The past year’s escalating fuel, food and electricity prices have caused havoc in many households, with the trend expected to continue in 2022, as producers and others in the supply chain pass on their business costs to consumers.
Even with retained jobs and salary increases, people will still struggle to keep up with the increased living costs.
Fuel prices have increased by almost R6 per litre from January to December in 2021. A basket of common household foods cost 6.3% more in November last year than in November 2020. Cooking oil’s price has increased by 27%, eggs by 15%, beef by 15% and margarine by 10%.
If you haven’t been able to go off-grid by now, the news of NERSA approving an Eskom electricity increase of 15.63% for 2021 would probably have hit hard. Price increases have even pushed new entry-level vehicle prices over the R300 000 price point.
Hence, it has now become more important than ever to plan ahead and draw up a budget if you want to keep your head above water. Here are eight ways in which you can maximise your money in the new year:
Be clever with your car
- Service your vehicles regularly, ensure that the wheel alignment is on point and that your tyres are correctly inflated.
- Consider making use of a loyalty programme and earn points for every litre of fuel you purchase. You can earn points at BP fuel stations with a Pick ’n Pay SmartShopper card for instance.
- Accelerate gently and drive at a steady speed.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry, as that will encourage impulse buying.
- Switch to less expensive brands and don’t forget to compare prices.
- Keep in mind that grocery stores will always pack their most profitable items at eye level, so look around when you go grocery shopping.
Banking in 2022
- Stick to your banking network’s ATMs to save on withdrawal charges.
- Use your banking app – it will save a lot of time and money.
- Try to increase your monthly repayments on your home loan in order to reduce the term and the amount of interest you pay.
- Avoid drawing cash unnecessarily.
- Choose the right account type for your specific needs.
- As things become more digital on a daily basis, data plays a huge role in our day-to-day expenditures. Use Wi-Fi whenever and wherever possible at secure, legitimate sources.
- Disable automatic app refreshing and update apps over Wi-Fi only.
- Look for data-saving options in app settings.
- Take short showers and use an energy- and water-saving showerheads to reduce the amount of water that needs to be heated up.
- Use colder water settings on your washing machine and dishwasher.
- Choose energy-efficient heaters and light bulbs.
- Turn down your geyser’s thermostat.
- Relook your current medical aid plan to ensure that it’s still relevant to your needs and make use of all its benefits. Many medical aids offer annual dental and other benefits.
- Use hospitals and pharmacies in your medical aid’s approved network.
- If you have a fitness tracker, connect it with your medical aid scheme to collect points for your fitness.
Money for insurance
- This time of the year might be a good time to obtain a couple of new insurance quotes. Keep in mind, though, that the cheapest is not necessarily the best, so choose carefully. Read the terms and conditions to ensure that you are adequately covered in case of a robbery or loss.
- If you now drive less than 10 000 kilometres per year due to working from home, you are probably eligible for lower premiums.
- Check what you are paying monthly, but no longer using like music subscriptions, gym fees, and editing apps.
- Shop weekly and cut back on ordering in.
- Spend time in nature, gain free access to books and magazines at local libraries and online, and look out for special offers. You can find various deals on JustMoney’s website – from spa treatments to banking and dining out.
Examining your finances and putting some realistic goals in place for 2022 will help you prepare for the inevitable challenges and changes that the new year might bring.