3 things South Africans are cutting down on to save money

Nielsen has released its latest Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for the fourth quarter of 2018.

The index showed a two-point decrease to 88 – representing a relatively stable (though still negative) picture for consumer sentiment in South Africa.

This downturn is supported by a decrease in the number of South Africans who view their job prospects as excellent or good, which has dropped one point to 33% compared to the previous quarter.

“South Africans are clearly feeling the squeeze as they struggle to deal with their day to day financial commitments, while at the same time being highly aware of the bigger economic picture, said Nielsen South Africa Connect MD, Kerith Botha.

“This has been adversely affected by a series of setbacks, including power generation amongst other issues, which may well explain consumers’ current preoccupation with the state of the economy,” she said.

According to Nielsen, the three things South Africans are now cutting down most on include:

  • Takeaway meals (72%);
  • New clothes (59%);
  • Out of home  entertainment (57%);


When it comes to the allocation of their monthly budget in an average month, the highest number (19%) goes towards food and beverages at home and the same number towards housing (rent, mortgage and utilities etc) and 10% on routine transportation (car, gas, communing non-vacation).

Interestingly, South Africans allocate the same amount of their budget (8%) to education and communication services like mobile phone landline, internet, TVetc.

Other notable findings from the index include:

  • Only 21% of South Africans say they have any spare cash;
  • In terms of what their spending priorities are once they meet their essential living expenses, the highest number of consumers (42%) put it into savings, followed by 38% paying off debts, credit cards and loans;
  • 25% of respondents said they would spend it on new clothes, while 22% said they would spend their spare cash on holidays.

“South Africans are financially constrained and therefore prioritise saving and paying off debt,” said Botha

“However, they’re also seeking relief from the mundanities of every-day life by spending on new clothes and going on holiday. A sign that they’re still determined to enjoy life despite the financial challenges they face,” she said.

Read: The degrees that pay the highest salaries in South Africa

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3 things South Africans are cutting down on to save money