South Africa’s decaying economic climate is currently making everyone nervous.

Reports of fraud, mismanagement of funds and bribery is rampant across the country. We still have a very long way to go before things start to look up and it’s not going to be anytime soon.

Although these financial realities are staring South Africans in the face every day, we have to learn to be savvy with our money.

Here are a few tips we can all benefit from during tough economic times:

Everything in moderation

An extravagant lifestyle is expensive, keeping up with the Jones does you no favours; it just means you have shallow friends. Moderation is the key, as in all things.

Now and again it’s necessary to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle and goals, especially if it’s going to help you survive the current economic situation of this country.

Now is the time to set up a budget and make sure you go according to it. You need to start keeping an eye on the items you buy every month as well, so you’re aware of how much you are spending. This will give you insight into the “luxury” items you can cut out of your grocery shopping.

For example, cutting out that daily coffee or takeaway lunch purchase; can make a huge difference in your budget.

Ants in the pants

Society, more to the point marketing and consumerism, creates the false impression that in order to have fun, we need to go out and do things away from home. There really are way more affordable ways to enjoy quality time with family & loved ones – take a walk around the neighbourhood, have a picnic in the garden, or enjoy supper at the dining room table (it’s just like eating out except you sit at the table and serve yourself).

Shopping – Choosing what and where

The “quick shop” around the corner from you doesn’t have the best prices, their actually expensive and that’s because you’re paying for the convenience. So don’t be lazy!

Sit down and decide which stores offer the best value for your money. Plan your meals so you know what to buy when you go.

Junk food is expensive, that’s a fact, and it’s also not the best option for your health or your bank balance. Keep your eyes peeled on the weekly newspaper advertisements and specials. Chain stores are always having specials that can ease the pain on your wallet.

Electricity and water – how to save

Growing up I was taught from an early age to use electricity and water sparingly. Maybe you were taught the same things, regardless here are some sound tips we should all be implementing:
•    Do not keep the refrigerator door open: Get what you need and close the door, also leaving it open just lets the cold air out and means you’ll be defrosting your fridge more often than not.
•    Be aware of power sucking appliances like the oven and dishwasher: Make sure you turn off all the plates on your stove and especially the oven, also turn it off at the plug point if you’re able.I will never own a dishwasher, it eats electricity and wastes water unnecessarily (FYI – Eastern and Western Cape are having droughts, conserve water!). A dishwasher should be used “VERY” rarely, like birthday parties etc…
•    Solar geysers are better than conventional geysers: If you can afford one get one! The savings in terms of electricity is mind blowing!
•    Turn off all power outlets when not in use: Encase you didn’t know, a plug point still draws power if it is turned on. Meaning that desk lamp or radio that’s plugged in but not turned on, is actually drawing electricity.
•    Use low-energy/LED lights: This is another big saver! Replacing your lights with LED’s makes a HUGE difference and I speak from personal experience.
•    Do not waste water and don’t let the faucet drip: Make sure to close taps properly, if it’s still dripping replace the washer because it does add up and elevates your water bill.
•    Shower instead of taking a bath: electricity and water wise you just use a lot less showering.
•    Use grey water for the garden: use the dirty water from your shower and bath to water the garden with, it won’t damage your garden at all.

Kill off your debt

With interest rates raising your debt “IS” going to become a heavy burden. Prioritize your goals to pay off excess debt as fast as possible. Pay off short-term debt with high-interest rates first. If you have a large amount of your first priority is to get rid of it. It will set you free you up from monthly responsibilities that eat away at your cash flow.

Use these tips to get yourself financially on track for when the economy really begins to take its toll. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by debt, then its time you contact us to assist you with our effective Debt Review program.

With over 12 years of specialized experience in the debt & legal field Oyisa United Debt Specialists is committed to assisting South African consumers in financial liberation.