Save SA: How Mzansi is cutting back to survive the recession

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Whether it’s eating out less‚ homemade pet food‚ cancelling gym memberships or avoiding parking tickets‚ South Africans are cutting costs to survive the economic recession.

Image: iStock

In a Facebook post where friends were sharing their budget readjustment hacks since SA’s ratings downgrade‚ Enver Essop said he had stopped buying expensive cat food: “she eats what we eat”.

Barbara Friedman said she had to stop her satellite TV subscription‚ among other luxuries.

“No DStv‚ no hair highlights‚ no take away coffee‚ no new clothes‚ only vegan food‚ no spontaneous purchases‚ cut down insurance to minimum‚ no more gym membership‚ no new books‚ and the list goes on and on and on – don’t really drink much booze anyway…but still buy decent coffee for home and the dogs are still on doggobone‚” she commented.

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For Nina Callaghan‚ making homemade dog food is the way to go. Her ingredients include cheaper turkey meat‚ chicken necks‚ chicken liver‚ spirulina supplements‚ peas‚ carrots‚ beetroot pulp and rice.

“Eating animals only two days a week; restaurant outings for a family of five down to 1 a month; taking public transport to work when I can manage during week; homemade dog food; less craft beer home stock…the latter proved the hardest!! oh…and sticking to the speed limit‚” she shared.

Some are investing in their property over their retirement annuity.

“… basically my retirement annuity was making very little money (because of politics‚ economic downgrade etc) plus I was being whacked with charges. So I decided to stop paying more money into it and rather pay that amount extra into my home loan where I pay no charges and score better interest‚” said Gill Gifford.

Amanda Hawker had many saving hacks to share.

“I buy a box of cereal‚ 30 eggs and a couple of cans of tuna and keep them in the office for breakfast and lunch while at work. Mainly buy no-name brand items. Lentils and chickpeas are an awesome meat substitute.

“Pick n Pay Smart Shopper points have saved me a number of times. Switched to Telkom Free Me Prepaid bundles and use that for browsing‚ downloading & social media. You get free minutes‚ free sms bundles and free voice calls as part of the package‚” said Hawker.

Most people are cutting out gym memberships.

Thami Oliphant‚ a personal trainer‚ said his industry had seen a decline.

“Though gyms have tried to introduce packages inclusive of a personal trainer‚ it’s still expensive for people to take up such packages. Or sometimes they simply hate the idea of being in groups. Since at least four years ago I have noticed a major decrease in the number of people who stick around with a trainer for long‚” said Oliphant.

“Most of my clients are older people as they have urgent health considerations and‚ because of the lifestyle they are accustomed to‚ they can afford a personal trainer. The opposite is true about young professionals as they sometimes have just started jobs and cannot afford the services.”

Kuben Chetty‚ head of transactional savings & investments at Standard Bank‚ said that saving was a transferrable skill‚ and that people must learn to differentiate between a need and a want.

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“In order to survive the economic climate‚ people need discipline around setting up a budget when one starts working. Challenge whether what you spend money on is a need or want. Key is to track your spend and there are plenty of budget apps that can help‚” said Chetty.

Chetty suggests that if you work for a corporate‚ you should become familiar with your company pension or provident scheme.

“It may seem tedious to work through the documents that the HR department may hand you‚ but ignoring how your company plan works may cost you money. For example‚ if you buy a house‚ banks may require you to have life insurance. You may already be paying for cover through your company‚ but by not knowing this‚ you may invest in another policy you don’t need‚” he added.

In June Stats SA announced that the country had hit a technical recession after the economy shrank by 0.7% in the first quarter.

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