Five tips that can help you through tough economic times

BY WIKUS OLIVIER, DEBT MANAGEMENT EXPERT AT DEBTSAFE - NOVEMBER 10, 2016

South Africa’s economic news is understandably making citizens nervous. From recent fraud charges that were laid and withdrawn against our Minister of Finance, high tax rates for 2017 to escalating fuel prices.

Although these financial realities are staring South Africans in the face, Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at DebtSafe, encourages consumers not to lose hope. Olivier says that there are a few things they can do to help keep their finances afloat during challenging economic times:

Moderation is keyAn extravagant lifestyle is expensive, rather live in moderation. It is necessary to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle and goals once in a while, especially if it reflects the current economic situation of the country. Now is a great time to set up a budget and stick to it.

Keep an eye on the items you buy every month so that you are aware of how much you are spending. This will also allow you to see which ‘luxury’ items you can cut out of your budget. Even small, seemingly insignificant luxuries, like a daily takeaway coffee or chocolate, can make a big difference in your budget over time.

Stop your itching feet

Our society creates the impression that in order for you to have fun, you have to go out and do things away from home. There are many affordable ways to enjoy quality time with loved ones - walk around the block, have a picnic outside in the garden, or enjoy dinner at the dining room table.

Carefully choose what and where you buy

The convenience store around the corner does not necessarily have the best prices to suit your pocket. Do your homework and decide which stores offer the best value for your money. Equally important is deciding what to buy. Junk food for example, is not the best option for your health or your wallet.

Also, keep an eye on the weekly newspaper advertisements. Chain stores often have specials that can ease the pressure on your pocket.

Save money on electricity and water

From an early age, we are taught to use electricity and water sparingly. Do these tips sound familiar?

  • Do not keep the refrigerator door open for too long.
  • Be aware of energy-hungry appliances like the oven and dishwasher.
  • Solar geysers are better than conventional geysers.
  • Turn off all power outlets when not in use.
  • Use low-energy or LED lights.
  • Do not waste water and don’t let the faucet drip.
  • Shower instead of taking a bath.
  • Use greywater for the garden.

There are endless ways to save energy and costs, visit HOMEMAKERS Online for more energy saving options.

Get rid of your debt

As a result of rising interest rates, your debt could become even more of a burden. Prioritise your goals to pay off excess debt. Pay off short-term debt with high interest rates, such as clothing accounts and loans, first. If you have a heap of debt, your primary priority should be to get rid of it. It will set you free from monthly responsibilities that devour your cash flow.

Use these tips to prepare yourself financially when the economy begins to bite. If you are already overwhelmed with debt, contact DebtSafe’s team to assist you with their effective debt review program.