Tips To Eat Healthy On A Budget In South Africa

It’s expensive to eat healthy on a budget right? Wrong! It is entirely possible to follow a healthy diet even on a tight budget. With a little bit of planning and by following these tips below, you and your family will get all the nutrition you need without breaking the bank.

Skip the meat

Curbing your appetite for red meat is a sure way to cut your grocery bill since red meat in South Africa is an expensive luxury. Chicken, eggs, nuts and beans are protein sources that are cheaper and also much healthier.

Ever heard of meatless Monday? Why not consider having one (or two) meatless meals per week and experiment with vegetarian options. Vegetable proteins like beans and lentils are inexpensive, easy to prepare, nutritious and also taste good.

Never buy processed and tinned meats like polony and viennas. They are expensive and high in sodium and fat which makes them unhealthy. Rather opt for tinned fish or left over chicken for salads and sandwiches.

Buy produce in season and in bulk

If you want to eat a healthy diet, don’t cut down on your fruit and veg intake. Make sure you get your 5 – 7 portions a day by buying what’s in season. When buying in season, you’ll find fruit and veg to be much cheaper, and they taste better as well.

Another way to save money is to buy fresh produce in bulk from the market and share with friends or family.

Steer clear of canned fruit and vegetables since they tend to be more expensive, and they often have a high sugar content.

Prepare and cook your food

Homemade food is much cheaper and healthier than ready made meals and takeaways. Plan your week’s menu in advance and buy accordingly so you can take advantage of weekly specials.

By making a shopping list, it will help you to avoid unnecessary items. Another thing to keep in mind is never to go grocery shopping when you are hungry as you are more likely to stray from your shopping list.

By using unprocessed products, you can save money as well. Pre-prepared items such as cut veggies and grated cheese are often more expensive. Buying a whole chicken will also save you money since it’s cheaper per kilogram. You can easily cut it into pieces yourself.

Start a veggie garden

Starting a vegetable garden is an excellent way to grow healthy produce and save money when shopping. You don’t need to have a lot of space since Tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, peppers and fresh herbs grow particularly well in containers.

With these tips, you will be able not only to eat healthily but save money while you’re at it.

Struggling With Debt Repayments? Here’s Why You Should Consider Debt Counselling.

According to statistics, South Africans spend an unbelievable 76% of our monthly income on repaying debt. This leaves a mere 24% of our earnings for other expenses. Life is getting more expensive every month with rising petrol and food prices, and it’s clear that South Africa is in a debt dilemma.

It comes to no surprise with the amount of debt South Africans are in that we’re failing to pay it back. Unfortunately, in order to keep up a certain lifestyle, people tend to take out loan after loan, which then becomes unmanageable and before long they start missing payments. Not knowing what to do, people avoid phone calls from lenders, legal action is taken, and they are ultimately blacklisted.

If this is you, considering Debt Counselling might benefit you greatly.

The Advantages

One of the primary benefits is that you don’t have to negotiate with the creditors yourself. A debt counsellor will do the negotiating on your behalf and settle on a repayment you can afford.

By going this route, debt counsellors advise the credit bureaus that you have applied for debt review and your profile will be updated. This means you will no longer have to deal will creditors phoning you non-stop and pursuing you with summons and judgements, which negatively affect your credit rating

The Consequences

You will have to pay a once-off upfront fee as well as monthly after-care fees. These fees are included within your monthly instalment, meaning if you can afford a certain amount, these fees will be calculated within the agreed amount. So no extra fees after you have agreed on an amount.

Once you start with debt review, it isn’t easy to withdraw, and you’ll need a court order stating you are no longer over-indebted or you’ll be required to settle all outstanding debt. Additionally, there will be a withdrawal fee payable to the debt consultant before a clearance certificate can be issued.

Clients can’t apply for any further debt while under debt review, so they won’t be able to use any of their credit cards, store cards or overdraft facilities. But this also aids in the fact of debt rehabilitation, being taught again to work with your cash flow and not to be used to swipe a credit card or other credit facility anymore.

What alternatives are available other than debt review?

An alternative is to change your lifestyle, but it’s one that customers are often not willing to consider. By selling additional transferable assets, cutting down on luxury spending, as well as budgeting effectively, you will be able to pay off some debt if not all in a short timeframe. This will also help prevent the same financial problems from occurring in the future.

In most cases, going through debt review is a practical way of getting back control of your finances. Which ever option you choose, remember that getting out of debt is never a short term endeavour and will need total commitment to succeed.

