You should not have to give up on buying or acquiring the things you want, just because times are tough or you are on a budget. Ditch the debt and opt for these money-smart tips that will help you stretch your cash without compromising on things that make you happy or make life just a bit easier.

A home…
Buying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases most of us will make in our lives, but it is also one of the most meaningful, and potentially valuable, over time. “Purchasing a home is an emotive decision as well as a financial investment,” says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond. “We know that people want a home of their own, but they are understandably concerned about keeping up their monthly bond repayments, especially during challenging economic times. So we offer online pre-approval that lets buyers know how much they can afford, and the size of the bond they could get if their application is approved.”

Coetzee adds that BetterBond applies to more than one bank on a buyer’s behalf to secure a better interest rate. “This competitive interest rate, which is on average 0.61% lower than what they may have paid if they had only approached one bank, will ensure a considerable saving; not only on the monthly bond payments but also on the interest payable over the loan period.”

TVs and more…
Dishwashers break, kids need laptops for school, and new homeowners have to furnish the spaces they move into. This is where a rent-to-own company like Teljoy offers a flexible and convenient way to get the products you need without having to fork out tons of cash or enter into high debt.

“Rental is an alternative to ownership, giving you the option of paying monthly for that washing machine, fridge, or dishwasher. It’s a smart way to save the money that you would have spent on a costly once-off purchase, and means that you free up budget to spend on the important things in life, or save up for a big purchase,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy.

“You get benefits like maintenance and risk cover included in the monthly cost, which are fewer expenses to worry about,” continues Hurvitz. “The bonus is that, since this is a month-to-month contract, you can cancel at any time if your circumstances change, upgrade, or even downgrade if you want to save even more money.

Local holidays
There are a number of ways you can make your money stretch further when taking a local holiday. Radisson, for example, has a number of offers all year round to entice you to venture out with your family. The available deals are tailored for an array of budgets. Other ideas include looking for free walking tours in the city that you visit and enjoying budget-friendly meals by looking for restaurants with specials.

Additionally, if you are staying in self-catering accommodation, consider making food at your accommodation that you can either have there or that is easy to travel with. Sandwiches, for example, can be eaten on the go and enjoyed as a picnic in a local park.

Car insurance
Motor insurance is one of those items that you can’t afford to neglect, because of the risk to your finances should something happen to your car!

According to Head of MiWay Blink, Keletso Mpisane, “If you’re working from home, you’re probably not driving as much as you used to. And, if your insurance premium is a fixed amount every month, no matter how much you drive during the month, you should change to an insurer that bases your insurance premium amount on how much you drive during the month. This could mean that you are able to save on the cost of insuring your car.”

A sparkling clean home
You may not have the budget to have your home cleaned a few times a week, but SweepSouth is a home-services company that lets you book a cleaner on a day that you want, for as many hours as you need. Ask the domestic worker to do deep-cleaning, time-intensive chores like windows, kitchen cabinets, the fridge, and oven, then assign the remaining light responsibilities to the rest of the household to do on a regular basis.

A nest egg
In such tough economic times, it feels like our salaries fly out the window moments after we’ve been paid. Putting money away as savings seems like a pipe dream, but there is an easy way to do it. Install an app like upnup, which allows you to add on or round up every transaction so that it can automatically be invested as a micro-saving. “It’s a transaction that is happening anyway – why not make it work in your favour?,” explains Tony Mallam, managing director of upnup.

Fancy food, at home
Instead of eating out, learn to make a few fabulous dishes at home. Sushi is expensive, and if you can master it, you’ll impress your family and dinner guests no end. Pizzas are another great dining-out option. Buying ready-made bases and filling them with fancy toppings will save you money. The trick here is to invest in a proper pizza stone that you can slip into the over – you won’t regret the purchase.

Bring the swish of swanky bar cocktails home by investing in a chic, home bar. Start with a capsule collection of a few key spirits to make the most popular drinks, like tequila for margaritas, white rum for daiquiris and mojitos, bourbon for old-fashioneds, gin for martinis, and vodka for Cosmopolitans. “Add a few more versatile ingredients like vermouth, an orange liqueur and bitters, and you’ll be able to make a wide range of cocktails,” says Melrick Harrison at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront. Add flair with homemade ice cubes flavoured with mint and rosemary and ensure panache with glass decanters and a beautiful drinks trolley.

Submitted by Irvine Partners