It’s not looking bright for South African consumers at the moment. The prices of everyday essentials keep on rising whilst salaries stay flat. Just as we think we have managed to balance out our budgets and spending habits we get hit again with more increases or higher taxes. It’s at this time that our spending habits and saving discipline will really be tested. Here’s how you can save money and make it through to the end of the month.
Get Rid Of Expensive Debt
Have a look at your current debt profile. Short-term unsecured debt – such as credit cards, payday loans, personal loans – have the highest interest rates.
- Try to pay short-term debts off quickly to cut down on the interest and fees that these debt attract.
- Vehicle and home loans have much lower interest rates compared to short-term debts.
- Stop taking out new debt or using store cards for purchases.
- Try to save the money up and buy things using cash.
Its extremely easy to fall into a debt trap and use more than you can afford to pay back. If debt is becoming a problem for you, speak to a debt counsellor to see how to reduce the burden of high monthly instalments. By getting expert advice you can get onto a structured repayment plan and even save lots of money in the long-run.
Reduce Your Petrol Bill
The petrol price increased again – this time by 26 cents to R16.02 per litre in Gauteng (July 2018). Filling up your car has just become more expensive.
- In order to offset the increase in fuel price we must start to drive smartly. No longer do we have the luxury of the joy-ride or zooming back and fourth as we please.
- Instead of aimlessly driving from place to place on the weekend or whilst doing your weekly chores, rather plan your route to make the most efficient trip. Kill two (or more) birds with one stone by doing multiple visits or chores in one trip, instead of coming home first.
- Car-Pool. Try carpooling to work and share lifts with colleagues or people in the same office or area as you. This could cut your petrol bill by half or even more. By filling your car with people and splitting the costs, everyone ends up saving.
- Using public transport can also significantly reduce your transport costs. Investigate using the train or MyCiti bus options.
Everyone does a few monthly calculations in the head and attempts the odd half-hearted budget. Your budget should be detailed and tracked.
- Create a weekly or monthly budget on paper or on excel and try to stick to it. At the end of the month, use your bank statements to see how you fared against your budget.
- Now you can adjust accordingly and set goals for the next month.
- Repeat until you have a good understanding of where your money is going.
- There are also budgeting tools and apps available like 22seven, from Old Mutual.
Shop With A Purpose
It’s easy to wonder aimlessly around your local supermarket and fill the trolley with unnecessary luxuries.
- Never go grocery shopping without a list.
- Only buy what you actually need
- Buy in bulk to save on costs
- Choose to buy the house brand to save money
By making a few of these changes you can make your money go further. Instead of trying to use all of your income to suit your lifestyle, try to be smart and use slightly less, which can give you the opportunity to save. Make sure that you are covered in terms of insurance and medical aid so that no large, unexpected expenses arise that will put you even further out of pocket. Although these expenses, also known as ‘grudge purchases’, seem expensive and a waste, they are very important and protect you from risk.