DebtSafe dares consumers to stay out of the shops in September

AUGUST 24, 2015

DebtSafe, one of South Africa’s most valued debt review companies, is challenging consumers to freeze spending for the first two weeks in September. Everybody who is struggling to manage his or her finances is invited to join the DebtSafe Spending Freeze Challenge and stop unnecessary spending.

Wikus Olivier, Debt Management Expert at DebtSafe, says spending freezes are increasingly popular worldwide, and while it’s not a long-term solution, it allows people to really take a close look at their finances to see where they can cut back.

“We are encouraging consumers to save money because when they don’t save, they are making debt,” he adds. Items that you have to cut out include eating out, take-away food, clothing, toys, furniture, alcohol and other vices.

You will be amazed at how much your perspective can change after two weeks’ of seeing what you can go without.

Before you begin the Spending Freeze

Check your cupboards and your freezer and see what foods you are likely to need. If you already have lots of pasta and rice then aim to use this up during the time rather than spending money on even more foods. It may be advisable to set a small portion of money aside to buy perishables such as bread and milk.

Fill up your tank

Fill your tank with petrol so you’re not tempted to spend money at the service station – consider filling an extra can if you need more than one tank over two weeks. It is also advisable to pay all of your bills before the Spending Freeze so that you are not tempted to give out anything extra.

“The point of the Spending Freeze Challenge is to change the way we approach our spending and to force us to use and appreciate what we have instead of buying something new. We hope it will make a difference in people’s lives,” concludes Olivier.

At the end of the two-week period you will have saved a certain amount of money, so decide what you are going to do with this before you start. This could mean putting it into your savings or paying off some of your debt.

After the Spending Freeze you have to review your budget and hopefully you will be able to see where you can save and find ways to cut items from your (previously) essentials list.

Tips to survive 14 days without spending money:

  •       Eat out at home – make homemade versions of your favourite dish and make it special by using candles etc.
  •      Learn something new / a new skill or hobby without spending a cent – involve your family and make this fun.
  •      Learn how to start a simple vegetable garden or how to manage your time better.
  •      Start to Up-cycle - Stop throwing everything away – start using old things in a new way.
  •      Enjoy FREE family time – build lego cities, play hide-and-seek, board games or explore your neighbourhood on           bicycle
  •       Do a stock take of your grocery cupboard and plan your meals for the two weeks
  •      Take a break after 5 days – make a list of essentials you will need and take cash to buy (ESSENTIALS ONLY!!)
  •       Catch up on that ever-important filing
  •       Join a local SPCA and get into the habit of getting involved in the community
  •       Don’t feel sorry for yourself – invite friends over and have a relaxing barbeque (ask everyone to bring their own             meat and beverages)
  •      Get online vouchers and coupons and use them when you go to the shop – keep the habit after your spending                  freeze is over
  •     Sell unused appliances or furniture online