Take control of your finances by Financial wellness coach, Barbara Rosenberg

As we are well aware, South Africa is in an economic crisis, so we all have to tighten our belts and slim down economically.

There are certain expenses that we cannot cut down on, which are our fixed expenses:

Medical aid


Water & electricity

School Fees


But… we certainly can diet on a lot of our other expenses:

  1. Credit card debt – we are being charged the highest interest rates…. between 18 – 22 % a month.

Get rid of the credit cards, if you can, by taking the money out your bonds. If you have an access bond, that would be the cheapest lending rate, as your bond interest rate is probably between 9 – 12 %.  Pay off the credit cards, cut them up and throw them away.

In replacement of credit cards get a debit card, which works off your cheque accounts.

This means that:




  1. Look out for specials.

Pick n Pay rewards shoppers who buy their house brand products. Watch Caxton weekly community newspapers which often show where the specials are. Checkers and Shoprite often have specials on their house brands.

Woolworths they often have good specials on vegetables and tins of tuna.

Sign up for specials with Dischem and Clicks – they often run really good specials. Both of these stores also have loyalty cards where you get points which you can accumulate and then use to spend.

  1. Credit card loyalty programmes:

If you do have a credit card, make sure you have a card that has a decent loyalty or reward programme. Make sure you choose the credit card that provides you with the most benefits, taking into account the actual cost of the credit card.

If you are a member of Discovery Vitality, you get cash back from 10 to 25 % on your healthy food shopping. Unfortunately, this is only applicable if you have a Discovery credit card.  Discovery also offers a 25% discount on certain products at Dischem.

Nedbank awards Greenbacks on credit cards and debit cards, and if you use your Amex Nedbank debit card, you get double points which you can use for flights, accommodation and car hire.

FNB has the e-bucks loyalty programme.

  1. Check your bank statements:

I know this is something most of us definitely don’t do, but let me tell you, we are all getting ripped off. I have had charges charged to me that I never ever even used. For example, I got charged for a paper statement when I only received statements by email. I have never gone into the bank and asked for a printout of a statement as in the new age of technology we all have internet. Check it out and you will be surprised.

  1. Electricity:

This is one of our biggest problems, especially with our billing system.  With the imminent price hike in electricity, we are all going to feel the pinch. It makes sense to switch to prepaid electricity.

Quick tip: if your meter was changed to a smart meter, this means that your meter reading gets sent directly to the electricity accounts department.  Despite this, you still need to keep a check on your readings.

If you would like to change to a prepaid meter, simply go down to your local municipality and apply for a prepaid meter.  All they have to do is come to your home and re-configure your smart meter.

This will save you a lot of money.

  1. Upgrading:

Don’t fool yourselves by buying new cars, renovating your homes and upping up your bonds for leisure happiness.  The repo interest rate has gone up by 0.5 % and it can still go up another 1.5 % by the end of the year.  This means your repayments will slowly go up. I know what you are thinking: “What’s another couple of hundreds of rands”, but when you have to pay it and you don’t have it, you will feel the pressure.

Barbara Rosenberg CardDon’t buy what you don’t need, live simply and you will reap the benefits.

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