Making ends meet - 15 ways to cut back on household expenses

We currently find ourselves in a financially precarious situation as all non-essential businesses shut down for a period of 21 days. This will result in a loss of wages for many South Africans and will place most of us under severe financial constraints. 

Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, recommends that we all look at what we can live without for the short term and where we can make financial sacrifices in the form of our lifestyle choices.

“There are several household expenses that can be lowered over this period. While it might take some effort to cut back on these expenses, homeowners will need to do whatever they can to make sure they keep up with their bond repayments or risk having their home repossessed by the bank,” he cautions.

Below is a list of ways RE/MAX of Southern Africa suggests homeowners could consider to lower their monthly household expenses:

  1. Ask your bank for a payment holiday on your home loan and/or other debts
  2. Negotiate a better deal on the interest rate on your home loan
  3. Shop around for a cheaper life, home and car insurance policies
  4. Find a more affordable medical aid policy
  5. Cancel any inessential subscriptions (for example, DSTV / Netflix / Spotify / iTunes / Showmax) 
  6. Cancel or pause any club memberships, including gym fees
  7. Purchase more affordable brands when grocery shopping
  8. Downgrade your cell phone contract or switch to pay-as-you go
  9. Downgrade your internet connection
  10.  Save on fuel costs by walking to the grocery shops
  11.  Find ways to lower your electric bill (examples include setting your geyser to a timer, unpluging all electrical appliances when not in use, etc.)
  12.  Find ways to lower your water bill (examples include reusing greywater to water the garden, only doing your washing when it’s a full load, etc.)
  13.  Temporarily stop expensive habits like alcohol consumption and smoking
  14.  Temporarily stop buying grooming products such as styling gels, perfumes and makeup
  15.  Cut back on expensive cleaning detergents. Only buy essentials such as dishwashing liquid, bleach and laundry detergent.

“While giving up these things will be challenging, I encourage South African homeowners to practice good spending habits and financial discipline for the duration of this lockdown to avoid getting into massive debt over this time,” Goslett concludes. 

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