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Are you struggling to make ends meet with your Covid-19-adjusted salary?

Young woman analyzing bills while writing in diary. Beautiful female is using digital tablet at table. She is sitting on sofa at home.

It is time that you relook at how you handle your responsibilities so you can regain control of your finances.

If your financial situation has changed due to economic challenges presented by the pandemic, your lifestyle may have followed suit, and perhaps you’re finding it increasingly difficult to maintain your pre-Covid standard of living. It’s time to take a more proactive approach to ease the financial pressure. We roped in Ester Ochse, product head at FNB Money Management, to help you look at how you can tweak your expenditure, which includes aspects such as bank charges, rental costs and bond repayments, among other expenses. Below, she offers her insights.

How you bank matters

Look at your banking behaviour: does your pricing plan suit your needs, and where can you cut down on unnecessary fees? Remember to bank smartly and look at using digital banking channels instead of visiting a branch and working with cash, where your bank may charge you for a transaction you could do for free online. Digital banking is also safer and more secure. Schedule debit orders close to your salary deposit date to avoid unnecessary fees should they bounce. Look at your bank statement and note down exactly what you’re spending money on. Are you spending money on the things that matter most, such as your family your child’s education and saving for your retirement?

Consider how you can save on rental costs

If you’re now required to work from home for the foreseeable future, can you relocate to a more affordable area to help you save money? But be aware of penalty, legal or other fees, review contracts carefully and consider moving costs you may incur.

Take advantage of repo rates

You may have benefitted from the reduction in interest rates over the last year, but don’t be tempted to spend that extra money just yet. Route the additional cash back into your bond to pay off your home quicker. Or, identify where else you can re-route it, such as paying off more expensive short-term debt or saving for a rainy day.

Revisit your travel needs to save on car instalments

If you, like many other people, have been working from home during the lockdown, but you have two cars in your household, have you considered whether you still need them for your day-to-day travelling? If not, why not downscale to one car to save not only on instalments but also on insurance payments? Don’t think of it as downsizing, but rather as ‘rightsizing’ for your current needs and income. Compare how much you’re travelling with what you’re paying for your car each month. If you consider rightsizing, be aware of penalty, legal or other fees and review contracts carefully.

Review your phone contract and make a call

Your phone contract and data costs may have increased during the lockdown. Are you getting value for money in line with that? Also, scrutinise the costs that form part of your phone contract and make sure you’re paying for what you need. If you consider changing your phone contract, be aware of penalty, legal or other fees and review contracts carefully. When purchasing data, look for deals to help stretch your money further.

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