5 things South Africans wasted money on in 2019

Even the most money savvy of us waste a few Rands here and there. And it adds up! We’ve identified five things South Africans wasted money on in 2019 – and shared ways you can avoid such mistakes.

1. Food waste

You could be wasting: R50+ a month

10 million tonnes of food go to waste each year in South Africa, which is around 210kg per person. Nearly half of food wasted is fruit and veg.

Although a lot of food is wasted in the supply chain – getting the food from the farmer to the fork – we also waste food at home. We can throw away as much as 5kg a week! 5kg at R10 a kilogram works out to R50 a month. The potential savings could be over R500 a year.

Reduce wastage by:

  • Not buying too much fruit, veg or meat at a time, even if the bulk price seems good
  • Making a big pot of soup or stew to use up vegetables that are looking a bit limp
  • Refrigerating food immediately
  • Keeping an eye on expiry dates on what’s in your fridge

2. Home delivery

You could be wasting: R45+ a month

When you shop online, home delivery is convenient, but expensive. We priced a few alternative options:

Takealot collect
We ordered a jigsaw puzzle and collected it from the pickup point, which is 5km away and open 10am to 7pm. The order took less than a minute to collect, saving R45 on the home delivery fee.

Postnet to Postnet
We sent a few items throughout the year to home addresses and Postnets. Postnet to Postnet is R99 for 5kg, home delivery was over R300. That’s a R200+ saving.

Click and collect
Stores like Dischem offer a “click and collect” service for online orders. You collect in store, saving on delivery fees. Makro offers lockers in central areas to which they will deliver select items. You get the combination to the locker and can collect your item in your own time. If the lockers are closer than your nearest store, you can save time, transport costs and delivery fees.

3. DStv subscriptions for live sports

You could be wasting:  R170+ month

Downgrading your DStv subscription can save you money, but the lure of sports remains strong. Is this money well spent? And what are your other options? We found that you might be able to save money by downgrading your subscription and watching certain sports online. We didn’t include the local sports bar, which is also an option, because we are wary of the extra cost of drinks and snacks!

DStv Premium: R809 a month
Access to all Supersport channels. If you’re a rugby, cricket, golf or F1 fan you’ll get live coverage of events.

Compact Plus: R519 a month
Eight sports channels with live coverage of soccer, and some athletics, MMA, wrestling, golf, tennis and swimming. Replays of live matches and events are usually available a day later.

Compact: R399 a month
Live soccer, with some other events and replays of select events and matches.

Showmax: R99 a month
Showmax has started streaming live sports including some cricket and rugby matches.

Live streaming: $2.99+ a month (R45)
Various sports are streamed live. You can access these via an internet connection.

Tennistv.com streams the men’s ATP tour. One month is $2.99, 15 months will cost $119.99, which works out to R120 a month. If tennis is your sport you can save around R170 a month by opting for live streaming and downgrading from DStv Premium to CompactPlus. Some events such as the Australian Open also offer live streaming on their home pages.

F1TV access is also available for $2.99 a month and covers Formula 1. Although it is unclear if live races are covered, there are some great extras on the package.

We have also successfully streamed live local swimming events such as the Midmar Mile, incurring only data costs, which didn’t add to the monthly contract cost.

4. Top of the range smartphones

You could be wasting: R250+

We priced contracts for the latest smartphones, including the phone, data and airtime. We found you can save a lot by opting for the standard model, rather than the one with extra features.

For example, a contract for an iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at R799 a month. Take the cheaper standard model – an iPhone 11 – and your monthly contract goes down to R549 a month. That’s a saving of R250 a month. Or you can opt for an earlier model such as the iPhone 8 and save quite a bit more.

Top of the range smartphones cost upwards of R20 000 to buy and contracts with these phones can stretch to thousands of rands a month. You usually get a few extras and more storage with the top of the range model, but if you are not using all the features most of the time this is money wasted.

5. Gym memberships

You could be wasting: R240+

Do you get full value out of your gym membership all year round, or are you an occasional gym goer? Gyms have hundreds of thousands of members, many of whom don’t use their memberships.

If you don’t use the gym you are wasting the membership fees, even with reward programme discounts. We priced six gym fees, with the cheapest at R240 a month, without any reward programme discounts.  Some are as high as R1 900 a month.

There are cheaper options:

  • Use your free local outdoor gym, or take up running or walking
  • Swim at a local pool, which is R10 – R15
  • Look for outdoor yoga sessions – some ask for a donation, some cost R80 upwards

Final thoughts

When paying for something becomes a habit – particularly if the money goes straight off the bank account – we tend to ignore the costs. Keep an eye on where your money goes and make sure you are getting value from what you buy. Your 2020 bank account will thank you!

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