5 things you are spending too much money on

Looking for ways to save a few Rands? We’ve found 5 things you could be spending too much money on. Cut down on these costs and you can save anything from R100 to +R1 000 in your budget.


Working from home means home office costs. Printing is a big one – it can add up to a few thousand rand a month. The good news is that you can dramatically reduce this cost:

  • Print only when you need to. Digitally sign documents, rather than printing and scanning, where appropriate.
  • Print in draft mode, it uses less ink. You can also reduce the length of your documents, to make them fit on fewer pages.
  • Use recycled ink cartridges, refilled cartridges or ‘no-name’ brands. Printer cartridges range from around R250 to over R1 000 for larger printers. Recycled or refilled cartridges can cost 25% less. These are available from retailers such as the InkyShop and some printer manufacturers such as Canon or HP may offer a recycle service.
  • If you are planning to buy a new printer, check the running costs such as annual maintenance and ink, and choose an option that uses the cheapest cartridge for the amount you need to print.


Food can be an expensive essential. You need to shop smartly, use loyalty programmes and consider these three areas where you can make big savings:

  • Buy no-name brand foods to really save money on your grocery shop. For example, there is a R5 difference between the price for the brand and no name brand macaroni and an R11 difference for a 170g of tuna. That’s a saving of R16 on two small trolley items!
  • Protein and veg choices. Cheap protein options include legumes, beans and lentils, and frozen chicken and chicken livers, as well as tinned sardines, pilchards and tuna. A R14 can of beans (400g) compares favourably on price to R58 for 500g of beef mince. Cheaper veg options include carrots (R10 for 500g), cabbage (R18 for a large cabbage) and butternut (R25 for 2). Veggies like asparagus and brussel sprouts can cost three times as much.
  • Takeaways and prepared foods. A 500g packet of mince will make four large burgers and a 2kg pocket of potatoes will make many french fries. A standard burger and chips at Steers costs R49.90. Prepared foods such as cut and peeled fruit or vegetables can cost as much as double the unprepared product – buy the uncut version. It is cheaper and should last longer.

Personal care and household items

These products can really add up! But you can save big if you shop smart:

  • Buy house brand products. The savings can be significant. We found that by buying the house brand instead of a branded item you can save R48 on shower gel and R50 on mouthwash!
  • Buy bulk or special offers. Personal care products have a fairly long-life span so if you see a special deal such as 3 for 2, take advantage. And buy larger quantities such as a one litre rather than 500ml if the numbers add up.
  • Replace cleaning products with general household substitutes. Vinegar is an excellent cheap option for cleaning taps and windows and more and can be used as fabric softener (add a drop of essential oils if you feel the need). 750ml of white spirit vinegar costs R10, 2l of fabric softener R35. Bleach is another cheap product that works well to clean and disinfect.

Car parts

When you get a quote for a car repair that your maintenance plan or insurance doesn’t cover, shop around for non-branded parts. Some are available at stores such as Game and Makro and hardware stores, or you can try auto parts suppliers such as Goldwagen. Here are some tips:

  • Shop around. We found you can save over 10% of the cost of small items such as windscreen wipers and savings of over 50% on large items like bumpers.
  • Look for local. Ask your garage or panel beater about locally manufactured parts. A euro or US dollar price tag can push up the price when converted to Rands. And when you buy a new car always ask whether parts are available locally and priced locally.
  • A warning – check the terms and conditions of any finance agreement or maintenance and service agreement – if it stipulates original parts and you use replacement parts you may no longer be covered.

Fitness gear

Fitness and exercise is really important to your health. We know you know there are cheaper ways to do it – but there are a few items where you may still be spending too much.

  • Shoes. Unless you are going for national records, do great distances or have foot problems, buy reasonably priced (around R500 to R1 000) running or walking shoes, rather than the R3 000+ shoes.
  • Fitness tech. Top of the range smartwatches and wearables can cost over R10 000 and go out of date in less than a year. A R2 000 to R3 000 model will give the data you need for a lot less. Your phone and an app may also be just as good if you simply want to count steps or distance.
  • New home fitness equipment. Buy second hand. You can get nearly new items at a much lower than new price. Check in with friends and colleagues to see if they have items they don’t use and might want to sell, or search online.
  • Try out sports like walking, hiking or swimming which require minimal gear and for which you can use public facilities.

Get creative

We came across some very creative ways to save money including using an ironing board as a desk! On the highest level it became a standing desk, converting to a sitting desk on the lower level. You may not want to go that far, but there are many items you use daily, where you can find substitutes or replacements that cost a lot less, do the job well and last as long as the expensive version.

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