Feeling the pinch? It’s time to take control. There are ways to claw back some cash. Here’s how…
find the best bank account
It’s important that your bank suits your needs – yet many of us are still reluctant to switch. But, nowadays, moving accounts couldn’t be easier. The banks will do all the legwork for you and any switch is usually completed within seven days. Better still, banks want your business and can offer you incentives to move to them. Compare some banks’ current accounts and speak to a financial advisor at the bank you are looking to move to.
You should also regularly check that you’re getting the best deal on your savings accounts. Many bank accounts start off with introductory offers, which includes a competitive interest rate, but they often expire after 12 months. Check the interest rate you’re on, then shop around – it’s likely you will find a better rate. Make sure you switch again when the rate changes to a lower one.
If you are struggling to save, think about ‘skimming’. This simply means rounding off your current account at the end of each day to the nearest R10 (or whatever increment you can handle). So, if you have R90.88 in your account, shift R9,12 into a savings account. It doesn’t sound like much, but these small amounts each day really add up. You can also use apps like Chip and Plum, which use AI-powered algorithms to determine how much you can afford to save each day and even automatically shift it into savings for you. Just make sure that your bank package doesn’t charge you for those daily inter-account transfers.
cut your bills – save bucks
The monthly cost of running a house. The average urban 3 bedroomed house will have expenses running between R10’000 to R15’000, a bit less when you are renting. Rather than rewarding loyalty, suppliers often hike up prices, so take action. Switching utility providers could slash your bills. Switching your security provider alone could save you at least R2’000 a year.
Compare TV, sattelite, mobile or broadband. Don’t forget household and car insurance policies too. Every time you sign up to a service, make a note in your diary to take action once an introductory deal or the contract ends.
Be aware of auto-renewal, where service providers will renew a contract unless you actively cancel it.
Make the most of cashback. Some enterprises will offer you products, discounts, cash back or credits on your own account for referrals, such as internet service providers or mobile phone companies.
cut food waste
South Africa’s Shocking food secret. Oxfam has calculated that 13-million South Africans go to bed hungry every night in South Africa. While this vast number of South Africans crave food they cannot access, the country somehow, without any pangs of shame or shouts of rebellion, manages to dump food valued at R60-billion! Cutting back on food waste could save the average household around R600 a month.
If you find yourself tempted by supermarket multi-buy deals and regularly end up spending more than you planned, stick to online shopping. Although delivery costs are sometimes an extra, some supermarkets will include delivery for free for purchases over a reasonable amount of money. Compare supermarkets and their cash-buying incentives too, like Pick and Pay’s Smart Shopper Points that pales in comparrison with Checkers offering up to 15% back in e-bucks which can be spent on fuel, groceries or a vast variety of items.
grants to help you stay afloat
Billions of rands of benefits go unclaimed each year, whether it’s through social stigma or lack of knowledge. Benefits are not just for people who are unemployed, so it’s worth checking what you’re entitled to. Enquire at SARS, SASSA and the Department of Labour to see what benefits and grants your family could be getting, such as tax credits, income support or carer’s allowance.
manage your debt
If you have a mortgage you haven’t looked at for a few years, check your options. A move to a fixed-rate deal to lock in low interest rates could save you hundreds of rands each month.
Alternatively you can also search for a mortgage using an online broker or an independent adviser.
If you have credit card debt, but a decent credit rating, consider a switch to a 0% balance transfer card. You can transfer your debt without having to worry about added interest charges for up to 38 months. But remember: don’t spend any money on the card and always keep up with minimum repayments to avoid hefty charges. There may also be a transfer fee to consider.
If you have several types of debt, know which to prioritise. Tax, rent, mortgage, car payments, utility bills, hire purchase loans and court fines are payments you should make in full each month, as not doing so can lead to eviction, repossession or court judgements. If you are struggling, seek help from a reputable debt councillor.
The best advice when it comes to debt is: try as much as possible to not make any.
Sources: The Daily Maverick; Prima UK Magazine, March/April, 2018