FIVE FRESH TIPS TO SAVING

5 EVERYDAY SAVING TIPS

From washing your hands to dusting behind the dryer – here are some novel and easy saving tips. There are so many simple and small things in life that we miss or forget and cost us money in the long run… like the R45/m subscription to a magazine that you don’t actually read anymore, or that antique-looking bookcase that you paid a fortune for at The Block & Chisel that you could have got for a fraction of the price at an actual antique store.

Check out these 5 fresh saving tips and see how you can start to save, even more, today!

1. DO A MAINTENANCE RUN ON YOUR APPLIANCES

Check them to make sure there isn’t any dust clogging them and that they’re fairly clean. Look behind the appliances and use your vacuum to gently clear away dust. Check all of the vents, especially on refrigerators, dryers, and heating and cooling units.

The less dust you have blocking the mechanics of these devices, the more efficiently they’ll run (saving you on your energy bill) and the longer they’ll last (saving you on replacement costs).

2. CANCEL UNUSED MEMBERSHIPS OR SUBSCRIPTIONS

Are you paying subscription fees for a membership or service that you never use? Like, for instance, a gym membership or that premium courier service with Amazon? Cancel these memberships, even if you think you might use them again some day.

You can always renew the membership at a later date if it turns out that you actually do miss it, and what you’ve saved in monthly fees will probably cover your re-instatement fee should there be one.

3. CONSIDER BUYING SECOND-HAND BEFORE YOU BUY NEW

Quite often, you can find the exact item you want with a bit of clever shopping at used equipment stores, used game stores, second-hand furniture stores and so on. Just make these shops part of your normal routine – go there first when looking for potential items and you will save money.

4. KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN

This one’s simple – just wash your hands thoroughly each time you use the bathroom or handle raw foods. You’ll keep yourself from acquiring all kinds of viruses and bacteria, saving you on medical bills and medicine costs and lost productivity!

5. REMOVE YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS FROM YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS.

It’s easy to spend online when you have your card information stored in an account – just click and buy. The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account.

That way, when you’re tempted to spend, you’ll be forced to spend the time to dig out your card – and really think about why you’re spending this money.

Howzat! That’s the freshest five saving tips this month!

HEALTHY EATING IS HEALTH LIVING

Did you know that most weight loss occurs through improving your diet?

If you’ve ever been on a diet, or heard your friends speaking about their diets, you will know that Calories are a fairly important part of our diets. Food contains all sorts of nutrients, not just Calories, so it’s good to choose foods that contain the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fats and calories) that you need.

If you’re uncertain as to what is a good diet for your body, you can see a nutritionist or dietician who will be able to help you with this.

WHAT ARE CALORIES?

Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food.

The reason that you want to know this is to make sure that the amount of Calories going into your body are equal to the amount that you use every day. If you want to lose weight, you would want to use more calories than you’re putting in. If you need to gain weight, you would want to be putting in more calories than you’re currently using.

In short: if you’re not very active – you’re not using a lot of calories in a day. If you’re very sporty, you’ll need a lot more calories as you’ll be burning them when engaging in physical activity.

WHAT’S A BALL PARK CALORIE COUNT?

Calories are measured in kcal. An average man needs around 2200kcal a day. For an average woman, that figure is around 1800kcal a day. These values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity, among other factors – so they are just an average!

FINDING THE BALANCE

When we eat and drink, we’re putting energy (kcal) into our bodies. Our bodies then use up that energy, and the more physical activity we do, the more energy (kcal) we use.

To maintain a stable weight, the energy we put into our bodies must be the same as the energy we use to go about our day and engage in physical activity.

Weight gain occurs when we regularly put more energy into our bodies than we use. Over time, the body stores that excess energy as fat. Research shows that most adults eat and drink more than they need, and think that they are more physically active than they really are.

The older you get, the harder you need to work at being physically active!

On virtually every item of food you buy, from bread to pre-cooked meals, the nutritional information will include a Calorie count per serving.

You can use the calorie information to assess how a particular food fits into your daily intake.

Some restaurants put calorie information on their menus, so you can also check calorie content of foods when eating out. Calories should be given per portion or per meal.

KEEP THE ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS

Keep the roof over your loved ones’ heads – no matter what.

Buying your own home is filled with amazing feelings, and often a lot of stress!  From all the forms to fill out and hoops to jump through, once you finally have your homeloan approved you still need to arrange the move – which is an entirely different type of stress.In this process, you may overlook some features of the homeloan that you’d wish you’d have seen, so here are some pointers from Brightrock.

