It’s no secret that times are tough. The economy is in a recession and people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.
The average South African household is facing a lot of monthly expenses. From rent or mortgage payments to student loan debt, many families are feeling the crunch. While it may be difficult to make significant changes right away, there are definitely ways to cut your expenses and save money each month.
One of the best ways to get ahead financially is to evaluate your expenses and start cutting your monthly spend. You may not think it’s possible to save money on the things you already spend your hard-earned money on each month, but there are actually quite a few effective ways to do it.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably looking for ways to save money each month. Well, you’re in luck. There are actually plenty of things you can do to reduce your monthly expenses without making much sacrifice. In this article, we will discuss practical ways to cut your monthly expenses and still live well.
Government subsidized housing
Did you know that you qualify for social housing in South Africa if your gross monthly income is below R15 000? Social housing is a government subsidized housing program where you pay a reduced rental amount based on your household income. Read more >
If you fall into this bracket, you can move into a 0 deposit one month free rent unit, this means in this process, you live one month rent free. Use the excess money towards paying any outstanding debts.
- Consider how much you pay monthly for your car, make the necessary calculations and consider a downgrade to a less expensive model with a lesser fuel consumption.
- Where its possible, Walk, cycle or use public transport like Uber only when you need it.
- Wash your own car instead of taking it to a commercial car wash.
- Share car journeys. If you drive to work alone every day, see if there are any other people who live near you so you can share journeys and cut your costs on petrol.
- Go shopping with a list, and stick to it.
- Shop smarter. Look for specials. But don't buy things just because they're on sale.
- Eat at home. Get some simple, tasty recipes you enjoy, and stock up the fridge.
- You may only be saving pennies per item, but there really isn’t much difference in the taste—do not be seduced by pretty branding!
- Pack your own lunch to work! Yes, it’ll take up a few extra minutes of your evening, but wouldn’t you prefer to have an extra R100 at the end of each month instead? Over the course of a year, that’s a saving of well over R1,000.
- Bulk cook your meals. Set aside a few hours on Sundays and make a load of different dishes to prepare you for the whole week. Pop them in the freezer and you won’t be tempted with takeaways or packaged meals midweek.
- Use less energy. Turn lights off. Use less heat or air conditioning when you're sleeping or away from home.
- Pay bills on time to avoid late fees, interest and penalties. Check your bills to spot mistakes and overcharges.
- Compare gas and electricity prices.
- Allow yourself a certain amount of money each week and spend only that amount. Unless you’re constantly checking your finances, there’s no way you can keep up-to-date with what you’ve really spent if you keep paying for things with your credit or debit cards.
Health and Beauty
- Simplify your beauty regime - in reality, all your skin needs is a good diet, plenty of water and hydration. Do not be seduced by fancy creams claiming to minimize pores, get rid of wrinkles and leave our skin looking healthy and plump. Ditch expensive creams for almond or coconut oil. It’s really cheap and will leave your skin looking incredible.
- Take good care of your teeth - Brush your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to floss. If you don’t take care of your teeth now, you’ll pay the price in expensive dental bills years down the line.
- Cancel your gym membership - Get on your bike, jog round the park, and lift weights at home. You could even organize regular work out sessions for free with others who want to ditch the gym. You don’t need to pay to be fit!
Freecycling, is where you can give away your unwanted furniture, or anything else you no longer need, for free. Obviously, in return, if you need any household essentials kitchen table, bicycle, bookshelf you can just log on to the site and see what’s available. Freecycling allows you to give away what you no longer need ad get what you want, all for free. We throw away old school blazers, shoes, vases, and most of us have a lot of stuff in our garages which could be used by someone out there.
Find cheaper ways to play. instead of going out, invite friends over for a video night or meet friends at a bowling alley instead of a restaurant. Have a vacation closer to home. Look around for other more affordable entertainment options.
Tell your friends and family that you want to cut expenses
Cutting your monthly expense needs a bit of organization, planning and forethought. As you set out on your journey, tell your friends and family that you now want to start cutting out unnecessary expenses. When you tell everyone you spend time with what you’re doing, they'll understand and you’ll be surprised by how much a simple change of attitude and support from friends and family can help you improve your finances and better your life. Or even better, arrange for a group of you to all cut expenses at the same time.
Good luck. Please let us know how else we can cut expenses.
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