January’s up. Interest rates are up. In fact, February is budget month and all eyes are on the Minister of Finance on the 24th to see how it will affect their bottom line. Is your bank manager on speed dial, or has he stopped responding to your Whatsapp messages? What’s your big plan to combat ever-increasing food, petrol, utility and other interest rate hikes this year?
“Judging from the general unrest that’s bubbling under the surface with regards to everything from the price of meat to annual tertiary education fees increasing, it’s obvious that most South Africans are feeling the pressure on their personal finances now more than ever,” says Derek Wilson, Head of Hippo.co.za, South Africa’s leading online insurance and financial services comparison website. “Fortunately, there are many ways to cut costs if you just apply yourself, shop smartly, hunt around for the best possible deals and make your finances a priority.”
Here are some ideas on how to make your budget go just that little bit further this year. Remember, a couple of minor tweaks could have changed a very famous ship’s course entirely and saved it from sinking:
1. When grocery shopping, it’s always a good idea to shop around – planning ahead is everything. Supermarkets often have specials on specific brands that only last for a week, so make note of them and compare, compare, compare.
2. A lot of retailers are willing to put their money where their mouth is, especially when it comes to beating a competitor’s prices. Don’t be afraid to mention that you could probably find a cheaper deal elsewhere. Retailers don’t want you to leave their store, and 9/10 times they will drop their price – cha-ching!
3. Loyalty is good, but money talks at the end of the day. It’s a good idea to compare everything from hairdressers, doctors, florists and Internet Service Providers to nail technicians, mechanics, domestic services and plumbers. There’s no harm in shopping around.
4. When shopping around for big-ticket items like cars, compare dealerships as well as brands. If you hunt around enough, you could find a better deal.
5. Work a non-negotiable savings plan into your budget. You need to have quick access to spare cash in case of the “what ifs”.
6. When it comes to online comparison sites, there are many available on the market that allow you to compare everything from restaurants and hotels to car rental deals and flights. With Hippo.co.zaalone, you can compare across the board from products like Insurance, Life & Medical, Finances and Home & Utilities to Travel, Business and Motoring – all at your fingertips.
“It’s also a good idea to give your entire financial portfolio an overhaul. See where you can cut out the middleman, and compare before you buy. You don’t even have to leave your house to do this (saving you time and petrol) as most providers like Hippo.co.za offer online services with real-time solutions,” concludes Derek. “1 in 2 people could save hundreds of Rands* per month on their Car Insurance alone by using Hippo.co.za’s free to use service. Imagine how much money you could potentially save if you compare more than just your Car Insurance