Saving Tips for Pensioners – How to Save on a Limited Income

The South African pension system is ranked as one of the lowest in the world. 

According to the recent 2023 Allianz Pension Report, our nation finds itself in a less than desirable position. Among the ‘poorest’ pensioners globally, we are grouped with the likes of Kenya and Lebanon.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. In the esteemed Mercer CFA Global Pension Index, South Africa languishes at the 34th spot out of 44 countries, managing to secure only a mediocre C-grade score. It’s a stark picture that presents retirement as less of a serene sunset and more of a violent windy storm on the horizon.

Nevertheless, we don’t back down from a challenge. So let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into how we can navigate this storm together. Read more on saving tips for pensioners below.

The Perfect Storm: The Burden of Rising Costs for South African Pensioners

Let’s have a heart-to-heart chat here, friends. South Africa’s pensioners – maybe that’s you, or someone you love – are grappling with some pretty hefty financial anxieties. Now, we all know healthcare is no joke, right? But despite its cost, it’s an essential aspect of our lives, especially as we age. And without private medical aid, our elders could find themselves without treatment for hours, even days or months, in facilities that leave a lot to be desired. And that’s just the start of it.

Take a moment to think about skyrocketing housing costs. Throw in escalating food prices. Then there are transport costs to consider, not to mention water and lights (and the never-ending additional cost of managing loadshedding or power outages that last for days). 

These mounting expenses are creating an immense pressure cooker situation for our pensioners. The financial squeeze is real, and it’s a concern we can’t ignore.

But wait, there’s more. We can’t sweep the cost of security under the rug. Feeling safe and secure in your own home when you’re elderly? That’s non-negotiable. Yet, in South Africa, this comes with its own set of costs, adding another layer of financial anxiety. The struggle is all too real, and it’s high time we brought it into the light.

Making Ends Meet: The SASSA Old Person’s Grant vs. The Cost of Living

Have you ever tried to get through the month with just R2080? That’s the harsh reality for the 3.8 million people as of March 2023 leaning on the SASSA Old Person’s Grant for their monthly income. And while there’s a smidge of an increase scheduled for the 1st of October 2023 – a grand total of R10 – let’s just say we aren’t popping the champagne yet.

Now, let’s talk about groceries – this single living cost. Your everyday essentials, nothing fancy. How much would you guess that sets you back each month? 

R5071.59, according to the latest figures. Yep, you heard that right. Our pensioners, trying to survive on the SASSA grant alone, are staring down a frighteningly wide chasm between income and expenses. And let’s be honest – this balancing act? It’s anything but a walk in the park.

The question then arises, how are pensioners actually surviving? 

Survival Tactics: How Are Pensioners Managing the Gap?

Buckle up, folks, because these stats from our recent survey of over 3000 respondents (where retirees made up a cool 18%) show pensioners are having a bit of a bumpy ride. 

66% of these retirees are skipping meals because their wallets are running on empty. Can you imagine that? 

A whopping 96% confessed they’re opting for cheaper, less nutritional chow just to get them through the month, and nearly everyone (not just retirees) – 98% to be precise – admitted they’re trimming down on other expenditures just to keep their plates full.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a gloomy picture, no doubt about that. But don’t lose heart just yet! There’s a silver lining here to better manage your cents and make ends meet. So, keep your chin up and let’s explore these together!

Assistance with Living Costs in South Africa

Navigating the economic rough waters in South Africa can be tough, but don’t worry, there’s a safety net available. Yes, it’s not a magic money tree, but these aids can offer a helping hand when you need it the most.

There’s an old-age pension for citizens, permanent residents, and even refugees who call South Africa home. They can get up to R1,890 or R1,910 a month, depending on their age. It may not be a king’s ransom, but it’s something.

In the middle of a disaster or crisis? Don’t fret. The government offers social relief of distress, providing emergency food parcels, vouchers, or cash to help you tide over. This includes support for those hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re a citizen or permanent resident with an annual income below R223,200 (or R446,400 combined for a couple) and are caring for a child with a severe disability, there’s a care dependency grant of R1,890 per month available.