Investing in a new home is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. That’s why banks require new homeowners to buy a life insurance policy when taking out a homeloan.

Did you know that you’re not obliged to take out life insurance with your bank to secure your homeloan? You’re free to take out the policy that best meets your needs.

With BrightRock’s needs-matched insurance for your outstanding debt, you get the best debt protection for your family not only for today – but for always. You can choose exactly the right cover you need now. Then, if things change, you can change your benefits to match.

BrightRock is cover that is designed to be ‘living’ – to change as you do so. It’s made just for you at the start and then changes with you, as your life changes.

Some of the unique features you enjoy are:
  1. BrightRock relevance – you can tailor your cover to meet your needs and keep it for just as long you need. When your homeloan is paid off and you no
  2. longer need the cover, it can simply fall away.
  3. BrightRock control – you decide what kind of pay-out you want and whether to protect your homeloan’s full capital value or just the amount you still owe.
  4. BrightRock efficiency – because there’s no waste in your cover, you’ll save money. Which you can put to better use paying off your bond sooner or even investing in another asset.
  5. BrightRock choice – how you use your cover is up to you.
  6. BrightRock flexibility – if your needs change and you later find you need more cover, you can get the cover you need on easy terms.

It’s all about making sure your family can count on the comforts of home sweet home – in good times, and in bad.

CUT BACK SALT AND CUT YOUR PREMIUMS!

If you’ve read up on salt facts, you’ll know that too much salt can cause raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. When you are applying for any type of risk cover, your general health plays a large part in the algorithms that are used to asses your risk… and ultimately how high or low your monthly premiums will be.

Eating healthily and getting regular exercise is crucial to keeping your body at its optimum and reducing your risk cover premiums. This blog is full of tips to reducing the amount of salt that you eat and came from England’s National Health Service’s Livewell campaign on their website. If you would like to know anything else about reducing your premiums, go to my contact page and let’s hook up!

So… back to the salty truth. You don’t have to add salt to your food to eat too much of it – around 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and pre-made meals! Yes – without even trying, you’re already eating lots of salt a day. Don’t get me wrong, salt in your diet is essential for energy and electrolytes, but too much (as well as too little) can have long term negative effects on your health.

Remember, whether you’re eating at home, cooking or eating out, don’t add salt to your food automatically – taste it first. Many people add salt out of habit, but it’s often unnecessary, and your food will generally taste good without it.

Buy lower-salt foods and snacks

1.   Use nutrition labels to help you cut down on salt:
     • high is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
     • low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)

2.   When shopping for food, you can take steps to cut your salt intake:
     • Compare nutrition labels on food packaging when buying everyday items. You can really cut your salt intake by checking the label and choosing the pizza, sauces or breakfast cereal that’s lower in salt. Try choosing one food a week to check and swap when you’re food shopping.
    • Go for reduced-salt, unsmoked back bacon. Cured meats and fish can be high in salt, so try to eat these less often.
    • Watch out for the salt content in ready-made pasta sauces. Tomato-based sauces are often lower in salt than cheesy sauces or those containing olives, bacon or ham.
    • For healthier snacks, choose fruit or vegetables such as carrot or celery sticks. If you are going to have crisps or crackers, check the label and choose the ones lower in salt.
    • Go easy on soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces, as these can all be high in salt.

Cook with less salt

Many people add salt to food when cooking. But there are lots of ways to add flavour to your cooking without using any salt. Check out these salt alternatives:

1.   Use black pepper as seasoning instead of salt. Try it on pasta, scrambled egg, pizzas, fish and soups.

2.   Add fresh herbs and spices to pasta dishes, vegetables and meat. Try garlic, ginger, chilli and lime in stir fries.

3.   Make your own stock and gravy instead of using cubes or granules, or look out for reduced-salt products.

4.   Try baking or roasting vegetables such as red peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, fennel, parsnips and squash to bring out their flavour.

5.   Make sauces using fresh, ripe, flavourful tomatoes and garlic.

Eating out: salt tips

If you’re eating in a restaurant or café, or ordering a takeaway, you can still eat less salt by making smart choices of low salt foods.

