9 ways to reduce your essential expenses

We often think of budgeting as an exercise in cutting out all of the things we want. But what about focusing on getting what you need for less, so that you can save more towards the things you really want?

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9 ways to reduce your expenses


  1. Review your insurance bill
    If you have a funeral or life insurance policy, find out what other insurers and banks would charge you for the same cover. You may be surprised to find how much less you could be paying for exactly the same benefits.

    Do the same for all of your insurance policies (e.g. vehicle or household insurance) If you want to stay with your current insurance provider, see if they will reduce their rate to keep you.

    Tip: Your car’s value decreases every year. Your insurer won’t pay out more than the car’s current replacement value, so your premium should reduce accordingly. Most insurers don’t do this for you automatically. Create a reminder in your calendar and request a reduction each year.If you are still in the market to buy then look at these handy tips when budgeting to buy.

  2. Price check
    As you did with your insurance, get comparative quotes for other services such as your internet provider. If you find a better deal, see if your existing provider will match the rate. If they won’t, change providers. 

  3. Renegotiate your interest rate 
    If you are repaying a home loan and have a strong repayment track record, your bank or mortgage loan provider may be willing to reduce your interest rate. Not all banks will do this, and any reduction will based on your personal credit profile and situation, but it is worth enquiring about. If you are in the market to buy a home then look at these handy tips before buying.

  4. Review your phone contract 
    If you have a phone contract and it is up for renewal, don’t automatically renew with the same service provider. Compare all of the deals on offer. 

    Tip: When evaluating your contract options, give careful thought to the phone you select. Choosing a good but less expensive phone can save you a lot over the 24 months you pay it off. You might also consider keeping your current phone and switching to a month-to-month contract or going pay-as-you. This can save you money and allow you greater flexibility.

  5. Consolidate medical aid policies
    If you are married or in a long-term partnership, adding one partner to the other’s membership as a dependent could reduce the total cost of your monthly medical aid premiums. 

  6. Downgrade your car 
    If you are currently paying off a car, consider whether a cheaper model could serve your needs. This is a big step, but if you’ve over-spent on a car, downgrading to a less expensive car to reduce your payments could significantly change your future.

  7. Review your bank fees 
    Carefully review your banks fees over the last few months to see where your habits may be costing you unnecessarily. Read more about reducing your bank fees.

  8. Consider paying school fees annually 
    Find out if your children’s school offers a discount for paying school fees at the start of the year, at the start of each term. If the discount is more than 5%, it could be worth saving up for the full amount over the year or term before. However, if you are currently repaying debt at a higher interest than the discount, then pay off debt first and keep paying the school fees monthly. Read more about the cost of raising kids.

  9. Reduce your rent 
    If you can, consider downsizing, moving in with a friend or moving to a different area. This won’t be possible for everyone, but rent is always a cost worth revisiting and reviewing. 

    Tip: If you are up for a contract renewal, remember that in many parts of South Africa the rental market is currently in a slump. If you are a good tenant, this could put you in strong negotiating position with your landlord.

  10. Reduce your electricity bill 
    The major consumption guzzlers in most homes are geysers and electric heaters. The geyser alone is responsible for up to 40% of household monthly electricity bills. 

    Tip: Just lowering the thermostat on your geyser from 70ºC to 60ºC could reduce your monthly ill by 5%. For further savings, cover it with a geyser blanket to keep it insulated and keep it switched off during low-use periods (like during the day when you are out).

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