It’s the end of 2021 and I am exhausted!
It’s been a rough year, on all fronts – but it’s been especially hard on our pockets.
We have seen petrol prices skyrocket and the cost of goods go through the roof.
How ordinary people are expected to survive, is beyond me.
I am also so tired of the narrative that tells people to save money, when the reality is that many simply do not have money to save.
When you have to choose between spending R15 to buy a bread to feed your family, or saving R15 – then there is no real choice at all.
However, we must realise that saving money doesn’t necessarily always mean the literal saving of money in a cupboard or a bank account.
We can also save money by cutting costs and changing our lifestyle.
Prioritise (Wants and needs)
Daily necessities as well as school fees, school uniforms and stationery should be top of mind right now.
Everything else is not a priority.
- Be honest with yourself and differentiate your wants from your needs.
- There is no shame in not being able to afford something. Stop all and any unnecessary spending. Some people get into the mindset of “things are bad, I’ll feel better if I spoil myself and my kids”. This is not a good approach, especially if you are unsure of having an income in the upcoming months. We literally can’t survive on love and fresh air.
Bored? Dig out the paperwork
Set aside the time to start digging out all your financial contracts and paperwork.
- Go through the paperwork and make a note of who you owe what to.
- Have a look at what your interest rates for every debt is. If you can afford to, then pay back the most expensive ones (the ones with the higher interest rates) first.
- Examine your contracts for credit and life insurance.
- Check out how long you still have to be paying on all your accounts.
Get a credit report
- Every South African consumer is entitled to one free credit report from every credit bureau, once a year. Make the effort to get yours.
Draw up a budget
- Drawing up a budget may seem boring, but it is a valuable tool in helping you manage your finances.
- Don’t keep your budget in your head. It doesn’t work.
- Rather write it down on paper, do it on your PC or use one of the many free budgeting apps available.
- Sometimes you need your financial situation to stare you in the face, so that you can see exactly how much you are spending and possibly cut down if needed.
- Cancel subscriptions to apps you don’t need.
- Cancel duplicate insurances, especially those offered as a side product.
- Switch to cheaper packages (e.g. DStv)
- Check out the terms and conditions and cancellation clauses and penalties applicable.
- Get comparative quotes on medical aids, insurance, etc. This could save you quite a bit of money.
- A roof over your head is a necessity. Paying rent in an area you can’t afford isn’t. Considering relocating to a cheaper location.
- You need transport to get around. But do you really need a big fuel-guzzling car with the price of petrol these days?
Consider changing to a vehicle with a lower fuel consumption, especially if you are working from home.
Save money on the way you do things
- Switch off your geyser during the day. If you save R10 a day on electricity this way – that’s R300 a month that can go towards something else
- Make food that feeds more people – and where leftovers can be frozen. Soups and bredies (even without meat) go a long way these days.
- Medicines are costly. Make your own immune system boosters from natural ingredients.
- Check for specials on cellphone data and airtime deals during this time.
Do your homework and find cheaper food prices
- Sadly, the price of food and staple products have increased tremendously over the last year. Sometimes by as much as 30% on basic items like rice and sugar. By keeping track of “specials” on various grocery stores, you can save quite a bit of money on your weekly or monthly grocery purchases.
We need to stop living beyond our means.
If that means acknowledging to ourselves (and others) that we can no longer afford what we previously could – then so be it.
There is no shame in that.
Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses – they are scaling down too!
Caption: COSTLY: Food prices have risen