11 Tips On Raising A Baby On A Budget

Having a baby can turn your life upside down. There is nothing better than holding your baby for the first time and realising that they depend on you for everything. What you will soon find out though, is that “everything” can be expensive.

To avoid getting into (further) debt, follow these tips to save money while raising your baby:

Buy secondhand

Baby equipment is really expensive! By purchasing quality second-hand prams, cots and other gear, you will save at least 50% of what you would have paid new.

Don’t buy diapers too far in advance

First off, you won’t know which brand will work best with your baby and second, they outgrow them way too fast to stock up diapers months in advance. Another option is to use cloth diapers. Not only is it more affordable but good for the environment as well.

Breastfeed as long as possible (if you can)

It is no secret that breast milk costs nothing and formula can set you back quite a bit. If it is at all possible, try and breastfeed for as long as you can to save those extra bucks.

Make your own baby food

As soon as your infant starts eating solid foods, put some cooked veggies in the blender with a little bit of water and freeze meals in small containers. The money you will save makes it worth the extra effort.

Don’t buy expensive toys

Your baby doesn’t know how much their toys cost and will probably be more content playing with spoons, pans, and cardboard boxes.

Don’t waste money on a changing table

Instead, put a changing pad on top of your dresser and add a few shelves for storage.

Don’t buy baby clothes too far in advance

As with the diapers, they might outgrow them even before they’ve had a chance to wear them.

Choose unisex shades and styles

If you plan on having more than one child and would like to reuse some of the items, it’s best to buy gender neutral clothing and gear.

Wipe warmers are a waste of money

These do not affect how babies respond to late-night diaper changes; they are unhappy either way. Plus, a wipe warmer often dry out the wipes.

Don’t bother with a baby bathtub

A bathtub can be useful during the first month or two until they outgrow it. You can give your baby a perfect bath in any tub or well-cleaned sink as long as you support them carefully while cleaning.

Say no to baby shoes

Baby shoes are cute but expensive. Once your baby starts to walk, shoes can be useful, but before that, they serve no purpose at all.

Having a baby is one of the most magical experiences you can have but also one of the most expensive. It doesn’t help that many companies out there prey on the anxieties and worries of new parents who just want to take good care of their children.

The best thing you can do for your baby is to give them love and take care of their needs. You don’t have to break the bank when having a baby; it is entirely possible to raise a baby on a budget.

7 Reasons You Should Save Up An Emergency Fund

Many people think an emergency fund is a waste of time and money but no matter how prepared you are financially, life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you expected the least. It’s because of those unexpected expenses that many financial advisers suggest keeping at least three months of expenses saved up somewhere in a savings account.

Losing your job

Job loss is the number one reason to have an emergency fund. If you lose your job and struggle to find another one quickly, it could be detrimental. But with an emergency fund, you could live off your savings until you find another job and you don’t have to go for the first company willing to hire, you can find a job that suits you.

Medical emergencies

Even if you have a medical aid, a trip to the emergency room can create severe financial stress. There are always co-payments that the medical aid doesn’t cover even when it comes to planned surgery or dental work.

Emergency pet care

Your pet is part of the family, and you can easily accommodate regular expenses of pet ownership. But what happens when you have to pay thousands of Rands if your cat or dog needed surgery? Would you be able to cover the expenses from your monthly budget? Not many people can afford emergency pet care and to put down a pet for no good reason isn’t an option.

Vehicle repairs

With the condition some of our roads are in, flat tyres are an everyday thing. Also, cars break and need to be fixed and what’s worse than a surprise car repair bill? With a sufficient emergency fund, you wouldn’t have to stress about it, and you could even afford a temporary rental car.

Home repairs

Burst geyser? You have insurance to cover the significant expenses, but insurance doesn’t cover everything that could go wrong.  And even if it does, there will always be a copayment.

Unplanned Pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancies happen all the time, and with an emergency fund, you’ll be in a position to prepare for your new baby as well as cover the bills if your job doesn’t offer paid parental leave.

Death in the Family

When a close relative or friend passes away in another part of the country, an unplanned trip to the funeral can be extremely costly. Not only will you have to pay airfare or petrol expenses but you might also need to pay for accommodation during your stay.

All of these things can cause an otherwise stable financial situation to quickly collapse into chaos, forcing you to use your credit cards.

Much of this can be minimised by simply maintaining a cash emergency fund. And when you’ve used some of the funds, make sure you put it back.

