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shrinking budget

You’ve Earned It looks at ways and means of dealing with a shrinking budget

We have been warned to brace ourselves for an interest rate hike. Inflation was worse than was forecast, and this deteriorating inflation can be attributed to a number of factors including the weak rand, the drought crisis and consequential rising food costs and possible electricity tariff hikes.

We are having to do much more with much less because of some of the factors mentioned above.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life says what they usually see during tough economic times is that people downsize or cut-back on some of their regular expenses to create more financial room.

“Unfortunately some people sacrifice in areas such as life or funeral insurance to boost their disposable income. This is NOT advisable because you forgo benefits when cancelling a policy, especially when you have been paying premiums for a number of years.

“Most policies have waiting periods and if you cancel and reapply you often start at zero. Additionally, whole life policies get cheaper over time for the policyholder and often, when you reapply you might get higher premiums. Even though cancelling your insurance may seem like the easiest option to take, it is a decision which should never be taken lightly.”

There are a number of ways to help you afford some of the things you should not do without.

Here are some of useful tips:

Bulk shopping for basic goods

Retailers always have special deals which could save you a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Try to buy basic goods that will last you at least two months. You’ll be amazed how much you could potentially save.

Dee Cornhill, 85, says with a chuckle that “she never buys green bananas”! However, YEI does think it is generally safe to buy for at least two months in advance!

Maximise loyalty schemes

Use store cards and rewards programmes offered by banks to your advantage. Try to accumulate as many points or discounts by being disciplined about where and how you shop. For instance, if you earn more points by using your bank card, do exactly that, consistently.

Make subtle lifestyle changes to save money

If you and your neighbour/s are able to plan to shop at the same time, why not travel in the same car and save on petrol. Take it in turns with your cars. Team up with friends in cars when going out for entertainment and share the petrol costs. Think of innovative ways to save on petrol which fit in with your circumstances.

Entertain at home

If you’re trying to pull in your belt to put money in your pocket, you may have to forfeit some luxuries that you have been used to, but you don’t have to forfeit the fun! Going out to have a good time or to enjoy a meal is habit for some people but reality is that you could do the same thing at home and save a lot of money. Bring and share suppers are becoming the norm in this country.

Always ask for the pensioner discount

Wherever and whenever you shop, go to a medical specialist, have a service done at a motor mechanics or a treatment with a beauty therapist (the list is endless!) – ask if they offer a pensioner discount or if they are prepared to consider giving you a pensioner discount for immediate payment. Don’t be embarrassed to ask! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! And assuming that most businesses will consider it, let us have their details so we can congratulate them on a wonderful initiative and propose that they advertise in the You’ve Earned It Directory for the benefit of other pensioners in that particular area.

Take advantage of the discounts and special offers on You’ve Earned It

We urge you to browse through the YEI Directory (click here to read the useful article on how to use the YEI Directory, and the benefits of browsing through the YEI Directory). The You’ve Earned It Directory gives its readers access to thousands of discounts, savings, special offers and great deals from a range of businesses throughout South Africa – from accommodation to wineries! So this is a wonderful place to save money, and support your local business!

“South Africa’s economy is predicted to remain fairly tough in the short term so it is important to make smart financial decisions until things improve. With better discipline and willingness to compromise, you can avoid being forced to make drastic financial decisions such as cancelling life or funeral insurance,” concludes Bromfield.

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