South Africa has been in lockdown to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. During this time we’ve all faced various financial challenges. Some of us have even had to endure job losses or salary cuts. So how can you cut your monthly expenses and survive the lockdown?
Here are 7 ways to help you cut your monthly expenses during the lockdown.
1. Track your monthly expenses
Do you know exactly how much you’re spending on groceries, transport, entertainment etc.?
Having a budget will help you keep track of all your monthly spending and identify ways to cut down on those expenses.
Read our blog post How To Budget Monthly to help you set up a budget and track your money monthly. We’ve even included an easy and simple to use spreadsheet for anyone who wants to track their finances monthly.
2. Reduce takeaways
Now that we’re in Level 3 of lockdown restaurants and takeaways are operational again. As good as that may be, this might end up being your biggest monthly expense at the moment.
We all had to endure the task of cooking from home for a few months. And many of us ended up truly enjoying it. Don’t backtrack simply because you have more options available to you. It could end up costing you more than you may be comfortable with financially.
Instead of regularly eating takeaways cook your food from home.
Find affordable easy to make recipes online and cut down on your food expenses. If you’re looking for healthy 30-min meals that you can afford to check out Delish 30-min meals.
Cut down on grocery expenses by working with a weekly budget.
To help you stay within your budget, decide how much money you’ll need for groceries each month and divide that into 4. Use that amount for your weekly grocery budget, and stick to it.
Make a weekly trip to the grocery store and only get the essentials you’ll need for that week.
To help you spend as little money as possible, you can play a saving game. For example, any money left over from your weekly groceries budget goes straight into your saving account.
3. Eat those leftovers
Now that you’ll be staying away from takeaways and you’ll be eating at home more often, you’ll probably end up with leftovers. Make your meals stretch further by taking care of dinner and lunch in one go. It can save you a lot of time and money every month. And the best part is you’ll be getting healthy home-cooked meals more often.
If you’re currently working from the office, eating leftovers can be a huge money saver. Imagine all the money you’d save from eating leftovers instead of buying your daily lunch.
4. Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions
To help reduce monthly expenses, cancel any monthly subscriptions that you’re not using at the moment. This may include things like gym membership, guitar lessons, etc.
Instead, make use of online videos to help you with these activities if you can.
To stretch your finances a little further opt for cheaper health or car insurance plans.
If you have insurance accounts, check in with your provider to see whether a cheaper plan would suit your current needs. You may be overspending on these expenses and be missing out on an opportunity to free up some cash.
An insurance broker can get the best deals available to you. So it might be worth getting in touch with one.
5. Save on electricity
Most of us know that we should switch off all the lights when leaving a room.
To start saving money on electricity immediately, switch your light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL). These CFL bulbs are a lot more efficient than traditional bulbs.
These bulbs are designed to help reduce electricity usage while producing more light. Instead of using a 100Watt incandescent bulb, you could use a 22Watt CFL bulb and produce the same amount of light.
These bulbs are more expensive initially, but they last 10 times longer and save you money in the long run.
6. Use the geyser smartly
A study conducted by Stellenbosch University found that you can save 18% of our geyser’s usage.
For the best results, the study found that you should heat your geyser for 2 hours and switch it off just before you take a bath or shower.
This works best for households who have similar daily routines where everyone baths or showers more or less at the same time.
For bigger households, the study found that you could save up to 12% on your next utility bill by following the advice.
You can find the Stellenbosch University (SU) study here: Saving on household electric water heating: What works best and by how much?
7. Use store vouchers and coupons
Using store coupons could save you a few hundred bucks every month. But who has time to cut out coupons the whole day?
In South Africa we do thing a bit differently, we don’t sit and cut out our coupons, we use apps!
These apps are simple to use and can help you save a little money throughout the month.
The biggest challenge
If you want to start cutting your monthly expenses you have changed your mindset. You may be in the mindset of thinking that you deserve nice things, but these nice things can become costly. Especially when we’re going through tough financial times like we’re doing right now.
Once you’ve wrapped your head around the bigger picture of cutting monthly living expenses you’ll find it easier to let go of certain things.
Let us know in the comments below how you cut costs of living during the lockdown.
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