Trying To Get Out Of Debt: Why It’s Better To Buy A Used Car Than A New One

Next to a home, a car may be the regular person’s biggest source of debt. Very few of us live within walking distance from our place of work, and if we do, it may not be safe. In today’s society, a dependable vehicle is a basic need. However, in case you are already in financial trouble, it makes sense that you assess whether you can afford that shiny new car, or should instead make your way to the used cars division.

Everybody wants to drive a brand new car; however, it is imperative to understand that a car is not an asset. Should you be in debt already, you can’t allow yourself to be misled because can afford the monthly repayment on a new car. You will have to think long-term, and don’t overlook the hidden expenses.

Below are five things to consider when buying your next car:

  1. Second-hand cars are cheaper

You will have to look far and wide to find a brand new car less expensive than a second-hand one with the same features. You might not be able to pay for that new luxury car you’ve dreamed about, but one that’s a couple of years old might suit your budget.

  1. A vehicle depreciates in value

A new car will lose about 20 to 25% of its value the moment you drive it out of the dealer’s yard. According to studies, your car will lose nearly 70% of its value after five years.

  1. Reducing insurance costs

The primary element in determining the fee for vehicle insurance is the value of the car. Since a used car has significantly less value compared to the more recent version, the expense of insurance will be less.

  1. New cars are nice but expensive

Purchasing a new car is not automatically the best option. The latest statistics reveal that 35% of car buyers sign up for a 60 – 72-month loan at an average interest rate of 10%. New car buyers usually don’t think about the bigger expenses coupled with buying a brand new car.

  1. Remember the real cost of car ownership

A car creates several expenses and obligations as time passes. Ownership fees consist of repairs and maintenance, loan repayments, fuel and insurance payments. These will have a substantial impact on your monthly finances.

Think about what you could do with the money you will have spent on your new car every month. If you get into the habit of buying a new car every few years, you are not making sound financial decisions. Even though it may feel great to impress friends and family or travel in style, wasting funds on a new car is a sure way to retire penniless.

If you wish to become free of debt, instead choose a reliable second-hand car.

Stay Out Of Debt: Buy Second Hand

Most people are aware that purchasing a new car is a terrible financial decision. Buying a used car provides considerable long-term savings. But are you mindful of the fact that there is a growing number of individuals that attempt to buy everything used? Or maybe not everything, but at least whenever possible.

In today’s difficult financial times, everyone is trying to make ends meet and buying second hand can increase your savings and help your money go further.

Not only will you save money but you will assist the environment. Buying used items decrease manufacturing demands while keeping more goods out of the landfill! Since a great deal of man-made things are consistently disposed of, re-using provides a longer life for everyday household items another family could use, thus saving the Earth as a result.

Second-hand products are typically associated with bad quality, which is not the scenario at reputable merchants. There is simply no need to buy everything brand new. If you wish to save some money, take into consideration thrift stores, consignment stores, used booksellers, etc. You should be cautious of falling into the trap of getting more than you need since the items are so inexpensive, or you might not be doing yourself a favour after all.

Things you should buy second hand:

Furniture

Used doesn’t have to mean ugly or worn out. With how often people move or just change their minds after a purchase, second-hand furniture stores have an excess of high-quality couches, tables, electronics, and even cheap baby furniture.

Cars

Buying a used car is a much wiser choice than buying new. If you purchase a vehicle that’s a couple of years old, it will still depreciate, but you’ll lose less money less rapidly. And you’ll avoid that big initial depreciation strike the previous owner took.

Sports Equipment

If you’re planning to go ski for the first time, it doesn’t seem sensible to purchase a new pair of skis. When you or your kid is taking part in a new sport, consider buying used gear first.

Books

Unless you intend to display the book on your coffee table or purchasing it as part of a collection you plan to preserve for a long time; you don’t have to pay more just to be the first person to read the book.

Musical Instruments

Children frequently take on musical instruments for only a year or two at a time, which suggests secondhand options are plentiful, and you won’t want to spend money on something new unless they are ready for a serious commitment.

Make sure to only shop at reputable stores that can guarantee high-quality products. An excellent second-hand retailer should have systems in place to ensure that the goods you buy are not defective; otherwise, your intended saving could end up becoming a waste of funds.

Throughout the course of a year, you’ll save hundreds if not thousands of Rands, resulting in a budget surplus you can either put towards your emergency fund or treat yourself and loved

Filing Your Tax Return The Right Way To Avoid Costly Mistakes.

