Our national lockdown has brought on new financial challenges. From managing your expenses to generating additional income, our in-depth guide is here to help.
Switch to a cheaper bank account
It often goes unsaid that one of the most silent, and yet pricey, expenses you may be settling each month are your bank account fees.
In South Africa, there are many different types of banking accounts available – and some may opt to charge you a once-off monthly fee, or instead bill you based on each transaction you make to and from the account.
These costs can quickly multiply, and can often be a restriction on your ability to plan and budget for the future.
If after reviewing your monthly bank statements you find yourself in this scenario, it may be best to switch to a cheaper bank account or switch banks entirely. While this can seem daunting, many modern banks will have systems in place to ensure that you can switch over your banking accounts seamlessly.
Evaluating which account is right for you is crucial when preparing your budget. For example, switching to an account that charges transaction fees may be useful (and far less expensive) if you don’t often transfer money in and out of your account. If you do, you may find it useful to switch to a bank that charges once-off fees.
Use our monthly budget template to plan for the months ahead
Keeping track of your monthly expenses is key to staying on-budget – and if you’ve found this difficult in the past or are ready to make positive changes for the future, our easy-to-use monthly budget template can help you take proactive steps to financial health.
By listing your expenses and keeping track of how your spending habits change, you can ensure that you’re able to keep your account balances in check and monitor your spending during this unusual time.
Renegotiate your insurance premiums and service fees
If you have active cover, your insurance premiums are likely some of your single largest expenses each month – and that’s why its vital to continuously renegotiate your insurance premiums or service fees every year. Often, your insurers will be able to provide you with a better deal – and if not, you may be able to find a better service elsewhere.
By keeping track and keeping your account excess consistent, you may be able to spend far less each month – enabling you to save more money towards a goal or add to your savings or investment plan.
Cancel unnecessary services
During the lockdown, you may be paying for services that you can’t, or aren’t actively using – this could include a gym membership, online service, or additional expenses related to the course of normal life. One way to manage your expenses at this time is to evaluate what services you are actively using.
If you can, cancelling your unused (or underused) services can help you reprioritise your budget. Before you do so, ensure that your account is eligible for a one month's notice period for cancellation and that you won’t incur any additional fees by doing so.
Set up a side hustle
If you are unable to work at your full capacity during the lockdown and your income has accordingly been affected, it can be worthwhile to set up another stream of income to sustain yourself. Before doing so, be sure to check with your employer that this will not be a conflict of interest with your traditional duties at work.
Start an online business
If you’re able to sell or produce goods or a service that conforms to lockdown regulations, why not try to set up an online business? By setting up online sales and collaborating with a delivery partner (if applicable), you can easily put your skills and talents to use and generate additional income at the same time.
Use your skills for freelance work
If you have skills that you could effectively use as a freelancer or sole proprietor, why not put them to use?
During lockdown, all digital businesses can run effectively, and trades such as electrical and plumbing maintenance are eligible to provide their work as essential services. If you can do so, putting any skills you may have to work can assist you in generating a second stream of income.
Complete paid online surveys or find affiliate work
Many online marketing firms will provide you with the opportunity to take online surveys to give your opinion on a range of matters, and will provide a financial reward for doing so – this may come in the form of a competition entry, or a digital voucher for online retailers.
Participating in online surveys can help you obtain vouchers or rewards can help you reduce your ordinary expenses – particularly for groceries or other goods.
If you have savvy marketing skills, you could also opt to provide affiliate work, where you set up campaigns and websites designed to provide businesses with eligible and consenting leads to make sales or solicit interest.
Consider becoming a delivery driver
In a level 4 lockdown or lower, all online retailers can provide their services – meaning that many are seeking delivery driver-partners to effectively distribute orders. If you have your own transport, you may be able to find additional work providing this essential service.
While this can come with health concerns – meaning that you should follow all regulations to minimise potentially contracting COVID-19 if you choose to do so – you need not only deliver online goods. Many driver networks are also assisting the fight against the novel coronavirus by distributing medical supplies or (influenza) vaccines – meaning that you can also proactively use your time to help fellow South Africans while supplementing your income.
Download our Financial Readiness Pack
If you’d like to review your financial situation and make positive changes for the future, our Financial Readiness Pack can assist you in taking proactive steps to financial health. Containing not only our monthly budgeting template but further guides to reduce your debt, save effectively, and how you can keep safe from financial fraud, you can use this helpful resource to manage and improve your financial situation.
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