Pretty much every piece of research you come across will tell you that South Africans are pessimistic about the economy, so much so that consumer confidence has hit a six-year low. While times might be hard for many South Africans, in such a volatile economy, all you can do is focus on what can be controlled. With unemployment continuing to swell, securing a better-paid job might be easier said than done. Instead, consumers should focus on their individual spending and saving habits to make the most of their salaries every month.
With that in mind, we have compiled 10 of the best money saving tips to help you reduce your outgoings in every aspect of your life.
- Reduce your electricity bill
One of the biggest costs every year for most South African households is their electricity bill. While this is an unavoidable cost, millions of people are paying more than they need to. Online lender Wonga SA recently came up with a number of simple ways to cut your electricity bill in its money saving guide. That includes:
- Switching to energy saving light bulbs which use 80 percent less electricity than standard bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- Unplugging all your appliances rather than leaving them on standby as they can still use enough electricity to account for 10-20 percent of your electricity bill.
- Matching the pots and pans to hot plates of equal size on your stove so you can cut down on the energy you waste.
- In winter, using an electric blanket rather than a heater as uses up to four times less electricity.
- Improve your credit score
Although improving your credit score might not help you save money directly, over the longer term, paying your bills on time and making more than the minimum repayments on your credit card will help to reduce the cost of debt. That means when you do need to borrow money, as most of us do from time to time, you’ll be able to do so at lower rates to ultimately leave money in your pocket.
- Follow the 20/4/10 rule when buying a car
If you can’t afford to buy a new car outright but need a new vehicle now rather than later, you should follow the 20/4/10 rule to keep your costs down. That means you should pay a deposit of at least 20 percent, not finance the car for more than four years and spend no more than 10 percent of your gross income on transport costs (that includes insurance, maintenance and petrol).
- Over-budget and underpay
If you have costs that fluctuate every month then over-budgeting and estimating those expenses at the high end will help you avoid any nasty surprises. That way, the only surprise you’ll get will be good rather than bad.
- Plan your meals
It might not be the rock and roll existence you want to live, but that will come in time. For now, planning the meals you’ll cook for the week ahead and ditching the pricey food brands will help you shave a healthy chunk off your grocery bills. Knowing exactly what to cook and when will also help you avoid expensive takeaways.
- Prioritise your debts
Paying off loans or credit cards should always be a priority as the longer you take to repay the debt, the higher the interest charges you’ll face. Once those debts are paid then more of your money will be yours.
- Drink more water
Not only is water the healthiest source of hydration, but it is also a whole lot cheaper than soft drinks and juice. If you can get used to water as your primary source of your hydration then you could easily save R1000 a year or more.
- Keep a close eye on your phone bill
Many people pay more than necessary for mobile phone deals that provide more minutes and data than they need, or they pay over the odds by staying with the same provider. With free messaging apps like Whatsapp, many people no longer need thousands of text messages every month, so if that’s your main usage then look to reduce your bill. It could well be more cost-effective over the longer-term to pay for your handset upfront and manage your own airtime spend rather than paying for an expensive monthly contract.
Do you have any money saving tips to share with our readers? Please leave your favourites in the comments section below.