Consumers urged to tighten belt as cost of living soars
Consumers have been urged to tighten their belts and curb excessive spending as the rising cost of living could take its toll. This month, motorists in South Africa will pay more than R16 per litre of fuel and the increase is expected to trickle into the cost of goods and services such as food and transport.
Ester Ochse, from FNB Wealth and Investments, says this is a tough cycle for South African consumers as most of these costs are beyond people’s control. Food and transport are major spend categories in South Africa and not many people with jobs are equipped or have the flexibility to work from home to be able to save on travel costs, she says.
Ochse says while the rising costs may be out of your control, there are steps to take to manage the potential impact of your transport costs:
- Avoid peak time travel – While users of public transport do not have much flexibility when it comes to travel time, people with cars have some flexibility to avoid peak traffic. This will not only save fuel but equally helps you save a rand or two.
- Consider lift clubs – Colleagues and friends who stay in the same residential areas must consider sharing travel costs through lift clubs. The reality is that many people do not use their cars during the day, and only need transport to get to and from work.
- Maximise rewards – Select banks have partnerships with retailers where customers get something back by using a certain facility or simply swiping a card instead of using cash. Do not miss out on such benefits, especially now, as programmes such as eBucks Rewards offer substantial value.
- Monthly transport tickets – Public transport services such as buses and trains often have substantial discounts when people buy tickets for a full month. This is a major cost-saving for public transport users as it cushions you against any sudden increase in fares.
“In the midst of low economic growth, South African consumers are unfortunately forced to do more with less and disposable income is expected to remain under pressure in the short-term. It’s important for people to adjust to their current reality to keep their head above the water,” says Ochse.