It hasn’t been an easy year. With accumulated inflation of 5.13%, as announced by the IBGE in early December, but reaching 10.91% in the case of food, the purchasing power of Brazilians has shrunk in 2022. of all expenses has become more difficult. Indebtedness and defaults have broken records, especially among the poorest. But with the arrival of a new year, there is an opportunity for families to tidy up the accounts and get organized to try and start 2023 in blue.
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A survey by the Opinion Box Institute, commissioned by Serasa, showed that nearly ten out of ten Brazilians agree that financial planning is key to maintaining economic balance, but only six say they practice some form of control over their finances personal.
The study listened to 2,018 people from all regions of the country and highlighted that, in the last 12 months, 88% of Brazilians have gone through a situation that can be explained precisely by the lack of financial control.
– Financial planning, control and education must be directly associated with the health and financial balance of individuals and families. The more financially organised, the less the consumer frequents the predefined spreadsheets – evaluates Patricia Camillo, Serasa Manager and finance specialist.
When arranging finances, the diagnosis of family accounts must be as detailed as possible and no expense can be left out. That’s what advises Wanessa Guimarães, partner and head of HCI Invest and CFP® financial planner for the Brazilian Financial Planning Association (Planejar).
— The first step is to know the budget. It is important to understand whether it is in surplus or deficit, that is, whether there is money left or missing at the end of the month – analyze.
From there, explains Wanessa, it is necessary to list all the family expenses, both the fixed ones, which must be amortized every month, and the variable ones, which at certain times enter the budget or which, at some point, will be closed.
Fixed expenses include utility bills, rent, streaming subscriptions, health plan and ongoing use medications, food and tuition, for example. The variables are installment purchases on credit cards and mortgage payments, as well as expenses that families have at the beginning of the year, such as taxes and school supplies.
The designer warns that small expenses should also be noted:
– All expenses, however small, must be noted. Gifts, lunches, coffee, parking must also be registered. These expenses, which we take for granted on a daily basis, add up to a larger amount at the end of the month, which impacts your budget. These are expenses that are beyond our schedule and it is very common to run out of bills at these very points.
Open installments: attention
The Opinion Box and Serasa survey also showed that 66% of Brazilians took out loans in 2022, 22% to pay off credit card debts and 17% to pay for unexpected expenses. In this context, Wanessa also recommends making a separate list with outstanding loan and credit card payments.
— I advise you to write down the outstanding balance, that is, how much you still have to pay, the value of each installment and how many installments you are missing.
And big technologies or online options aren’t necessary when you put finances at the tip of a pencil: good old paper already helps with budgeting and planning. The important thing, assesses the specialist, is to keep the commitment to enter the data in the chosen tool.
— Any tool is effective as long as you are committed to entering the data. I often say that the best is the simplest. It has to be easy, something that can be accessed easily and calmly, because if it becomes a burden, it becomes a factor in giving up financial control.” He defends: expenses end up being forgotten, especially those that we pay in cash.
Those who prefer digital tools, however, have good options:
— If it’s easier to use an Excel spreadsheet, fine. For those who like and are comfortable with apps, I suggest MoneyWise, Guia Bolso and Organize, which are great financial apps.
The expert also points out that one way to ease the finance control process is to adhere to a single payment method: credit or debit card. Therefore, you can track all variable fee payments through your card bill or bank statement respectively, which streamlines the expense posting process.
beginning of year accounts
With all of the budget planning for 2023, the new year has already impacted finances with traditional expenditures earlier in the year, such as Urban and Land Property Tax (IPTU) and Vehicle Property Tax motor vehicles (IPVA), as well as school supplies for children and adolescents.
In Rio, for example, drivers who pay the tax all at once will get a 3% discount. Whoever liquidates the single IPTU quota in the capital Rio de Janeiro until February 7 will have a 7% discount.
For the economist and professor at Ibmec Gilberto Braga, the option is valid for those with financial reserves:
— If you have to go into debt, for example take out a loan to pay it off in cash, it’s not worth it because traditionally the the interest charged on this debt is more expensive than the discount granted to those who choose to pay with the discount.
To maintain financial health
List all expenses on the card, both fixed, such as utilities, food and rent, and variable, such as mortgage payments and purchases made on installments. This way you can better visualize the budget and evaluate what should be revised.
don’t delay your bills
Even if there is no interest, non-compliance with payment slip deadlines may include the name of the manager in the SPC and Serasa records.
Also consider paying for installment plans early if you have the cash, as the return from the fixed-income fund is less than the cost of the financing. It is not worth investing the money and withdrawing the installments every month.
Even essential expenses, such as rent, can be reduced if there is good price research.
In addition, water, telephone and electricity bills are, on average, 20% higher. Monitoring unnecessarily connected electrical appliances and looking for leaks helps save money.
Before you go to the market, listing any missing items is important so you don’t impulse buy. Also arrange shopping days, taking into account promotions.
look for the discount
In shops, check the possibility of discounts for cash payments. The reduction can reach 20%.
Check the card
Concentrating spending on one credit card brings benefits, such as annuity waivers, loyalty program scores, and easier spending control.
Look to credit card companies for an installment payment with interest that does not exceed 3% per month and whose installments scale with your monthly income.
From travel expenses to expenses for memorial dates, log it all in one spreadsheet. Help plan your monthly budget.
plan your vacation
If you know the month you will be going on holiday, start looking for packages and tickets and avoid last minute inflation.
For those who close 2022 in the red, calculate the overdue amount with the institution and try to renegotiate the debt. But remember: the installment must fit comfortably within your budget. If the amount is too high, there is a risk of already starting the payment with the prospect of a delay due to payment difficulties.
Longer term, lower value
Another option for those with outstanding debts is to extend the payment period to reduce the payment to an amount more suitable for the family budget.
(Contribution by Marta Imenes)
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