Ever wondered why exactly you need to file a tax return? Should you earn below R350 000, you don’t have to file a tax return, but keep in mind; you can’t receive a tax refund when you don’t. Below are things to remember when submitting your tax return:

How do you get a tax refund?

Every month, you are taxed on the amount of money you earned in that month. Should the amount you get vary, you might pay tax at an increased rate for that month. At the financial year end, you will have to ensure that you paid tax at the appropriate rate for your annual total. Therefore, you may need to pay money back to SARS or receive a refund. Also, several expenses are “tax deductible”, consequently the amount you spend on them is subtracted from your total taxed earnings. For instance, healthcare contributions and retirement annuities.

Register for eFiling

A lot of individuals are still submitting their tax return manually thus losing out on the advantages of SARS eFiling. It allows you to submit your documents in an eco-friendly manner, steer clear of long lines at the SARS offices and help with getting your documents processed quicker.

Don’t neglect to submit your tax returns

It’s easy to forget to file your tax return every so often. However, you should not make a habit of it. Not filing a tax return when due and not paying money you owe are considered a criminal offence in South Africa. If you neglect to pay your taxes, SARS can collect what you owe in several ways or issue a judgement to get you blacklisted.

Ensure that there are no mistakes on your tax return

SARS audits people randomly; therefore, you need to make sure you don’t participate in any potentially illegal or high-risk projects, and your tax returns are error free. You have to have the appropriate paperwork and legal evidence for each claim you make; including supporting documentation, expense slips, logbooks and contribution certificates for medical aid, retirement annuity, etc.

Beware of the due date

SARS opened tax season for individuals on 1 July 2017. Non-provisional taxpayers making use of eFiling need to file their returns by 24 November 2017 while provisional taxpayers using eFiling need to file their tax returns by 31 January 2018. Non-provisional and provisional taxpayers who choose to file their return manually will need to submit it via post or at your nearest SARS branch drop box by 27 September 2017.

Employ help if you can’t do it yourself

If you are incapable of preparing all your documents or you don’t know how to review your finances, get a tax specialist or a financial advisor to assist you with your tax returns.

Watch out for scams

Sadly, fraudsters are becoming incredibly innovative, and it is now popular for taxpayers to receive emails which state they are from SARS, informing you of a tax refund due, and asking for your banking details to process the payment. Visit the SARS website for current information about any new scams, but be aware that SARS will not require your banking details via email or SMS.

5 Ways To Make Saving Money Fun And Empowering

Everyone knows we’re supposed to save money for emergency situations, so we can make big purchases without using a credit card, as well as retirement. Saving money doesn’t usually feel fun or glamorous, but there are some ways to make it more enjoyable. Here are five tips to make saving feel fun and empowering:

  1. Visualise your saving goals

You can easily do this by linking an image or even a title to your saving targets.  Get a picture of your objective and place it somewhere you will consistently notice it and stay determined. Having your financial goal showcased in front of you will make it more real. Also, it’s good to have a regular reminder of what you are working towards.

  1. Have fun frugally

Who said having fun needs to be expensive? There are plenty of ways to enjoy your life while staying on a realistic budget. In fact, many of the great ways to have fun are free or affordable.

  • Go to the library.
  • Head outdoors for a bike ride or go hiking
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Look for free attractions in your area like museums, concerts and more
  • Take advantage of happy hour and two for one meal deals
  1. Think of your money as Power and Security

Rather than looking at funds, you save as only a number, or as currency, you can use to go shopping, consider money a means to get and stay out of trouble. The more savings you have, the more invincible you will become. You are a different and stronger individual when you have a backup available in savings. Even a little bit of funds can have this impact.

  1. Compete with others

If you are the competitive type, make saving a challenge between you and someone else. You can turn it into a fun challenge between your friends, family members, or coworkers. You can compete with others to determine who can save the most money, who can go the longest time without purchasing a particular item, who will settle debt first, and even more.

  1. Engage in a no spending challenge

To many people, a no spending challenge is probably not the most enjoyable thing in the world. Nonetheless, it can be an effective way to allow your creative side to emerge since you will need to make use of what you currently have.

Additionally, there are several games and applications designed to assist you with the motivation you will need to save money, and of course, it can make saving enjoyable as well.

Remember: Before you start, be realistic about the amount of money that you can save per month.  Rather start small and increase your saving values, this way you can stay on track and stay motivated.

When should you Teach your Kids About Money?

