes or vetkoek (in our underwear… depending on who you are).

But what’s the catch?

The obvious controversy is that 22seven has to link to your bank and all of your account details in order to track every time you swipe a card or make a payment. The banks have all been pretty clear that you violate their terms of insurance and protection if you give your details to a platform like 22seven and will therefore you will be covered nothing… NADA if you get phished online. You become liable.  Unlike our grandpas who wanted fish on their lines in the sea. The 2012 web is not the sea. It’s a place where the phish bite back. Im not saying that 22seven is a scam, or that they will even try to hack your details. But now all the hackers and darkest parts of Nigeria’s lottery-email spam factories have caught wind of this information. Do you really want to jeapordise your security? I panic the second I get tweeted a link…in case it’s a hack or spam attempt. Am I really going to put all my banking details onto a site that can access everything? I don’t even allow apps access to my Facebook info… No.

Seems like the universal answer is: no. (Unless the bank allowed it in their security policy)

Another Option:

Now that we are all interested and keen on the idea of an online money management platform. But hesitant about the implications, how about I remind you about a service that I blogged about a couple months ago: moneysmart.

Moneysmart is more established. And has all of the security of an FBI special agent. I know this because I was in their offices before they launched. Now I can’t speak for 22seven, and I’m sure they have good ideas and intentions too. I’m not going to be one of those fake bloggers who pretends to be completely objective. I will never advocate something I don’t believe in. So all i know is that when I saw all this buzz on 22seven I thought to myself… moneysmart IS secure. They DON’T ask for your secret details. So i wanted to tell you. moneysmart opted NOT to go for the “give us all your banking details and pin numbers” approach. Why? Because they didn’t WANT the client to be forced to jeopardise their security agreements with the bank. Yes the banks are all being sticky with 22seven… AND with moneysmart, and they could honestly make some adaptions and make life easier for these external platforms to help us better. But until they suck it up – the fact remains: moneysmart is the only financial platform in dialogue with SA’s top 5 financial institutes. read more here.

The implications are that moneysmart is slightly less user friendly in terms of ‘bells whistles and flash-plugins’ and you have to manually upload your bank CSV forms yourself (a rather tedious process initially, but it’s better than giving your pin and info over to the internet gods. In my opinion.) Here’s a column I wrote about HOW to upload your CSV. This way you have complete financial control of the information on this site. Which is what they aim at “Shift control” is their slogan. They don’t appear to have as big a marketing budget so the hype about them is less evident. But all I’m saying is: if you’re considering the responsible money approach. Know your options.

Control your decisions.

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Money: Stupid to Smart.

Originally posted on Random High-Fives:

Now like most freelancers, I take a pretty big ‘Ostrich’ stance to my money. No, that doesn’t mean I wear feather boas and run about kicking people. I’m referring to that myth (that actually doesn’t ever happen) of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand to hide from bad things. Now since Scientists would have us believe that it’s NOT true, ostriches are mistakenly branded cowards when they are actually just putting their heads near to the ground in order to better purvey the horizon – thus being PRO-active. PRO-tective. SMART.

Perhaps we should adopt the TRUE ostrich style about our money, and put our heads down – survey the horizon and try to predict the trouble. Be money smart.

Yes, easier said than done. Money. Numbers…Gah. My head hurts already. Can we talk about nail-polish yet? All I know about money is that it apparently can’t buy you…

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Money: Stupid to Smart.

Now like most freelancers, I take a pretty big ‘Ostrich’ stance to my money. No, that doesn’t mean I wear feather boas and run about kicking people. I’m referring to that myth (that actually doesn’t ever happen) of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand to hide from bad things. Now since Scientists would have us believe that it’s NOT true, ostriches are mistakenly branded cowards when they are actually just putting their heads near to the ground in order to better purvey the horizon – thus being PRO-active. PRO-tective. SMART.

Perhaps we should adopt the TRUE ostrich style about our money, and put our heads down – survey the horizon and try to predict the trouble. Be money smart.

Yes, easier said than done. Money. Numbers…Gah. My head hurts already. Can we talk about nail-polish yet? All I know about money is that it apparently can’t buy you happiness. But it CAN pay for my internet connection, which is pretty much the same thing. And it buys me shoes. Shoes make me happy. So in conclusion: all I know about money, is wrong.

Good thing it doesn’t need to be up to me. There are some very smart, very generous people out there. People who have called me on-board to try out their new money-management website called *drumroll* ….. moneysmart.co.za 

It’s basically a website that’s FREE and there to act as our own personal Private Banker. (Yes, I see your eyes glazing over – they kind of lost me there too. But bear with me.) It’s Money for Dummies. It’s also Money for Smart people. It’s an online community of accessible money talk.

Nutshell:

You sign up, with a very simple ‘enter email’ interface. And then you have the option of linking your info via Facebook, Linkedin or Manually. It links to your bank account and helps you manage your budgets and goals with nifty little graphs and tricks like keeping tabs on all your transactions.

How safe is it? It’s apparently VERY secure. They threw big words like ‘FBI certificates’ and ‘most secure platform possible’ at me when I asked. Apparently it’s more secure than most banks online. But then again, they told me that Facebook is more secure than most online banks these days too. So while I’m feeling more secure about this whole moneysmart thing, I’m feeling more like taking all my money and hiding it under my bed for safe keeping. Like a fictional Ostrich might.

The Challenge: I have signed up to this website thingy. It launched this week in SA. It is for South Africans, to try and help us all be more responsible and to LIVE with our money, rather than just ‘survive’. I know nothing about my money. I am going to do what this website tells me, making budgets, trying to plan and map out things like goals, dreams and realities with spending. 

The Process: I will be writing a weekly column on their website as the ‘Lifestyle’ section. You know in movies when they say ‘we need to try this out on the biggest idiot we can find, and if they can master it – then anyone can.’? I am feeling largely like their idiot guinea pig. (Hey, at least I’m not an Ostrich!)

The Outcome: According to the smart people behind the money of Money Smart. I will certainly come out with a better grasp of my finances.  They have forums for asking questions. Smart technology that monitors your spending patterns and guides you with suggestions of how to use your budgets better. Weekly column updates from REAL money experts giving advice on Investments and other money terms that I don’t know yet. And we all know, knowledge is power. I like power.

Challenge accepted! 

This is not a shameless plug. I get nothing if you guys go and sign up. I am just hoping that I LEARN something by signing up myself. It all sounds very responsible and grown up and I think it’s high time people start taking control of their money – so I’d recommend this to everyone to do. We really have nothing to lose. It’s free. (To be honest, I’m not really sure WHAT they are gaining from us… and when I asked WHY they are making this website he started glowing and getting all philosophical about spreading wealth and paying it forward. A hippy genius, generous, financial guru? If i hadn’t seen it with my own eyes – I wouldn’t have believed it either.) *high five*

I’m all about spreading high-fives of awesome, and when I heard about this site. I genuinely got excited. It’s a recession, we are all struggling. We need this. The Economy needs this. America’s economy is even so bad that Angelina Jolie is gonna start adopting American kids now.

Let’s do this thing.

*Money filled hands High Five*

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