South Africans are battling to keep up with the rising costs of fuel, food, electricity and the interest rate hikes. All of these factors are causing higher monthly bills and debit orders and yet, salaries are staying stagnant which makes budgeting a real battle.
Side hustles are a must for many in order to make it to the end of the month without emptying the piggy bank completely. Understanding how and where you can cut back on spending and stock up on savings is crucial during these tough financial times.
We’ve asked Indwe Risk Services to share tips on how to get to the next paycheck without all the stress and sleepless nights. Here are five areas that you need to be savvy about:
Think before you hit the road
With rising fuel prices, transport costs can quickly add up. Try to limit the kilometres you drive by carpooling or ridesharing with family, friends or colleagues, and remember to keep your insurer notified if you do so. Consider insurances which reduce the premiums if you drive less.
Regularly service your vehicle and check your tyre pressure to ensure that it continues to run efficiently. Improve your driving habits so you avoid harsh acceleration and braking, which increases fuel consumption. Consolidate errands to save both petrol and time, and do less frequent but larger monthly grocery shops.
Plan your groceries
Create a weekly food menu and a monthly shopping list, which helps you avoid making impulse purchases. Look out for specials and loyalty savings, and stock up when you see these non-perishable items on sale. Plan your meals around supermarket specials, but also ensure that you use the items you’ve already got in your cupboard. Rethink your choice of protein, which is often the most expensive item on your list, and use staple ingredients to make multiple meals.
Be aware of your power usage
In the midst of load-shedding, we’re enjoying theoretical savings, especially when we are without power for up to three to four sessions a day! If you haven’t done so already, switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and where possible, replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Purchase approved surge protection devices to use with your most expensive electronic devices. It may be a costly initial outlay, but it could save you thousands of rands later on.
Seal windows and doors to prevent loss of heat in winter and loss of cool air in summer. Turn off unnecessary lights, put a lid on your pot of boiling water and unplug non-essential items that aren’t in use. Switching to solar for lights and heating can be a costly investment, but it will reduce your monthly electricity bill in the long term and keep the lights on during load-shedding. Consider switching to gas for your cooking equipment as well.
Look at your living situation
Your rent or home loan, together with rates, utilities and maintenance are often a significant portion of your monthly expenses, and you could reduce these by downsizing to a smaller home or moving to a more affordable neighbourhood. Before you make the move, however, consider moving costs, additional expenses such as levies or new furniture, and potential extra travel time going to work or taking kids to school.
Something else to consider is renting out a room in your home, if the house is a large one, or getting a tenant into your garden or granny flat. This additional revenue helps you offset increased costs but remember to calculate all the tax implications at the same time.
Slow down on the bougie stuff
This one is possibly the hardest of all to stomach psychologically! While you should reward yourself with occasional treats, if you’re serious about saving, then you need to limit your luxury purchases. Cut back on your daily takeaway coffee and rather brew a pot at home or the office. Take a packed lunch to work instead of choosing a takeaway option, and eat dinners at home rather than frequenting restaurants. Cancel subscriptions you aren’t using any more and buy second-hand items instead of something new.