Just a week after being paid, Salome Chipanyana* is already wondering how she is going to pay for lunch boxes, electricity or even transport to work. She is just one of the estimated 85% of South Africans who live from paycheck to paycheck.

Gerald Mwandiambira, author and acting CEO of the SA Savings Institute (SASI), says living from pay check to pay check often has to do with how we handle earned money, and not how much we earn. Ester Ochse, channel head for FNB Advisory, says changing spending habits is a longterm solution for many South Africans. The experts offer solutions to avoid surviving on an overdraft, personal loans or visiting the dreaded umashonisa (illegal money lenders).

Many of us live from one month’s wages to the next. We have some tips on making your money last a little longer.
  1. Create a budget. Use a bank statement and accounts to make a list of all necessary expenses and put it somewhere visible, such as on the fridge. Follow it as closely as you can.
  2. Cut unnecessary spending on things like sweets, crisps, coffee or anything else non-essential.
  3. Pay your interest-bearing accounts on time to avoid late payment fees.
  4. Use cash for purchases wherever possible, to avoid credit or debit card charges and to keep track of your actual spending.
  5. Save on utility bills. Turn off the lights in rooms you are not using, switch off the geyser during the day, use energy-saving light bulbs and if possible put in a water-saving shower head. Always boil just as much water you need – if you’re making one cup of tea, don’t fill the kettle. Also make sure that taps are properly closed and ensure that there are no leaks. Putting a brick in your toilet cistern also saves water.
  6. Visit an icafé or other Wi-Fi hotspot and use free Internet for your computer-based online work and checking email and social media.
  7. Plan low-budget meals in advance. Staples like rice, beans and lentils, as well as seasonal fruit and vegetables, are nutritious and inexpensive.
  8. Plan your menu. Don’t forget to use your grocery coupons benefit, Jet Club members! To access them, dial *120*333444#.
  9. Buy non-perishables in bulk and perishables in smaller quantities, or freeze them.
  10. Buy store brands and unsliced bread instead of branded sliced bread.
  11. Form a carpool with neighbours or use public transport to save on transport costs. Biking or walking wherever possible helps with mental and physical fitness and saves money.
  12. Join a library and arrange with friends and neighbours to share books and magazines.
  13. Save on cellphone costs by opting for per-second billing or a using a network that offers free airtime.
  14. Review your insurance policies on a regular basis such as every six months. Adjust your premiums if you stopped smoking after taking out a policy, and have your car insurance reassessed regularly, as the car’s value goes down each year.
  15. Deposit a small sum (but as much as you can) each month in an emergency account.
  16. Save through a savings club or stokvel, to ensure that you have regular extra cash.

STRETCH YOUR SALARY STRETCH YOUR SALARY Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on October 01, 2017 Rating: 5
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