TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS
Prem Govender, chairperson of the Financial Planning Institute says consumers need to be brutal about distinguishing between items they need and items they want to need.
Eating out at restaurants, and even takeaways, for example, are not necessities and need to be eliminated as much as possible. Packing a lunchbox for work is also another area you could dramatically save costs on, she advises.
“Taking your own lunch and cooldrinks to work can save you at least R30 a day,” she says.
Try consolidate your debt by paying off your most expensive debt like credit cards first and don’t spend on them again once you have.
Never use one credit card to pay for another credit card, or take out a loan to cover another debt. This, says DebtSA debt counsellor Wikus Olivier, will keep you enslaved in a vicious cycle of debt that you will be unlikely to recover from.
Govender advises consumers not to let their debt exceed 35% of their net income, and if you’re struggling to keep up with monthly repayments, make adjusted repayment arrangements as soon as possible.
“If you can’t meet your monthly repayments, don’t wait. Talk to your service provider to help you develop a new repayment plan. If you don’t, you could lose your home, car or furniture,” she advises.
Pay off all outstanding amounts on clothing store cards and close your account the minute you’ve finished paying off what you owe.
Shop around at different stores and compare prices before you make purchases. Start shopping at different supermarkets if you have to, and consider switching to store-brand products and buying in bulk as much as possible.
Pull the plug on any wasteful expenditure including things like daily newspapers – these days you can get free access to the news online.
Gerrie Jonker, a senior technical ombudsman at the Automobile Association (AA) says driving conservatively and using the air-con in your car only when necessary will help you conserve petrol.
“When people drive slower it causes congestion, aggression and accidents. When they drive faster, it pushes up fuel consumption. Switch on your air conditioner first, then open your windows for two to three minutes to let the hot air out. Then close the windows and leave the air conditioner on for 10km to 20km before switching it off again. Also, switch off at the bottom of a long hill as the aircon will chew petrol,” he said in an interview with IOL.
We asked DESTINY and DESTINY MAN readers to weigh in on measures they’re taking to make their rands stretch further, and here’s what some had to say:
Precious*, a single mom of two teenage boys, says her family has stopped buying milk in plastic bottles in a bid to save money. “We bought two glass bottles, one in the fridge and a clean one in the cupboard, and we now buy milk in sachets. It’s much cheaper and milk doesn’t go off. It’s easy to store in the freezer if necessary and less plastic waste to dispose of. We save at least R5 or R6 per two litres of milk,” she says.
Another reader says she buys pet food in bulk because it’s cheaper and prevents late night trips to buy pet food at garages and convenience stores.
“I quit smoking in April. I had a 20-a-day habit and since I quit, I’ve saved R8 245 – not to mention all the doctor’s trips for coughs and chest infections.” – Thando
“I became less of a wine snob and discovered that the less expensive bottles can actually be great!” – Janet
Another reader joined a DVD club and now watches movies at home instead of at the cinema. “It just got too expensive to take the family out when you factor in popcorn, drinks and snacks, which are so expensive at movies. Now we can just relax at home in our pjs with our own, much cheaper snacks.”