Households were urged to review their long-term and short-term household budgets to generate savings during the pandemic.
The relatively high cost of living and the possibility of an increase in interest rates in the short-term will require consumers to review their household budgets to generate savings. However, small, gradual changes in how you manage your day-to-day spending and how you think about money can free up some cashflow to save.
Ester Ochse, product head at FNB Money Management, explained: “Households are already stretched with the ongoing lockdown and intermittent business operations in some sectors.
“There’s also been unrests in economic hubs like KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng where some consumers may come under financial pressure and are now under increased pressure. Despite the difficult times, consumers need to look at how they should spend and where they can save money. An understanding of your basic household needs could help eliminate unnecessary spending.”
According to FNB economist Koketso Mano, “After accelerating to 5.2% y/y in May, consumer price inflation eased to 4.9% in June. The pace of housing inflation is faster than anticipated with food inflation remaining elevated. Despite of the risks to the upside, we expect headline inflation to continue slowing for the remainder of this year, as fuel and food inflation moderate from recent highs and core inflation remains benign.”
Ochse highlighted four areas on how you can save during these challenging times
International Travel/holidays: the pandemic has restricted travel with stringent requirements where it is allowed. While your travel luggage may be collecting dust, your holiday budget should be growing. Following the ease of interprovincial travel, you can also explore local tourism or travelling within your province or South Africa with some of your holiday budgets.
Entertainment: with places of entertainment including restaurant dining restricted to prevent the increase in Covid-19 cases, many consumers may choose to stay at home. Get the family involved in cooking at home, which will be a dual purpose of entertainment for the children and saving money.
Clothing/footwear: look at items you can use at home and the office. The dual-purpose outfits will help you save a few rands and keep you stylish at the same time. You can pick up bargains with the recent online sales.
Fuel: given the lockdown restrictions and work-from-home options, Ochse advised you add your monthly travel or petrol budget into a savings account. This can be accessed at a later stage or can be used for emergencies.
Ochse added: “Consumers should consider using points earned through rewards programmes like eBucks as an alternative when purchasing food or fuel instead of using cash which could help you save a bit more. The freed-up cashflow can then be added to savings or paying off debt.
“In addition, the unchanged interest rate by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) offers consumers the option of balancing and reducing their debt or saving for an emergency. The SARB also forecasted we are likely to see interest rates rising from the last quarter of 2021, consumers are advised to factor this for future expenses.”
Pivotal to this is managing your monthly budget and sticking to your short- and long-term goals,” concluded Ochse.
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