Opinion

Tighten your belt in tough times: Here’s how

Times are getting tougher, and your pockets are starting to feel tight. So how can you solve this commonly experienced problem?

Should you beg your boss for a raise, start a home industry job or sell your shoe collection?

None of the above seem like great ideas, especially selling your shoes! However there are a few monthly expenses that you can re-evaluate in an attempt to help you get through the month.

Here are six simple things you can do to try and put a few more bucks into your back pocket:

1. Insurance

This can sometimes be the most expensive item on your monthly budget and at the same time the most necessary. If you think about it most people have household, car, life, and/or items insurance. And, lets be serious, you can’t afford not to have insurance in the event of accident or theft.

However you should be aware that sometimes the value of the items you have insured could change if you have owned these items for an extended period of time. This means that your insurance premium should change too! I suggest that you call your insurance broker at least once a year to check on your premiums in addition to requesting quotes from other insurance brokers to be sure that you definitely got the best deal.

You could potentially save R300 to R500 a month by making one simple phone call!

2. Shopping

This is always a hard topic to address, especially with women. When it comes to that beautiful pair of shoes, every now and then I find that I just have to have it all.

The key here is control; sometimes you just have to learn to say no to yourself.

However, if you are like me and the word no just doesn’t want to come out of your mouth when you see a beautiful pair of leather boots, then you can always fall back on these three words: Sales, specials and discounts!

Plan your shopping around these three things. When you are looking around for a certain item make sure you check out all the sale sections in all the stores before purchasing.

Before your do your monthly grocery shopping, collect a bunch of promotion pamphlets and find the places that have your items at the best price. If you are a bit of a techie visiting www.guzzle.co.za will make your life so much easier as it collates all the online promotion pamphlets for you!

3. Cellphone bills

I have definitely fallen prey to unnecessary additional charges that that have somehow found their way onto my bill.

So who can tell me they actually check their cellphone bills?
Trust me on this one. Have a look, find out what doesn’t need to be there, and make sure it is removed!

4. Utilities (lights, water, etc.)

Not only can you potentially be saving the planet but you can be saving some money too. All you have to do is turn off your geyser when you’re not using it, save water and try and take a bit of a greener approach to your everyday tasks.

5. Gym membership

I’m not promoting becoming a complete slob but you need to be real with yourself on this one. If you haven’t gone to the gym in the last six months you most probably won’t be going anytime soon. Investigate ways to either cancel your contract or transfer it to someone else if you are allowed to.

If you really feel like exercising after doing this consider taking a walk in the park or go running with a friend.

6. Rather eat in

I know that having someone else prepare your meal for you can be very convenient, not to mention delicious, but it is not cost-effective to eat out all the time.

Rather pack lunch for work or stay in and make a nice home-cooked meal. You will see the financial benefits very quickly.

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