Times have been hard lately. Petrol is sky high, school fees now cost more than buying a small car, food prices are on the up and credit is destroying a lot of people!

I'm no financial guru and to be honest, I have debt too, so my advice shouldn't be treated as golden but rather guidelines to simplifying your budget issues.

  • Assess which of your debt has the highest interest rate, and if you can't pay them all off at once, pay the one with the highest interest rate first.
  • Try to keep your monthly debt to about 30% of your income.
  • Put away at least 10% of your income away towards your retirement. Remember that once you retire your income will stop, and your monthly living expenses wont.
  • Buy in bulk. Items like rice, sugar, cereals, pasta, etc dont go bad if you store them for a while and are always cheaper when buying the bigger bag.
  • Buy the shop name items. Usually the same quality as the branded item, but always is much cheaper.
  • Quit smoking! Enough said
  • Give up fizzy drinks for water. It's cheaper and its healthier
  • Take a packed lunch to work everyday. Buying lunch daily is expensive!
  • make sure that your tyre pressure in your car is right. Driving with low pressured tyres increase the drag, which results in higher fuel consumption.
  • Avoid using the AC in your car. This increases your fuel consumption heavily, if left on for your whole journey. If you have to use it, set on high for the first few minutes and open your windows to let the hot air out of the car, then close the windows and allow the AC to cool the car. Turn it lower when the car is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Kill two birds with one trip. If the store is on your way to a friends house, you might as well stop at the store onroute and pick up the items you need on the same trip. This requires SOME planning ahead, but isn't rocket science.
  • Avoid traffic. Idling in traffic and driving in a stop-start rhythm uses alot more fuel than you think, so if you can, avoid it.
  • Avoid speeding. Most cars today have a display showing the fuel consumption of car at that very moment. Try to find the sweet spot where your car uses less fuel while still traveling at a decent speed. In my car, I have found that 115km/h uses 2 litres less fuel per 100 km than traveling at 120km/h. Every car is different, so its up to figure out your cars sweet spot.
  • Avoid using your cell phone for calls to landlines that can wait till you have access to a landline. Charges are incredibly high from cell to landline and vice versa. try getting into the habit of calling another cellphone from your cell phone, and landlines from your landline.
  • Eskom has been preaching this one for a few years now, so by now it should be habit, but just in case... Turn off your geyser when are not at home. Keeping it running all day consumes alot of electricity.
  • Make sure your iron has a thermostat that works.
  • Switch off unnecessary lights.
If I've missed something important, let me know, but I think I touched on the basics.

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