We’ve compiled 25 quickfire tips to help you cut back on everyday expenses and save money.
It’s not easy to save money and judging by the statistics, it’s something most South Africans struggle to do. And yet there are people who not only seem to live well, but always manage to stash some cash away.
In actual fact, there are a number of ways to save and we’ve compiled a list to show you how to cut back on everyday expenses:
1. Make a shopping list, and don’t shop every day. This is an obvious one, but it will save you bundles if you stick to it. Keep a magnetic notepad on the fridge and jot down things you need.
2. Keep meals simple and use what’s in the pantry as opposed to shopping for a variety of ingredients for a wide range of exotic recipes.
3. Stop buying processed foods. These aren’t only full of sugar, salt and preservatives, they are generally more expensive than fresh ingredients.
4. Bake your own cakes and biscuits.
5. Stop drinking cool drinks. Again, these aren’t only full of sugar, they can end up costing a fortune, especially in the hot summer months. Stick to water. It’s healthier for you and your family, and it’s healthier for your wallet too.
6. Cook in bulk and freeze. Yes, this may be time-consuming, but apart from saving on electricity and grocery costs, it’s incredibly convenient and will save a great deal of time and money in the long run. There are loads of recipes online and you’ll be amazed at how easy the entire process becomes once you’re used to planning ahead.
7. Limit trips to pubs and buy your own alcohol to enjoy at home. Set a ‘booze budget’ and stick to it. The same goes for cigarettes. If you are a smoker, it’s often cheaper to buy cartons of cigarettes as opposed to single packets. Better still, why not consider kicking this expensive habit completely.
8. Draw up an entertainment budget and stick to it. Stay away from takeaway foods wherever possible and only visit restaurants if this has been budgeted for. Bring and braais are a perfectly acceptable way of entertaining in South Africa and are an ideal way to meet up with friends without breaking the budget.
9. Stop buying gadgets for the kitchen. Most of us are guilty of overstocking our cupboards with ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘really need’ items. Think hard before you buy that popcorn maker, bread maker, juicer, waffle iron, omelette maker or egg boiler. Keeping things simple in the kitchen won’t only save you a packet, it will free up a whole whack of cupboard space too.
10. Always wash your laundry in cold water and shop around for the best priced detergent. This might sound obvious, but many people buy the same brand of washing powder year after year because they are wary of cheaper brands.
11. It’s often false economy to buy cheap household cleaners. You’ll generally use more of cheaper, thinner dishwashing liquids and cleaners. In this instance, buy the best you can afford and use sparingly. Try and keep your cleaning purchases to the absolute basics. A good household cleaner will remove dirt from most surfaces, negating the use of ‘specialised’ cleaners.
12. Avoid tumble drying your clothes whenever possible. Consider installing a retractable washing line in the bathroom if you live in a flat and have limited communal drying space available.
13. Buy rechargeable batteries. They may be more expensive in the short term, but they’ll save you a fortune over time.
14. Unplug electronic items and appliances that aren’t in use. There is no reason to keep things like microwaves, ovens and television sets plugged in if you are not using them. Turn off everything when you go to work or bed. The electricity saving may not be extreme, but as the saying goes, every little bit helps.
15. Learn the basics of DIY and tackle small jobs around the house yourself. Keep a close eye on maintenance issues and always repair things as quickly as possible to avoid a five-minute task becoming a costly repair job.
16. Have a regular clear out and sell unnecessary/unused items.
17. Clean your own furniture and carpets by renting a steam cleaner. It may be a bit of a chore, but it will save money in the long run.
18. Consider closing clothing accounts and rather shopping around for bargains. Online shops in particular often offer fantastic deals on clothes and shoes.
19. Better still – why not think about taking a couple of sewing classes and make clothes for yourself and your family.
20. Start going to auctions, pop into your local second-hand shop or keep an eye on social media when looking for furnishings for your home. It may take a bit of time to find exactly what you’re looking for, but you’re far more likely to pick up a bargain.
21. Consider turning off the heating in winter (we know this is easy for us to say because the coastal parts of KZN are much warmer than many other areas in the country) and wrapping up in a fleecy blanket when watching television.
22. Store your change in jars. It’s amazing how much you can collect by saving the odd R5 or R2 coins. Create a fund and use this money to take a well-earned break or to buy yourself something special.
23. Ask friends and family for cuttings or seedlings to plant in your garden instead of visiting a nursery.
24. Pay a little more into your bond every month. You won’t see the benefits immediately, but this will drastically reduce the amount of interest eventually paid to the bank.
25. Have a savings goal and try and stick to it. If you want to save R1 000 a month, find ways to make this a reality. There’s no better feeling than having cash in the bank and everyone should make sure they have some form of nest egg.