  • Pizza: choose vegetable or chicken toppings instead of pepperoni, bacon or extra cheese.
  • Pasta dishes: choose one with a tomato sauce with vegetables or chicken, rather than bacon, cheese or sausage.
  • Burgers: avoid toppings that can be high in salt, such as bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce, and opt for salad instead of chips.
  • Chinese or Indian meal: go for plain rice, it’s lower in salt than egg-fried rice or pilau rice.
  • Sandwiches: instead of ham or cheddar cheese, go for fillings such as chicken, egg, mozzarella, or vegetables such as avocado or roasted peppers. And try having salad and reduced-fat mayonnaise instead of pickle or mustard, which are usually higher in salt.
  • Breakfasts: instead of a full English breakfast, go for a poached egg on toast with mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. If you do have meat, have either bacon or a sausage but not both.
  • Salads: ask for dressings or sauces on the side, so you only have as much as you need. Some dressings and sauces can be high in salt and fat.

END OF THE MONTH SAVING TIPS

5 EVERYDAY SAVING TIPS

It’s amazing how fast the time flies past… it’s often even more amazing how fast money leaves our bank account after it’s been deposited! The prices of basic necessities and transport have risen considerably and it’s no wonder we’re often left feeling that we need to keep pulling our purse strings tighter.

Well, as is custom, I have 5 Fresh Saving tips for you again! There are so many ways that we can creatively save money by changing certain habits and behaviours around our money.

Check out these 5 fresh saving tips and see how you can start to save, even more, today!

1. PLAN YOUR MEALS AROUND YOUR GROCERY STORE’S FLYER

Instead of just planning your meals based on a cookbook or whatever you can dream up, plan all your meals around what’s on sale in your grocery store’s flyer. Look at the biggest sales, then plan meals based on those ingredients and what you have on hand, and you’ll find yourself with a much smaller food bill than you’re used to. Pick ‘n Pay and Woolies run specials all the time and these often included specific meal combinations that are really well priced.

2. DO A PRICE COMPARISON AND BUY THE CHEAPEST ITEMS AT THE BEST STORE

Most of us get in a routine of shopping at the same grocery store, even though quite often it’s not the one that offers the best deals on our most common purchases.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to find the cheapest store around. Just keep track of the twenty or so things you buy most often, then shop for these items at a variety of stores. If you shop at a mall that has a Woolies and a Pick ‘n Pay, you can buy the best priced items at each and save!

3. BAKE YOUR OWN PASTRIES

Before I tried it myself, I thought homemade bread making was complicated and a waste of time and money. I came to find out that it was pretty easy and it was actually much cheaper, healthier, and tastier than buying a loaf from the store.
Now, we rarely ever buy bread products at the store – and we save money by making that choice. Muffin and cake mixes are also much cheaper than buying them yourself.

4. DON’T SPEND MONEY JUST TO DE-STRESS

Quite often, I used to spend money just to wind down from a stressful day at work. Instead, I’ve found that I quite often feel much better by going home and taking some quiet time just to stretch and then meditate.

I end up feeling energised, happy, and ready to face an evening with the family in the right mindset than I ever would by just blowing some cash after work. Instead of spending to de-stress, try some basic meditation techniques, stretching, or yoga and see how you feel! Even a walk with your partner around the block can do wonders – and try not to talk about work!

5. TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONES ABOUT WHAT YOUR DREAMS ARE

This seems like an odd way to save money, but think about it. If you spend time with the people you love the most and come to some consensus about your dreams, it becomes easy for you all to plan for it. If you’re all planning and working together towards this dream, it becomes easier to stay focused on it and reach it.

Set a big, audacious goal together and encourage each other to be financially fit – soon, you’ll find you’re doing it naturally and your dreams are coming closer than ever.
Howzat! That’s the freshest five saving tips for July!

REVIEWING YOUR POLICY (2)

A WISE CHOICE NOW PAYS OFF LATER

In my previous article I looked at the old-school approach to risk assurance policies and highlighted some areas of concern that the latest policies are trying to avoid.

The reason for this is because most life cover premiums are higher than necessary because you are sold an indiscriminate lump sum of assurance to cover many different needs with different values at different times of your life. Not only is this costing you too much, it is also probably inappropriate for your needs.

BrightRock, a comparatively new kid on the risk life assurance block, has made this claim.

It says that, as a result of the traditional “lump-sum” structure, your cover becomes increasingly unaffordable, resulting in your reducing or cancelling it in later years. Having paid from day one for the cover, you then sacrifice it at the very time you need it most.

