Take the sting out of the needs

There are indications that interest rates will slowly increase over the next few years, while the fuel price continues to climb at a steady rate. These two increases will have an impact on the amount you will pay for two important ‘needs’, housing and transport. So, what are some of the quick tricks you can implement in your monthly budget to reduce the costs associated with these important expenses?

Firstly, let’s explore what is a need. Needs are things that you pay for every month. An example is paying for housing, either rent or a bond. Other examples are transport, electricity, groceries, telephone, and data. These needs are essential for daily living, working, and moving around. What are the smart moves that you can make to manage these expenses and make some sound money management moves?

  • Home loan / Bond Payment

A quick trick is to ensure that your debit order is as close as possible to payday, then you know that it has been paid and you don’t need to worry about it anymore.

Remember that interest rates will start increasing over the next few years, so try to get used to paying the higher bond amount by paying extra into your bond now. A big advantage of doing this is that you will save on interest in the long run and get used to paying the higher amount as the rate hikes happen.


  • Transport

This is always a tough one. We are very dependent on fuel, and we have seen how the cost of petrol has increased over the last few months. So here are a few money management tips:

  • Do your grocery shopping once a month, avoid regular trips to stores. This will also save you money with unconscious spend (call it treats for yourself!).
  • To save fuel, drive carefully, avoid harsh acceleration and driving fast.
  • Service your car regularly and ensure that the tyres are properly inflated.
  • Try to work from home if your company allows it. If you do need to go to work, try to car-pool with some colleagues and avoid the traffic if you are able to.
  • Use your loyalty programme to pay for some of your fuel bill.


  • Groceries

Groceries are a major expense for all of us and it seems like it just ticks up every month. There are some smart moves that you can do to save some money.

  • Shop monthly for non-perishables.
  • Create a weekly menu, using the items you have in the cupboard and supplement with a few fresh items.
  • Watch out for popping in at a corner store to get one or two things, these are normally very expensive.
  • Look out for specials, you can maybe buy multiple items at better prices.


  • Electricity, airtime and data

While it may be easy to buy these in smaller amounts and it does not seem like a dent on the pocket, they can quickly add up to large amounts. If you buy R20 of airtime a day, it’s R140 a week or R560 per month. Rather look at your budget and see how much you want to spend on data and airtime, then look if it will not be cheaper to buy in larger amounts once off for more value. Alternatively, you can take out a contract.


The same applies with electricity. The first step is to determine how much electricity you use in a month, work on an average for about six months. Then buy the budgeted amount in the beginning of the month, this way you will reduce the effect of the step-up tariffs.  Also, if you buy smaller amounts it may seem like a little impact on your cashflow, but you may be affected by the step up that applies to electricity tariffs. Some quick ways to save on electricity:

  • Switching off lights when not needed.
  • Turn the geyser temperature to 55-60ºC.
  • Reduce reliance on tumble dryers.
  • If using a washing machine or dishwasher, only do a full load.
  • Match the size of a pot to the size of the stove plate.
  • Install an eco-friendly solution, such as solar.


These are just a few tips you can apply to stretch your cash while covering the basic needs.



Created by: Ester Ochse, CFP®

Product Head: FNB Money Management


Find a Financial Professional @ https://fpimymoney123.co.za/find-a-financial-planner/

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