South Africans should address the three expenses that could be absorbing over 60% of their disposable income, says Yanga Nozibele, Investment Associate at Cannon Asset Managers.
According to the most recent StatsSA Living Conditions Survey, the three major costs weighing on South Africans’ budgets are housing and utilities (32.6%), transport (16.3%), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (12.9%). Together, these three costs account for some 61.8% of all household expenditure.
For many, this amount is likely to be even greater when considering additional spending on furnishings and household maintenance, and miscellaneous services such as home and vehicle insurance said Nozibele.
“By contrast, South Africa’s household savings rate, or the percentage of disposable income that is put towards savings, reached -0.1% in January this year.
“In other words, for every R100 earned, the average person is spending R100.10, meaning that most consumers are not only failing to save any money at all, but in fact are continuing to live beyond their means and falling into debt.”
Below, Nozibele offered the following simple tips for others looking to cut back on their living expenses, and turn spending into saving:
- If your rent is high, consider moving to a smaller home or a more affordable neighbourhood, or even simply settling for a home with less upmarket furnishings. You could also sub-let a room or rent your spare room out on Airbnb for some extra income;
- Weigh your options carefully before buying – it may be more cost-effective to rent for a while longer and save towards a larger deposit in order to reduce the size of your mortgage;
- If you’ve decided to buy a property, shop around between different providers for a good interest rate on your mortgage.
- Depending on where you live, you could consider cycling to work. This will not only reduce your travel expenses, but potentially has some great health benefits;
- If you’re not too keen on cycling, or if this is not an option for you, you could explore carpooling with colleagues or friends who live and work in the same areas as you. Alternatively, you could consider using public transport if available;
- If your car is a fuel-guzzler, weigh the costs of switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. You will also be able to save money by keeping your current vehicle even after you’ve paid it off, and by revisiting and comparing premiums on your car insurance every year.
- Shop around between stores to compare prices and consider buying house brands rather than upmarket or “brand-name” labels;
- Where possible, buy non-perishable goods in bulk – this may offer a hefty discount to buying single items;
- Make cooking a regular habit, as eating out at restaurants and ordering take-away quickly adds up.