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Saving hacks for South Africans by South Africans

Despite the cost of living crisis, saving money – or trying to – is possible for 82% of us.
Be honest about your debt obligations and your expenses. Image: Shutterstock

According to a survey run by Budget Insurance with over 2 000 South Africans, while the amount of money being saved is not substantial due to the cost of living crisis, 47% of those who can save, do so for ‘rainy days’.

The pandemic taught us that rainy days are possible, and that they are hard and taxing on our monthly budgets.  South Africans know this, and are putting aside whatever funds they can to cushion unexpected blows.

Those who are not able to save money blame the rapid rise in the cost of essentials (40%), unplanned emergencies (13%) and family obligations (12%).

What’s clear is that saving money is not necessarily dependent on income but rather, on resolve and discipline.

The survey respondents shared some hacks to help other South Africans make saving money, possible:

  1. Car-pool: 36% of respondents are currently car-pooling to and from work to ease the petrol price burden. The cost of petrol aside, keep in mind that there are insurance implications if you do choose to use your own car to ferry fee-paying passengers. Insurance will cover lift-club cars as long as the activity of giving lifts to people is not a source of income to the insured, for example, an airport shuttle service. Make sure to contact your short-term insurance provider to check the terms and conditions of your contract.
  2. Stockpile: You can save thousands every month by looking out for and taking advantage of discounts and specials.  By buying more, at a lower price, you’ll be able to stretch your rand and shrink your monthly shopping bill.  Another tip offered was to buy fresh produce late afternoon just before closing time as they are cheaper.
  3. Budget and stick to it:  List your fixed expenditures and other monthly deductions and then tally these up against your income. If your expenses are more than your income, then you need to begin planning how you are going to reduce them. If you do have some money left over every month but believe you should be saving more, draw up a budget to stick to. A survey respondent suggested the 50-30-20 principle where she divides her income in three categories – needs, wants and savings. “This way, I’m able to prioritise the most important things, enjoy a few of what I consider “luxuries” and still save 20% of my income.”
  4. Piggy bank: Many survey respondents noted that they collect any loose, small change and then bank that change often to avoid spending it.  It all adds up.
  5. Cook instead of buy: Another saving hack was cooking food at home instead of purchasing take outs with one respondent saying:  “I always bring in a home cooked lunch to work instead of buying takeaways.  My weekly meal plans cost under R300.”
  6. Prepare in advance:  “I use gas stove and open fire to cook and also precook meals  then freeze them in batches. It helps me save a lot on electricity.”  Another respondent said:  “For my vegetables,  I have a vegetable garden. For clothes, I buy winter clothes in spring and summer clothes in winter when they are on special.”
  7. Focus on your needs, adjust on your wants.  Good advice echoed a number of times. Be honest about your debt obligations and your expenses so that you have a clear and realistic picture of your financial situation.
  8. If you can’t buy it for cash, you can’t afford it.  This rung true for many respondents who said their needs are more important than their wants.  One suggested to keep your credit card for emergencies only and make the decision to pay for goods and services with cash or debit card only.
  9. Debt:  Pay off your debt obligations first starting with those with the highest interest rates.
  10. Bank wisely – check your bank fees carefully and look at the interest you earn on your savings. Could you be spending less or earning more? Research what other banks offer and look at other ways to invest your money.

Remember that even the smallest adjustments in a number of areas of your budget can add up to significant savings. The small changes and sacrifices you make now will be worth it in the long-run.

Susan Steward is at Budget Insurance.


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All good advice but the bottom line is if you’re not earning anything you can’t save! Our unemployment rate and the minuscule Social Grant payments are adding to the problem too. It’s time for the barter system to re-emerge…I’ll trade you my home grown produce for your plumbing skills! In my opinion, the majority of people in this country need education and birth control if they are to have a future. Fewer people = more job opportunity = earning capacity = savings for a rainy day!

End of comments.



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