Whether you want to start saving, investing or to pay off debt, it might seem impossible with your budget. Well, that’s what most people feel when approaching their finances; that there isn’t enough money to start with. But I want to show you a couple of places to look in your current budget to find the extra fat!

DSTV

You knew this was coming. Your DStv subscription is easily one of the things you can do without. A full DStv bouquet costs R809 a month (that’s R9 708 yearly).

If you simply cannot do without screen time, you can go for a cheaper option. The compact subscription is R385 a month.

Even better, you can subscribe to Netflix where the basic plan will cost R99 a month, the standard plan R139 a month and the premium plan R169 a month.

But, of course, you will have to take into consideration the cost of data.

 

YOUR INSURANCE

Now, don’t go cancelling your insurance. But you can save by comparing your existing insurance and shopping around.

Make sure you match what you have already and your coverage remains comprehensive – this can be your personal insurance, car and household insurance.

You can review your policy documents and see if all the details are correct. For example, three years ago when we were reviewing our policies, my husband and I noticed they had put him as a smoker and he is not.

The policy was revised and the premium changed to a lesser amount. Even if it’s not a lot of money, you still get a saving.

Another culprit is doubling up. I have seen so many people who have income protection cover with both their employer and in their personal capacity.

Income protection provides a monthly income over a certain period of time.

It doesn’t come cheap and if you ever had to claim from your income protection insurance, you would not get both amounts from your employer and your personal insurer.

They would have to aggregate it and you would be paid only one amount.

So, while reviewing your policy documents, make sure you do so in conjunction with your employer benefits.

 

GYM SUBSCRIPTION

I ran a workshop with 15 women recently and we discussed expenses that don’t make sense in our budgets.

One said: “I have had a gym membership for the past three to four years and I have not set foot in the gym since then.”

That’s a whopping R500 a month for the past four years that has pretty much gone down the drain.

Even worse, I have seen people with a nationwide membership, which comes at a higher premium than the normal membership, but they have never set foot in their local gym.

Considering that most unit trusts and exchange-traded funds start from R500 monthly, you can certainly put your money to better use.

For the gym fanatics who don’t want to do away with their gym memberships, there are cheaper options.

Instead of going to a gym with a sauna, pool and so on, go for a simple one with the equipment you need but which costs less, for example, Virgin Active vs Viva Gym.

 

DO A LIST WHEN SHOPPING

This might seem like an insignificant thing to do, but writing down exactly what you need before going grocery shopping can save you a significant amount of money.

How many times have you gone shopping with a “good idea” of what you need around the house and end up buying what feels like the entire shop?

When you write down the list and take it with you, you minimise buying extra things you don’t need.

Better yet, there are stores that offer online grocery shopping and delivery; I find this to be the most convenient way to shop, saving you not only money but time too.

 

BANK CHARGES

When I finished varsity and started working, I was chuffed that with my two years’ experience, I could upgrade my bank account to private banking.

Mind you, I didn’t earn a lot of money but the “prestige” of having a private banker was alluring.

Needless to say, I used those services only once when I notified my bank of my trip overseas at the last minute, otherwise I had been paying more than R190 a month for this prestige.

I have since shopped around for an option that is still comprehensive but not as expensive. So, do the same and see if your existing bank can offer you more bucks for your money.

And, also look out for those R99 scams, in which R99 is debited from your account every month without your consent.

In a coaching session two years ago, a client had not paid attention to her bank statement.

As we went through her statements as far back as six to eight months, every month there were three deductions of R99 going off her account.

Be vigilant and look at your bank statement often; it might save you money.

 

In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

 

Tribe, where have you found money in your budget when you thought there wasn’t any?

***this article first appeared in City Press***

You can also Listen to My Money, My Lifestyle podcast below where Maya Fisher-French and I discuss all things money!

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