Cutting Costs In Tight Times

So I’ve just filled up my car and it came to a whopping R1000. That’s about three times more than when I bought the car, eight years ago.

And apart from the rising petrol price, the bad news just seems to be piling up – interest rates are climbing, electricity costs are rocketing and some grocery staples are being hard hit by the war in Ukraine.

Who ever knew that Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat, vegetable oil, and corn worldwide?

While we may feel pretty powerless with all of this, ringing in some changes on the home front can minimise the impact on our monthly budget:

1. Groceries

This probably eats up most of your monthly budget, so it’s a good place to start. Many of us have items that rattle around in the deep freeze or pantry indefinitely.

Use these before you replenish. If there are specials on items you regularly use, buy in bulk and buy unbranded items as far as possible (if the price is cheaper – always check!). Cut down your physical shopping to every two weeks or switch to online shopping and prepare a shopping list.

Try to avoid frozen or canned items – always buy fresh and buy what’s in season. Blanch and freeze your own fresh veggies.

2. Clutter

Ever heard of Swedish Death Cleaning? It’s a method of decluttering and organizing your home, so it’s not a burden on your loved ones when you die.

We don’t have to wait until we’re 65 to tackle this one. Most homes contain a treasure trove of items that haven’t been used for years. Start at one end and be ruthless.

Only keep items that you’ve used in the past six months and really you want to keep. If there are sentimental items that you just can’t part with, keep these to a minimum.

As for the rest – sell it and generate some handy cash.

3. Revamp old clothes

Do you know what’s in your wardrobe or is it stuffed so full that you can’t even find the hidden gems that you’ve forgotten about? It’s so easy with clothing accounts – we buy, we pay, we buy, we pay and this becomes an endless cycle.

How about breaking it? Pay off your clothing accounts and revamp what you have.

There are loads of ideas on the internet around repurposing old garments, and by buying less, you’ll also be part of the sustainable fashion movement, saving the planet, one garment at a time.

4. Electricity saving

Switch off lights and appliances when not in use and make sure that you buy energy-saving appliances when you need to replace them.

Install energy-saving light bulbs which may seem more expensive initially, but they will save you money in the long run. TVs and appliances still guzzle power when they’re in standby mode, so installing smart plugs will ensure that they’re switched off when not in use.

Smart plugs can be set to switch off appliances such as TVs and sound systems entirely as opposed to putting them onto standby mode which uses power.

Geysers are also a major culprit, making up around 30% of your electricity consumption. Turn your geyser temperature down to around 60 degrees which can be more reliable than switching it on and off, or install a timer to do so. Or cover your geyser with a thermal blanket that will avoid loss of heat.

If you put your mind to it, there are lots of little ways to save money. We just tend to fall into the same patterns of behavior, which will only change when we make an effort. What money-saving tips work for you gents?


This article was written by Sylvia Walker, financial planner, speaker and author of smartwoman.

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34 thoughts on “Cutting Costs In Tight Times

  1. Nhlanhla S. says:

    Nothing to cut cost in when you are unemployed and living on grant because food is what takes all the rands everyday. Working class is also struggling to cope with making new budget strategies to survive. Covid helped a lot to shy away from social spending and waistful attitudes. Now people can find new hacks to save and survive the prize hikes without hussle. Though it may seem worse time to live in, there’s no better way than starting a new saving strategies that will be useful when things gets better or worse. Biking instead of driving is the other solution that works wonders to drivers.

  2. Nhlanhla S. says:

    “Cost of living is too high” is a quote we familiar of that recently has become a reality all around the world. Now with prizes on a hike it is even hard to keep a job or run a business. Loadshedding is the effient killer of small businesses and those who worked temporary are back home. Crime is sky rocketing because of how costly food and petrol has become. Remember the national crisis of looting?That was basic demonstration of desperate public response to this disastrous change after covid. The government must find solutions to bring down the costs but it is globally affecting even the well kept countries. It is even difficult to survive for the poor to cope with what has happened.

  3. Alex N. says:

    The cost of leaving is so high in a way that we will no longer be able to afford to buy groceries.even the electricity is up and some of us we not working it’s hard being unemployed and have to feed our we having an increase in petrol,taxis are up.the world is crashing

  4. Tsitsi M. says:

    The cost of living is unbearable. All the basic needs of life are expensive, but then life has to go on and we are trying to find all possible ways to cut costs. Thank you for the tips.

  5. Fanyana S. says:

    With the Fuel price, everything seems to increase and the cost of living is already high. The Government is always telling of how the inflation rates affect the lives of South African. It’s time that we as South African do something to cut costs. Lift clubs and public transport are a bit of a solution for those that can take public transportation and it will save people a lot.

  6. Dan K. says:

    Cutting Costs In Tight Times✔
    We have facing the pandemics ,First was Masks over Covid19
    Then the hit of Petrol,oil,and Wheat .This means we are linked worldwide.
    One ro

    • Dan K. says:

      One rotten egg in the box affect the rest
      So now we must compromise in everything ,we parking our cars due to Petrol,and taxes and buses are very expensive we don’t know where to run.
      Thanks ManBox for the tips that you’ve been giving to us ,to be honest i wasn’t aware that we no longer wearing masks but ManBox has updated me ,”I am so Proud of You Guys ” now i’m going to Save in Everything .(Electricity,Water ,oil,and Unnecessary expenditure.
      #Bigup ManBox