Since the start of 2016, consumers have been spending a lot more, after being hit with one price increase after the next. It has become glaringly evident that we all need to learn how to make every rand earned stretch and we need to do this ASAP.

One of the simplest ways to make ends meet every month is to, of course, reduce expenses. Here is a list of 10 spending don’ts that will allow you to cut back and close the hole in your wallet.

1.    Don’t Shop on a Whim

Impulsive shopping leads to wasteful spending. Going to the supermarket without a list of essential items is a recipe for disaster. If you walk into a shop not knowing what you are there for, you will end up buying inessentials and wasting a lot of money. When you go there knowing what you need, you can focus your attention on finding the best prices.

Write down exactly what you need, take the shopping list with you and tick off items as you go. Get only what’s on the list and be sure you not to go shopping while you’re hungry, as this leads to unnecessary snack purchases. Don’t rush it, consider all of your options and pick the most cost-effective choices.


2.    Don’t Waste Money on ATM Fees

Debit cards can be used at most shops these days, so don’t draw cash if you don’t need to. Of course, there will always be times when you will need cash. In such cases, be sure to use your bank’s ATM, so you aren’t charged extra.

The best thing to do is to make a big withdrawal to cover all of your monthly cash requirements. Just be sure not carry lots of cash on your person, as this will make you a target for muggers. Rather find a secure spot to store it safely at home and only take what you need, when you need it.


3.    Don’t Waste Money on Subscriptions

Are you actually making good use of your subscriptions and contracts? Are you aware of what you are subscribed to and spending money on? The only way to know is to check your bank statements to see what you are really spending on subscriptions and contracts.

Don’t hesitate to cancel any subscriptions or contracts that are unnecessary or that you aren’t really using. If you aren’t able to cancel, you can always sell your subscriptions or contracts at a discounted rate.


4.    Don’t Let Food Spoil

You would never throw cash away, but how often do you throw away spoiled food, like vegetables, dairy, fruit, you name it. You need to base your purchases on specific planned meals, so you are certain all of your fresh produce will be eaten before it spoils. All it takes is a bit of planning. And be sure to freeze your leftovers. Cooking and freezing food to defrost and enjoy another day is a great way to ensure not a bite goes to waste.


5.    Don’t Spend Money on What’s Already Free

Yes, filter coffee may taste great when brewed by a barista, but if you can get free cuppas at work all day, you really should not be wasting money on this. The same applies to water. Just buying one bottled water and one filter coffee weekly will amount to between R1500 – R2 000 yearly.

Often, finding your way out of financial trouble isn’t as simple as changing bad spending habits. Help With Debt can provide you with immediate debt relief and guide you towards financial freedom.


6.    Don’t be Embarrassed to use Coupons

Yes, it can be a bit awkward holding up the customers behind you, as you get all of your coupons out of your bag and scanned. Thankfully, technology has streamlined the process, so it’s fast and simple to take advantage of cash-back apps and loyalty cards.

But, most of the time it’s not so much about embarrassment, as it is about actually remembering to capitalise on the many ways you can get discounts on purchases these days. Being vigilant about getting your loyalty cards swiped and making use of slips offering discounts really pays.

The best way to remember these things is to plan your shopping trips, ensuring you have your cards, slips, bags and all before hitting the store.


7.    Don’t Buy Ready-made Meals or Take-aways often

Of course, a take-away or ready-made meal here or there can be very convenient. But, if you only eat ready-made meals or get take-aways frequently, you are throwing money away. Cooking nutritious meals using fresh ingredients always costs less and is far better for your family’s health.

By planning and sticking to a list, you can save lots of money on food expenses. To save time, prepare and freeze meals over the weekend, then just heat them up on week nights – quick, easy and cost-effective!


8.    Don’t Buy New Containers if Refills are Available

You don’t need to keep buying containers of coffee, dish-washing liquid, spices etc. when you could be saving a lot of money by buying refills instead. Not only will it cost you less, but you will be sparing the environment all of that plastic. Hold onto containers, and when they run out – just top them up with bulk refills. Then watch the rands roll back in!


9.    Don’t Waste Electricity

With electricity tariffs rising, it’s essential to gauge your power usage and consider ways of cutting back. You can waste a lot of power just by leaving lights burning, not using energy-saving bulbs, leaving chargers plugged in or appliances switched on.

Turning your geyser on only for an hour, instead of leaving it on all day can cut down your power bill considerably. Otherwise, it’s a matter of getting in the habit of ensuring all chargers are unplugged and appliances are switched off when not in use.


10. Don’t Live Off Credit

Living off of credit is an expensive lifestyle indeed, as you are wasting lots of money on interest every month. Then, just to keep up with one credit card, you find yourself needing another! It’s a vicious cycle. Tackling debt is the best way to take home more money every month. If you are struggling with your debt repayments, stop the cycle and contact Help With Debt today.