Five Budgeting tips to help turn your pennies around

Debt Review is the safest option you opt for when struggling to pay creditors and provide for your family. Debt Review is not all that bad and it is not a bottomless hole, there is still light at the end of the tunnel and you can still save money even when you have to pay back creditors when you are under Debt review. I know it is hard at times and it can put a lot of strain on you and your family but there are a few key points to look at when saving money and working with a tight budget.

Before we get to the tips on how to save money, it is important that you sit down with your family (Husband/wife and kids) and explain to them that money is tight and that the luxuries will have to be cut down and there will be less spending money and more strict rules when it comes to saving on certain aspects of the household. They should understand this because this will make the process a lot less stressful when everyone in the house is on board with the plan of action. As we discussed in our previous blog Simple Steps to follow to build your financial security, it is of the utmost importance to budget and keep track of your income and expenses, as this will help you identify key areas on where to cut costs.

Now for the good part, I am going to share 5 key tips on how to save money so that you can have that little extra at the end of the month

1. Cut the extras

While budgeting one can identify where money gets spent on luxuries, for example an expensive TV provider package, buying clothes on a regular basis, buying technology and toys etc. which is not necessary. Do not go and buy clothes when you see something new, set a budget aside each season for buying basics like a pair of jeans and a few shirts and a jacket for the winter, you do not have to look like a fashion show.

One needs to learn the difference between wanting and needing and each time you want to buy something ask yourself this “Do I really need this? Can I get along without it?” if your answer is yes to the first question and no to the second then buy it, but then you need to classify it as a luxury or not, some women feel that they cannot live without their specific brand name night cream, and some men might feel that they can’t lie without a specific series on Television. But one must try and see the importance of the situation that you are in.

2. Plan meals ahead

Planning meals ahead in the week can save you a lot of money. It stops you from giving in to being lazy one evening and buying take-out food, which can easily set you back between R200 – R500 per family, depending on where you get food. So sit on a Sunday and plan meals ahead, plan the dinners, and pack lunch, for yourself and the kids. This also starts a good habit of healthy eating and in turn it will also save you money. There is no need for a fancy diet or anything like that, simple tasty meals will be just fine.

3. Grocery shopping doesn’t need to be that expensive

When buying food try and buy the no-name brands, buy in bulk if you see that it works out cheaper than buying a small amount. Do research on where you can find products at the best prices.

Buying online using online specials can also save you money and with planning meals it will be easy to budget what you will be spending for the week on food alone.

You need to change your shopping habits. Can you relate to the following? Pushing a trolley down the aisle at month end and you don’t have a shopping list but you have a mental note of what you need, by the time you get to the till your trolley is loaded to the max with essentials you think you need and you’ve just blown 80% of your grocery budget. If we can show you a different way of shopping would you be open to that?

Do your budget, you have R1000 for groceries, you have R400 for meat, you R400 for milk and bread, you have R300 for lunchboxes for the month, you have R300 for toiletries. Write down a list of what you need for this current week only, divide your monthly grocery budget into four weeks of this month. The trick is to get your mind to accept the change, this is the challenge. When you do your shopping, have your list for this week’s needs on a Friday for example, do the calculations on what you have spent and see what you have left. If you have a R100 left at the end of your week’s shopping, what will you do with that money? 🙂

4. Save water and electricity

Teach your Family how to save water and electricity, make a habit of it. Switch of extra lights in the house when the room isn’t being used, don’t use aircons and heaters make use of open windows and the heat of the sun. Again decide on what is a luxury and what not.

Put the geyser off when it is not being used and switch it on an hour before everyone starts to get ready for a bath or shower. Take a shower rather than a bath as this uses a lot less water than a bath.

Use brown water from doing dishes to water plants.

5. Save petrol

The easiest way to save petrol is to start a driving club, find out who lives in your area and who works with you and take turns during the week to drive together to work in one car. This will save petrol expenses.

If you plan on going to the shops after work, do it on your route to home, plan ahead.

The key thing to remember about saving money is to plan ahead, cut costs where you can and cut out the luxuries. It is tough but it is not the end of the world. It will become a lifestyle and when you get your clearance certificate that you are Debt Free, you will not easily fall back into the habit of making debts and you will know how to work with money and how to budget. It will be easier to go out on a holiday or treat yourself with something nice. This is all small steps to creating your financial freedom and well being.