South Africans are facing tough financial times ahead of the festive season as food prices, as well as interest rates, have increased.
However, consumers can tackle these issues with careful planning and by making small but significant changes to how they manage their money.
Here are five tips to help people stretch their rands:
Plan your budget
Create a budget that takes into account your current and future income and expenses. This plan will give you a proper overview of your monthly expenses and allow you to set aside money for savings.
People can use online budget templates to get started if they are unsure about the process. They can also use budget apps for easy access to their plan.
Tyrone Lowther, Head of Budget Insurance, said that a basic budget is one of the most underrated tools for helping people gain control of their finances, manage expenditures, save money, and avoid debt.
Know how much you are spending
Monitoring your spending and tracking your expenses is an important step when it comes to helping you stretch your money.
Review your bank statements and transactions to track your monthly spending. This can help you reduce your spending on unnecessary expenses.
Tracking your spending is a great way to see where your money is going and to draw attention to any possible unconscious spending, according to Christian Hugo, Solution Strategist for FNB Integrated Advice.
Save on fuel costs
Consumers should consider ways to save money on various expenses, like petrol costs. The cost of fuel is constantly changing, so you should be prepared for any situation.
You can reduce your fuel costs by:
1. Planning your shopping for the month to avoid making too many trips to the grocery store;
2. Trying online shopping to save on fuel costs
3. Joining a carpool if you are travelling to the office on a regular basis;
4. Having your car serviced regularly and making sure that your tyres are properly inflated; and
5. Keeping to the speed limit and avoiding aggressive acceleration.
Do your research on the monthly specials that retailers are offering. This will allow you to have a plan for where to go instead of going from shop to shop and never finding what you are looking for. You will also have a clear idea of what you need to purchase, which will allow you to stick to your monthly budget.
Ensure that you take advantage of the loyalty or rewards programmes offered by retailers so you can save even more.
According to Justin Asher, head of Marketing & Strategy at upnup, saving can seem like an impossible task to people who have never saved before.
You can start saving money by putting aside small amounts in a savings fund every month. As your financial situation improves, you can increase your monthly contributions.
It is important to keep the savings contribution aside before you take care of other expenses.