The BrightRock claim follows the publication last year of research undertaken by True South Actuaries & Consultants, on behalf of BrightRock, which showed that many people who bought seemingly “cheap” life assurance when they were younger faced losing their cover as their premiums escalated above the inflation rate and became increasing unaffordable. So, if you missed last week’s article, just click on the older posts link below, otherwise, read on for some more information on the kind of features you should be looking out for in your policies.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

The overview principle is that a wisely chosen policy is one that can adapt with your needs.

Each component of cover within your risk assurance policy should exactly match the behaviour and trajectory of each specific financial need you want to protect, Schalk Malan, executive director at BrightRock, says.

For example, your policy should cover your children’s education to the extent, and for the period, that cover for that particular expense will be required, he says. At the same time, your policy should be sufficiently flexible for you to increase other cover you require as your needs change.

A properly structured policy designed to meet your needs should mean:

1. You do not have to choose a single rate at which your cover and premiums will increase.

2. Your risk assurance premium increases or decreases should be set independently for each need, preferably within the same overall policy.

3. Where a financial need decreases, as is often the case with cover for debt or for replacing your income in the event of disability, the cover can decrease and fall away completely once it is no longer needed.

4. Your premiums can be adjusted and redirected to meet the changing needs of your risk cover. For example, premiums that pay for debt cover or cover for your children’s education can be redirected to buy more dread disease cover or for estate planning later in life, without your having to undergo another medical test.

5. You should be able to buy more cover for needs that arise after you bought your policy without having to undergo a medical test, or you have to undergo fewer tests.
Malan says: “[Consumers] should be looking for cover that isn’t packaged in rigid boxes that grows at a set rate over time. Instead, with your financial adviser, you should tailor each component of cover to exactly match the behaviour and trajectory of each specific financial need you want to protect.”

REVIEWING YOUR POLICY (1)

ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH?

You could save as much as 30% of the premiums you pay on risk life assurance – against early death, for example – by, in effect, changing your policy from one paying out a single large lump sum and priced for the maximum term, such as “whole of life”, to one covering each of your financial needs with a precisely matched duration of cover.

BrightRock, a comparatively new kid on the risk life assurance block, has made this claim.

It says that, as a result of the traditional “lump-sum” structure, your cover becomes increasingly unaffordable, resulting in your reducing or cancelling it in later years. Having paid from day one for the cover, you then sacrifice it at the very time you need it most.

And when you reach the stage where your cover becomes unaffordable, you may not be able to obtain more affordable cover, because you may have developed a health condition that makes you either uninsurable or that necessitates exclusions and/or premium loadings on your policy.

The BrightRock claim follows the publication last year of research undertaken by True South Actuaries & Consultants, on behalf of BrightRock, which showed that many people who bought seemingly “cheap” life assurance when they were younger faced losing their cover as their premiums escalated above the inflation rate and became increasing unaffordable.

WHAT TO AVOID

Schalk Malan, executive director at BrightRock, says there is a triple whammy for policyholders in the way most risk assurance premiums are calculated. The three big drawbacks are:

1. Low initial premiums: To attract new business in an increasingly competitive market, life assurance companies offer seemingly cheap premiums when you are young and unlikely to claim. But as you grow older and become more likely to claim, your premiums escalate rapidly.

He says a five-percent-a-year increase in the amount of life cover you need to keep abreast of inflation can result in an average premium increase of 11 percent a year. This means that, over 15 years, a doubling of cover will push up premiums by 480 percent.

Eventually, the premiums are likely to become unaffordable, with the result that you will either reduce or cancel your cover. This means a lower potential benefit payout for the life assurance company.

2. Longer assured periods than necessary: Life assurance is mainly sold as “whole of life”, and disability assurance usually lasts up to retirement age. Whole-of-life usually means you are covered until an improbable age of over 100. The premiums you pay from the very first month are based on this longevity.

Much of the life cover you buy becomes superfluous. For example, the cover you have for debt on your home loan or for the education of your children is required only for specific periods, not your entire life. You would be better off from your first premium payment if you had bought cover for a fixed period for those needs that exist only for shorter periods.

Malan says that buying a whole-of-life policy is similar to buying a bag of lettuce today that’s big enough to cater for all of your future salad requirements.

3. Decreasing value: Whole-of-life assurance is for an aggregate amount that is typically priced to increase, but many of your assurance needs decline in value.

