Friday, January 07, 2011

8 Easy ways to help you save R500p.m. for next year's vacation

Apart from losing weight and spending more time with the family, one popular resolution for many is to save more money. We think that while putting money away is a good idea, saving money with a particular goal in mind might be a better one.

And of all the things occupying your thoughts at the moment, that recent vacation, or lack thereof, might hold the key difference to a string of wishful thinking and getting at least one new years resolution right.

The primary idea is to help you save R500 per month on your general day-to-day spending, which will enable you to build a vacation fund. Our aim (as always) is to gain everything by doing (almost) nothing. In other words, it is possible to painstakingly pinch a penny here and there, but why not rather try and make small changes that will result in big savings.

Here are our suggestions.

Tip 1: Buy in quarters
We all know that meat is very expensive. Many of us are in the (bad) habit of buying our monthly meat at the Spar or PicknPay, or on a weekly basis at the our favorite butcher. But we all are to familiar with that rush every Saturday to buy steak, wors and biltong before the rugby match and braai.

Herman from Braai-in-Style Butchery, Centurion (012 663 7113) recommend buying a hind quarter for R2 030, (around 55-60kg) that will last two people between three and six months. That is a lot of mince, wors, T-bone, steak or whatever your specific need are. Should you buy that meat individually, you could end up paying as much as R4 800 so a similar quantity.

Tip 2: Make your own biltong
For R600 you can buy 13kg of biltong meat (they say you need Silverside) at Rudesheim Meat, Centurion (012 653 5956). That is around 9kg of dry biltong worth R1 350 which is a saving of R750. Your own biltong costs R66/kg in lieu of R150/kg and includes free bragging rights.

Tip 3: Redefine your shopping list: compare brands
We understand that comparing individual prices between retailers takes a committed effort and there is guarantee that you will actually save money on your bottom line. Comparing brands however, is quick, easy and have a lasting savings effect on your monthly expenses. We found PicknPay online ( especially useful.

We choose to compare canned dog food. Did you know that Huskey is almost 100% more expensive than Boss? You will not know whether there is a difference until you have asked your dog, but if he gets that treat once a week, you will save R480 per year, just by changing brands.

Do that with a few other brands and you will end up saving more than you have bargained for.

Tip 4: Buy generic brands at Shoprite, Dischem and Fruit and Veg City 
This is a slight inconvenience, but doing it once a month and changing your habits to buy certain goods at certain stores will also save you money. Buy generic goods like your household cleaning products (Mr. MIN, Sunlight liquid etc) at Shoprite. No one will know whether your bought it Shoprite or Woolies, but you will save! I have further found that almost everything at Dischem is cheaper than any other stores and who does not know that Fruit and Veg offer good value for money?  

Tip 5: Re-price your short-term insurance
That is easy. Print out your insurance schedule, fax it to a couple of companies and wait for a call. If they offer to save you say R150 per month on your insurance, you just fax that quote to you existing insurance, and tell them to either re-price your insurance or say goodbye to your support.

The chance are very good that you might save R100 per month without even moving to a different insurance company. (Because that IS schlep)

Tip 6: Replace expensive life insurance
Over-the-phone life insurance (like Clientele) is more (much more!) expensive than insurance underwritten by medical examination and blood tests. It is a given that the life insurance premium on your outstanding home loan offered by the bank is more expensive than insurance medically underwritten. Also watch out for insurance added to your clothing account.

Tip 7: Eating-in is more fun
Not only is eating-in more fun with you own concoction of escargots (see recipe here) but restaurants always over-charge for drinks. Say eating out consist of two beers (R30), two glasses of white wine (R30), a bottle of red wine (R110) and two coffees, (R24) the drinks alone is R194 per evening. And you have to then take your chances on the road. Drinking exactly the same at home will reduce the bill to R68 per night. That's a saving of R126.

Impressing your better-half is very easy these days with PicknPay Recipes. You simply click on what you want to eat, say beef, and they provide you with mouth watering recipes, estimated cooking times, serving suggestions and automated shopping list with all the required ingredients mailed to your inbox. I suppose you have to clean up afterwards, but just think of your reward after such a romantic dinner...

Eat-out less and if you do decide to paint the town red, take your own wine and pay the corkage fee.

Tip 8: Go to the movies on Tuesday
That is easy. Movies are half-price (R25) at Ster Kinekor Classic Cinema's on Tuesday. If you see two movies per month, then you will save R600 per year just by switching to Tuesdays.

Stick to the plan by signing a debit order 
By committing yourself to a regular deduction of R500, you will remind yourself each month to keep up the good work and by this time next year, when everyone is depressed by the thought of going back to work, you will be able to take advantage of the special travel offers. R 8 596 for 7 Nights in Mauritius for example.

While everybody at work is scrambling to survive until month-end, you will be saying... ta-ta!

The only trouble to you get you partner to join? : -)


Other suggestions on how to save money and your valued feedback can be sent to