If you are keen to save, or need the extra money to start reducing your debt, here are four everyday things you can consider cutting back on, which could possibly save you a couple of thousand rands a month.
1. Your cellphone
How much are you paying each month on your cellphone? If you are on a contract and have a top-of-the-range phone, it is likely to be over R1000 a month. You may not be able to do it immediately, because you are tied into your contract, but when your current contract expires you should consider a cheaper contract, with perhaps a less fancy phone, or even keeping your current phone for another two years or so and going pay-as-you-go. You could save R500 - R600 a month.
2. Eating out
We all want to support our local restaurants in these dark times, but perhaps you were eating out too freely before the pandemic? A dinner for two can easily cost R600, whereas you can make a meal for two at home for R100. That is a saving of R500 every time you don’t eat out. Cut your eat-outs by two a month and you save R1 000 – and you get a chance to hone your cooking skills. Another idea: pack a lunch for work instead of going out to lunch with your colleagues - for three days a week, at least.
What is your clothing bill each month? Are you running up high balances on clothing store cards? This is one area where you can cut down drastically. You don’t need a new outfit for each special occasion, and you certainly don’t need to buy only high-end designer labels. Get comfortable in clothes that you can wear time and again, and comfortable with the fact that you don’t have to impress your friends with designer labels. If they are friends worth having, they like you for being you, not for the labels you dazzle them with.
It’s a virtue to be generous. However, you need to scale your generosity to your budget. Gifts to loved ones and friends don’t have to be lavishly expensive. And it should not be a competition to see who can give the most expensive item, either: gifts from the heart are well-chosen but not necessarily expensive. An idea: why don’t you and your partner settle on an upper limit for gifts to each other over the festive season or on your birthdays? Decide, for example, that gifts do not exceed R500. Then you both know where you stand.
This article appears in the July 2021 edition of IOL MONEY, a free monthly digital magazine. You can view the magazine here.