Be smart and cut costs

Interest rates have risen 3percent since June last year, and will likely go up again, but you can take steps to contain costs.

Interest rates have risen 3percent since June last year, and will likely go up again, but you can take steps to contain costs.

Take an inventory of your current needs to see where you can begin to trim expenses.

If you own a home, your mortgage is probably your biggest expense. See if you are getting the best rate available, how flexible the mortgage is and what the terms are.

Normal maintenance on a home is expensive, but the cost of renovation can be enormous. The key way to save is to ensure you get comparative quotes for any job.

Review your vehicle needs and determine if your usage has decreased. If you drive a company car you might find that your personal vehicle is impractical. Do you have an extended warranty to save money on repair bills?

Banking and financial affairs are an area where many of us simply pay the rate. Talk to your bankers and investment companies about improving these aspects.

Most of us pay the renewal premiums on our general insurances without reviewing the policies with our brokers. But take care when renewing your policies that you're getting the best cover for the best premium.

The cost of food can eat you alive. Saving just R20 a week on your purchases will save you more than R1000 a year. Plan purchases in advance. Knowing what you need allows you to buy in larger quantities, which is less expensive.

Stock up on items you use regularly if they go on sale.

Limit eating out to a few times a month.

Check when long-distance calls are cheaper. Watch your mobile telephone usage and use it only when necessary.

Clothing costs can soon mount up. Buy separates that coordinate and can be upgraded with suitable accessories.

Trendy fashions cost a bomb, so stick with the basics and choose styles that will last.

lBryan Hirsch is chief executive of Pioneer Financial Planning. Visit www.pioneer.co.za or e-mail help@pioneer.co.za for more info

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