Financial education is a long-term task and, sadly, it’s one topic that isn’t presented in schools. To help your kids become adults who are financially responsible, it’s your responsibility to help them have an understanding of money, budgeting, and finances. Start gradually with the basics, and work your way up to more advanced aspects.

Need some suggestions? Continue reading to get some strategies for age-appropriate financial lessons.

Preschool

Children in this age bracket aren’t equipped for conversations about debt and budgeting. However, that does not suggest they should be entirely disregarded, either. This can be an ideal age to start getting your kids confident with money. Kids this age take pleasure in learning new words and phrases, thus, making this an excellent time to start developing their money vocabulary.

Take the chance to illustrate basics like exchanging money for items and comparing prices by playing “grocery store”.

Primary School

By primary school age, most children can comprehend simple budgeting and are ready for activities that get them to manage or count money. Now is a perfect time to execute the “needs vs. wants principle. This is an excellent age to show kids that typically, you will need to wait to buy something you want. Help them to save their allowance to purchase a toy, game, or book.

Teach your kids that money isn’t a distressing topic by talking about money freely. The aim is to make money managing appear to be a common element of normal life, like cooking or cleaning. The next time you see a TV ad, make it a teachable moment. Have a conversation about the various tricks and methods marketers use to make “wants” appear to be “needs.”

High School

Let teenagers get a part-time job whether it is babysitting, waiting tables, or walking dogs. There’s no replacement for earning an actual salary. Assist them to open up a bank account if they don’t have one yet, and help them create a budget. Involve older teenagers in household budget talks. It’s necessary for them to watch you making decisions, separating family needs (rent, electricity, and food) from wants (holidays and entertainment).

A good way to help your teen steer clear of financial debt issues in adult life is to teach them about sensible borrowing. Help your teen buy an item by them covering a part of the cost while you cover the rest. Then, work together with your teen to create a monthly payment structure.

One suggestion that is beneficial to all ages is to persevere. Coaching your children to be financially wise is something that will take several years. Keep lessons age-appropriate and stay patient. Look for teachable situations in daily life. The more you can share with your kids while they grow up, the more likely it is that they will have a beneficial relationship with money as adults.

And don’t forget, you are never too old to discover some new things about managing money

Tired of Living from One Paycheck to Another? You can Stop the Cycle.

When living from one paycheck to another, few things are as nerve-racking as the last few days before your next pay day. Your bank account is running on empty, you have a pile of bills ready to get settled, and your fridge is looking rather empty.

When your paycheck finally arrives, you discover that the moment you fill up the car, pay the monthly bills, and do your grocery shopping, you are back to where you started.  Broke and counting the days until you repeat it all.  In the meantime, you keep hoping that no unpredicted situations, like a pricey vehicle repair or a burst pipe, come along.

You don’t need me to inform you that this is not an ideal way to live.  However, it’s not always an easy task to stop the paycheck-to-paycheck pattern.  Here are some actions you can take to end the cycle and manage your finances more efficiently:

Monitor your Spending

A possible reason for living this way is that you might be spending too much money on things you don’t need.  But you can’t manage your spending unless you know accurately where those funds are going every month. You can do this by observing your spending from one payday to the next.  Save slips from debit card transactions and write down any purchases you make with cash.  Include monthly bills and living expenses you paid for that month, as well.  By the time your next paycheck is due, you’ll have an excellent idea of where your income is going.

Create a Budget

The answer to quitting this lifestyle is by determining how to make your hard earned money last.  Mainly, you want to reach the next pay day without being penniless while having some money towards savings.  As soon as you have assessed your spending habits, it’s time to sit down and draw up a budget.  Include things like rent or mortgage, utilities, along with other regular monthly obligations. Remember to add stuff like groceries, personal savings, and entertainment.

Should you get an Increase, Ignore It.

This is an effective strategy to ensure a little extra room in your savings account.  The next time you receive a salary increase, just imagine it didn’t happen.  Don’t change your budget or spending habits.  Just put the additional cash in savings and go forward.

Stop using Credit Cards. 

It can be tempting to treat your credit cards as an emergency account or another income source but don’t surrender to that temptation. You’re only setting yourself up for additional high-interest financial debt, and more credit card bills to pay every month.

Start living below your means. 

There’s an excellent reason why some people seem to have more money than others; they spend money wisely. They aren’t the individuals with the fanciest cars or the biggest houses, but they are often the people with the most significant savings accounts and usually, don’t have debt troubles.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck is not easy, but if you are prepared to do something about it, it is possible to escape the cycle.