If you aspire to live a life like a Hollywood A-lister – designer clothes, fancy car and a plush downtown pad – best you shape-up your spending and saving habits while you’re still footloose and fancy free. Avoiding the debt trap early is one of the smartest moves you can make. But with the temptation of store cards that offer buy now, pay later deals, spiralling out of control into the red is easier than you think.,One of the most common mistakes young people can make is falling into a debt trap and not starting a savings plan in their 20s. Learning how money works for – or against you – is vitally important if you want to succeed. Knowing the facts will put you on the right path to a healthy financial future and assist you in setting up a secure bank savings account. Everyone, young or old, should be prudent with their finances and trim any excess spending.,So, where to start?,Be informed and choose the best bank account to suit your needs,Knowledge is power. And, although it sounds a little drab, reading up on the brochures from different banks to learn about transaction and saving accounts will do wonders for your financial IQ. A transaction account is recommended for your salary deposit, for paying bills and for day-to-day spending, while a fixed-term bank savings account is a good option if you have a specific savings goal in mind and want to earn more on your savings. Fixed-term savings accounts offer higher interest rates compared to general, flexible saving accounts. They are ideal for people who have a habit of blowing all their cash before they can squirrel it away in a savings plan as you can’t touch the money until the end of the fixed period – between 6 and 60 months.,Another tip is to look at the rates of various account options before making any banking commitments to make sure you don’t spend most of your salary on bank fees. Do the sums and add up ATM withdrawals, cash deposits, internet banking and debit order fees. Then weigh up where you’ll find the lowest rates.,Take control of your income and job perks,You may have jumped for joy when your new employer told you your “gross” salary figure at the final interview. After the obligatory tax deductions, your net income is what you have left until the next paycheck. So, like the fashion-forward trend-setter you are, be savvy and ask your employer whether he contributes towards pension, life insurance or gym memberships. Then find out how this can affect your net income – you might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.,Draw up a budget and stick to it,Knowing what you spend your money on is key to financial independence. Interest-free loans don’t actually exist unless mom and dad are keen to help. Tally your income against your expenses and take a long hard look to see if you really can afford to live like a celebrity. If you only have a few Rand to your name after must-pay expenses like rent, medical aid and petrol have been paid, consider cutting back on gourmet meals by making a packed lunch instead, or socialising with your friends on a hike instead of a pricey Sunday lunch.,Keep a slush fund for emergencies,Financial gurus always recommend saving 10% of your net income. So, if your net salary is R5 000 per month, you should save at least R500 a month to build up a kitty for emergencies like a car service, dentist visit or broken geyser. Even if you can’t afford 10%, just by setting up a small debit order of a R100 a month into your bank savings account, you’ll insure yourself against an unexpected financial mess.,Count your cash,Keep track of what you spend to avoid being broke by mid-month. Hang on to all till slips and add up how much you spend through the month – you’ll be surprised how quickly your money vanishes if you’re not in control. SMS updates are a great way to stay in control of what’s happening in your account at all times. Most banks offer SMS updates to clients at and you can choose whether you only receive alerts for money coming in or going out of your account or for all transactions.

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