With a massive increase adding to a record-high petrol price, South Africans are having to prioritise their transport costs and cut down on other spending.
According to CEO of Debt Rescue, Neil Roets, fuel is high on the priority list for many South Africans, alongside food and rent.
“Consumers have to go about their daily lives, getting to work, taking children to school and doing necessary shopping.
“They will make adjustments where possible to reduce costs on fuel and transport, but the reality is there is often very little they can change if they haven’t done so already,” he said.
“After making adjustments to their fuel expenditure where they can, they will start looking to items that are easy to reduce or remove from their budgets which aren’t critical.”
According to Roets this includes:
- Certain luxuries (eg take-outs);
- Old contracts no longer in use;
- Insurances they cannot afford any more (long and short-term);
- Credit repayments.
“Repaying debt is the one expense that they have to honour to avoid legal action; however when they are faced with limited options, this becomes one they will forego,” said Roets.
“These are the indicative signs that someone is most likely over-indebted and requires the help of a professional in the form of a debt counsellor to assist them in honouring their debt repayments and obtaining legal protection, whilst still having sufficient money to repay necessary living expenses.”
He added that it was important for motorists to review their fuel/transport expenditure for the past 6 months, and analyse which usage was unnecessary.
“Plan trips, such as shopping or get-togethers, to ensure that the most is made of an outing, such as visiting friends, doing shopping on the way, dropping the kids off at school sports and fetching them on the way back,” he said.
“Carpooling is an option, but the reality is that this is sometimes not practical, as timing is an issue, as well as the likelihood that someone lives close enough for this to work in reality for many people.
“Ensure your vehicle is well maintained so that fuel consumption is not worsened by a vehicle not operating efficiently.”