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Times are getting tougher financially for many people and it can be hard to make ends meet during this stressful time, these are some ways to cut your costs.


South Africa (12 May 2020) – Many South Africans have been left unemployed by the lockdown or facing having to live on a reduced salary. Things are quite stressful, so we did a quick brainstorm on how to reduce some of your living costs to get through this time.

These are just a few of the ways one can reduce costs and keep busy at the same time.

DIY projects

Homemade firelighters – As it gets colder or just if you enjoy a braai, the use of firelighters increases. These can be very expensive. Save your teabags, dry them outdoors in the sun and then coat them in melted candle wax. This makes them flammable and a great alternative to having to buy the chemical-based firelighters.

Homemade compost and planting from scraps – Scraps like leeks, carrots, celery, spring onion and beetroot easily regrow. They can be used to add flavour and greens to meals. If you place the scraps in water, they will resprout. Carrots and Beetroot won’t really resprout an entire vegetable, but their greens are very nutritious. Carrot greens can be used in soups like parsley, and beetroot greens can be cooked like spinach or eaten raw.

Whatever scraps you have in the kitchen, peels, eggshells, coffee grounds and more, use them to create a compost pile. To avoid smells and rodents, layer with grass clippings, dried leaves, shredded newspaper (the black and white kind not the glossy inserts) and any other garden waste. Turn it every week, and after 4 to 6 weeks, you will have fresh homemade compost for your garden.

Growing your own food at home massively reduces your grocery bill, so consider that as well.

Mend old clothing – Time seems to be in abundance these days, so when I unpacked my winter clothing, I decided to mend a hole that was in a jersey from last season. Now I can wear it, and it is as good as new. Patch old jeans and jackets to give them new life. You can rejuvenate your wardrobe with very little skill required.

Cook from Scratch

We have been cooking from scratch more at home. A bag of regular cake flour has endless options. We have made naan bread, roti, wraps, scones, muffins, bread, cakes, slurries for sauces, dumplings and so much more.

The trick to making food go further is to bulk up meals. Feeding a family of four, add a side of bread, dumplings or wraps.  Thankfully, it is getting colder, so it is easier to make soups and stews that are bulked up by grains or filling vegetables. This makes feeding a family much cheaper.

Also, dropping meat from more meals helps save money. Cooking vegetable-based soups, curries and stews can keep costs lower too.

Reduce water and electricity bills.

You may be stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean you have to use electricity all day long. Challenge your family to read books, build puzzles or play board games. Do more of the tasks you can do without electricity. Get out into the garden. In the evenings, switch off lights that do not need to be used. Reduce the number of electrical devices running by having mandatory family time in one room, again play games or have a family movie night.

Save water by reducing the amount you shower, if you are staying home, washing once a day and shortening your shower time is just fine. Also, flush the toilet less, as they say, if it’s yellow let it mellow!

Reduce unnecessary spending.

Shopping smart should be the new normal. As you have more time on your hands, plan meals and write up grocery lists for only the items you need. Be strict and only buy the items on your list. Buy freezer bags and freeze leftovers, especially if you make bulk soups. It will save you time in the future, and your electricity bill will be reduced.

Top Tip: Knowing the layout of your local grocery store, list your groceries in order of your route so that you will avoid isles that are too tempting also save time on walking around in public.

Go through your closet and see what clothing you have, if you have enough warm items that can withstand keeping you warm at home, they don’t need to be pretty, then skip stocking up on winter clothing this year. As we can’t leave home, a jersey a few holes will get you through and save you R300 to R500.

Cancel some payments but not all!

Cancel unnecessary expenses, if you have apps that require reoccurring payments and they are not essential, cancel them until finances stabilise. Music, video and TV, or dating apps are not important now and having many low-cost apps actually adds up. Pick one entertainment one and shed the rest.

Besides the cost of data or wifi, YouTube is a free resource and can be used for entertainment. You can watch videos of every variety from live game drives, gardening classes to music and cooking channels. You can even watch people cleaning and organising their houses for your own chore-list inspiration.

Do not cancel any forms of insurance, keep paying medical and household insurances in case of emergencies. The last thing you need is to be left to cover full medical costs because you cancelled medical aid. It is tough we know, but essential!

How are you saving money and cutting during this time? Let us know your tips in the comment section.

Sources: Good Things Guy
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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