For those folks out there who are unable to work for longer than six months due to a disability, there’s a disability grant. This covers citizens, permanent residents, and refugees, and offers R1,890 per month.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more grants and support for war veterans and those needing care. For a more detailed look, head on over to the South African government website. Because, you know, every little bit helps!

Practical Solutions for Pensioners

Stokvels: A Traditional Approach to Financial Planning 

Ever heard of Stokvels? These community savings clubs are pretty nifty because they give you a nice lump sum to help with those unexpected expenses. The concept is simple: get five trustworthy friends to toss in R50 each month, and voila, every five months, you’ve got yourself an extra R250. 

Sure, it might not sound like a massive windfall, but trust us, this little extra can be the lifebuoy that keeps you afloat when the bills start to pile up, or when the fridge is looking a bit bare in that last week before payday. It’s all about those small victories, isn’t it? 

Skill-Based Earnings: Starting a Side Hustle in Retirement 

Here’s something to ponder over your morning cuppa: What are you really good at? Come on now, we’ve all got something special up our sleeves. Maybe you’ve got a knack for knitting, a penchant for painting, or maybe you’re the local guru of gardening. Now, how about transforming that skill of yours into some extra moolah?

Sounds intriguing, right? You could offer your services part-time, teach others, or even sell your handmade crafts. And don’t fret if your skill seems a tad outdated – it’s never too late to learn something new. Seek out people in your community who’ve got a money-making skill that sparks your interest and ask if they could show you the ropes.

Imagine this: your love for painting or crocheting could bring in some extra cash. How wonderful is that? So let’s dust off those hidden talents and get them to work! After all, every little bit counts, doesn’t it?

Banking Smart: Making Your Money Work for You

Listen, we get it. Bank fees can be a real nuisance, especially when every cent counts. But hear us out – banking isn’t all gloom and doom. If you’ve got a cellphone, there’s good news coming your way. Did you know that there are three online banks in South Africa, and two of them charge minimal fees, while the third one doesn’t charge you a cent? Yes, you read that right – zero fees!

The best part? You can have your SASSA grant paid directly into your bank account. Plus, any money sitting in your account can earn interest – it’s like a little reward for your saving habits. So don’t let those bank fees deter you. With a little research and a smart choice, you can turn banking into a tool that works for you.

From Rand to Rand: The Importance of Budgeting

We know what you’re thinking – “Why bother? My money disappears as soon as it comes.” But believe us, it’s this kind of thinking that can make us feel out of control. Like we’re on a financial rollercoaster without a safety harness, right?

But here’s the silver lining. Even when the budget is tighter than a new pair of shoes, a little planning can go a long way. Even the smallest budget can benefit from some structure and tracking. Know where your money is going – every little cent of it.

You see, when you track your spending, you start noticing patterns and spotting opportunities to save that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. It’s like a treasure hunt, and the treasure is your financial peace of mind. You might be surprised at how many ‘hidden gems’ you can find when you start digging into your spending habits.

So remember, your money should be working for you, not the other way around. Let’s seize control, draw up that budget, and start hunting for those savings! Trust me, your future self will thank you for it.

Unlocking Value: Store Specials and Discounts for Pensioners 

You’d be surprised at the number of chain stores that are throwing pensioners a lifeline with their discounts and specials. 

Most stores are rolling out the red carpet for pensioners, offering some pretty neat deals and discounts. You just need to know where to look. It could be a day dedicated to discounted shopping for pensioners, special ‘pensioner hours’, or even select products marked down or packages tailored especially for the older generation.

What’s that? Not sure where to start? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! The Good Things Guy has compiled a fantastic guide with all the hot deals for 2023. It’s a treasure trove of savings waiting to be discovered! You can check it out right here.

Remember, every rand saved is a rand earned. So put on your bargain-hunting hat and let’s make the most of those discounts!

Get Lucky: Our Monthly Cash Survey

And now, for the cherry on top! How does an extra R500 sound? Intrigued? I thought so! Every month, we run a cash survey and the winner bags a cool R500. That’s not all, we also have other cash prize draws lined up.

So here’s your to-do list: Follow our pages, sign up for our newsletter, and get busy entering those competitions. Who knows, the spotlight could be on you next, making you our latest winner! Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it. So hop on board and let’s make things happen together!

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