With the festive season, as well as the ’57 days of JanuWorry’ almost behind us, many of us can’t help but worry about the rest of 2024’s finances too.
Economic turbulence, rising energy prices and substantial increases in costs of living are putting massive pressure on South African consumers. DebtBusters’ most recent Money-Stress Tracker found that 78% of South Africans are experiencing financial stress, but a combination of inaction, embarrassment and lack of trust sees many of them doing very little to alleviate this.
“Many people feel like their financial situation is hopeless unless they make more money, but it’s often in the things you let go of, rather than what you gain, that allows you to save some serious money,” says Tyrone Lowther, the head of Budget Insurance.
They listed some of the biggest money wasters to cut to get on your way to financial freedom:
- That old gas guzzler – If your car is heavy on fuel or costs you a small fortune to maintain or repair, it might be time to let it go and invest in a more practical, reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle. Alternatively, consider getting a vehicle warranty which will help you avoid the high cost of a breakdown.
- Redundant benefits – Those cards and benefits you have and pay for, but never use. If it’s a gym card, a store card or a VIP bank card that you haven’t used in months, let it go. Also let go of those that offer the same benefits you’re already getting from another provider.
- Bad deals – Those products and services that you pay too much for whether it’s insurance, vehicle finance, loans, groceries, clothing or holidays. Make it a priority to shop around.
- Micro charges – Seemingly insignificant costs that add up and end up costing you a fair buck, like using your bank card at another bank’s ATM, clearing payments immediately, or account charges for services that you can get for free with other service providers.
- Multiple loans – Loans with different service providers, especially those with high interest rates, cost significant amounts of money. Consolidating these loans with a single provider at a lower rate makes great financial sense. Be sure to compare different offers, including the pros and cons of fixed or linked interest rates.
- Inefficiency – Whether it’s flooring your car when driving, taking multiple trips to do things that you could have done in one, washing small loads or leaving devices on unnecessarily, inefficiency is expensive. Proactively think about how you can make every rand, every watt of electricity, every litre of fuel and every minute of your time work as efficiently as possible, then make it a habit.
- Space wasters – The things you have in storage and are paying for, but will likely never use again, or things you’ve hoarded over the years. Selling these items or gifting them to family, friends or the needy not only saves you a fair buck, but also sees these items being used and appreciated, instead of gathering dust.
- Wastage – If you often have food going off or products reaching their expiry date, you are effectively leaking money. Planning your meals and product usage more carefully – buying only what you need and using it efficiently – could save you a pretty penny.
- Outdated appliances, electricity and water systems – Things like an old geyser, ancient fridge, inefficient bulbs or outdated water faucets could be costing you a substantial amount of money. It may cost more to replace initially, but will likely save you more money in the long run.
“Making these changes will see you noticing the difference in your cashflow almost instantly,” Lowther concludes, “Some of these expenses may seem insignificant on their own, but when added up, they could save you enough to pay off debt, start a savings fund, invest in your children’s future, or even treat yourself and the family to a well-deserved break.”