6 ways your family can save money in SA


Finance minister Pravin Gordhan's Budget Speech today is set to announce tax increases that will affect every one of us. With our pockets already slim and the belt growing ever tighter, making ends meet is a challenge. 

We asked you how you manage to cut costs and had some really innovative replies.

1. Downscale your house

Wow, that's extreme, right? You didn't expect us to go there first. But that's what mom Paula and her family are doing. 

She added: "We're tired of being slaves to our mortgage and are desperate for some breathing room financially. I've lost count of the number of times my husband has come home since the beginning of the year and said, 'Another one of our suppliers has gone out of business.' It's hectic out there."

If you live in a neighbourhood where rental potential is high, and you are in the position to keep your house and let it out while buying or renting a smaller place closer to work and school, you'd be in an even better position in a few years' time. 

Another dad agreed:

2. Switch to water, cut the junk

Many families regularly enjoy fizzy cool drinks at dinner. Not only will the sugar tax make these sodas even more pricey, but they're super bad for your family's health if you have some every day. Once our family made the switch from a so-called 100% pure juice to just water, our girls got used to it pretty quickly. 

Mom and dad, cutting back that one glass of wine per day to two or three a week, and quitting smoking would also free up lots of grocery money. 

And if you're a lazy cook, grabbing a pizza or takeaway burgers twice a week, you can save a pretty penny in the long run. Your doctor's and dentist's bill will be smaller too!

3. Switching schools or homeschooling

Although you still need to buy the curriculum, text books and learning aids, which could be pricey, you could pick these up second hand if you join a group of fellow homeschoolers. Just know what you're getting yourself into, because our children's education isn't something to dabble with. You need patience, support and endurance. But you can do it!

Of course, not all school fees are equal. If you need to, take your child to a more affordable school or at least one closer to home so you can save on travel expenses.

4. Second hand is okay

We often hear parents saying they want to give their kids everything they didn't have growing up. We live in a society where we're continuously looking up at those above us financially, aspiring to giving our kids whatever their friends at school have. Michele Hutchison, co-author of The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up children the Dutch Way, explains life in the Netherlands as one where second-hand toys are the norm. There's no anxiety to aspire to the latest, the newest, the blingest. Kids are taught to be happy with what they have, not because of what they have.  

Many if not most schools sell or give away second-hand uniforms. Considering how quickly our kids grow, there's absolutely no shame in trading in too-small clothes for second-hand bigger ones!

5. Grow it yourself

Not only can you save a packet if you grow your own food and bake your own bread, but if things are going really well, you can also sell veggies and baked goods for an additional income. Don't be discouraged if your cucumbers don't make it in the windy conditions or your tomatoes don't like water restrictions. Try again: plant new cucumbers in a different part of the garden and try again with the veggies, using every saved drop in the house, even if it's the rinse water of your dishes. 

6. Reduce your bills

Read your water and electricity bills every month and see if you can make savings. Since water restrictions came into play in Cape Town, many people are reading their water usage stats for the first time in many years, and actively try to reduce the amount of water their households use. The savings are good on the pocket too.

In which ways do you save money? Have you started cutting back yet? Send us your saving tips and we may publish them! chatback@parent24.com

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