For example, if you have a newborn child, the future cost of education will be significant. If you do not have assets to cover that cost, you need assurance that will pay out if you are unable to earn a living. But as the years progress, your child will grow older and your assets will increase in value, and so the amount of assurance you will need for your child’s education will decrease. This means, again, that, from the first premium of your whole-of-life policy, you are paying for cover that you do not need.

Malan says what is required to derive maximum cost-efficiency from your risk assurance cover is a needs-matched approach that strips out all this unnecessary waste and inefficiency. This approach is very new to our industry, so it’s highly probable that your cover may need to be re-assessed. If you’d like to review your portfolio – click on my contact page and let’s hook up!

END-OF-THE-MONTH SAVING TIPS!

4 EVERYDAY SAVING TIPS

My end-of-the-month saving tips have been really popular and so once again I’m happy to share this month’s list with you. There are only four this time around but they will save you a ton of money if you want to follow them.

The first two focus on spending a little more up front in order to save in the long-run whilst the second two are practical things that you can do right now.

If you want to increase your income and enjoy more expendable cash, then you need to re-assess how and where you’re spending your money. Check out these 4 fresh saving tips and see how you can start to implement them in your life today.

1. INSTALL CFL (COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHTS) BULBS

These bulbs might cost more initially, but they both have a longer life than normal incandescent bulbs and they use significantly less electricity. CFLs tend to use about 25% of the electricity of an incandescent and LEDs use about 2%. CFLs are cheaper than LEDs right now and produce better light, but not quite as good as incandescent bulbs.

My policy? Put LEDs in closets and out of the way places, use CFLs for hall and some room lighting, and use incandescent bulbs (until the other bulbs get better) where you read and do other eye-intensive activities. This will trim a nice chunk from your Eskom bill!

2. BUY APPLIANCES BASED ON RELIABILITY

It’s worth the time to do a bit of research when you buy a new appliance. A reliable, energy efficient washer and dryer might cost you quite a bit now, but if it continually saves you energy and lasts for fifteen years, you’ll save significant money in the long run. When you need to buy an appliance, research it – start with your Facebook friends!

3. CLEAN YOUR CAR’S AIR FILTER

A clean air filter can improve your fuel consumption by up to 7%. Plus, cleaning your air filter is easy to do in just a few minutes – just follow the instructions in your car’s manual and you’re good to go.

4. DON’T KEEP YOUR CREDIT CARDS IN YOUR WALLET

Take your credit cards and put them in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet where it’s easy to spend them. If you argue that you need it for “emergencies,” just be sure to keep a small amount of cash hidden in your wallet for these emergencies. Don’t keep plastic on you until you have the willpower to not use it – even when you’re sorely tempted!

That’s the freshest five saving tips for June!

END OF THE MONTH SAVING TIPS

5 EVERYDAY SAVING TIPS

If you were to think about the choices that you make every day around what you purchase, throw away, borrow, lend and consume, you can begin to think about ways that you can spend your money more wisely and cut back on unnecessary expenses!Saving money doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to compromise your current lifestyle, but you can bring some of the extremes into moderation, like our first point for today.

If you want to increase your income and enjoy more expendable cash, then you need to re-assess how and where you’re spending your money!  Check out these 5 fresh saving tips and see how you can start to implement them in your life today.

1.   CHECK YOUR EXPENSIVE HABITS

Perhaps you need to cut back – or give up entirely – expensive habits, like cigarettes and alcohol.  Those habits cause money to flow away from you with nothing in return.  One pack of siggies a day can cost you up to R10 000 a year!  Call up your fortitude and work hard to kick the habits and you’ll find that money staying in your pocket instead of burning up and floating away.

2.   COOK LARGE

Make a quadruple batch of a mac and cheese.  Pastas are nice, easy dishes to prepare, but on busy nights, it’s often still easier to just order some take-out or eat out or just pop a pre-packaged meal in the microwave.Instead, the next time you make a nice home-cooked meal that will freeze well, make four batches of it and put the other three in the freezer.  Then, the next time you need a quick meal for the family, grab one of those batches and just heat it up – easy as can be.

Even better, doing this allows you to buy the ingredients in bulk, making each dish cheaper than it would be ordinarily – and far, far cheaper than eating out or trying a pre-packaged meal.  And… you only have to warm up the oven once.

3.   LIGHTS ARE ON, BUT NOBODY’S HOME

Be diligent about turning off lights before you leave.  Burning lights, appliances, TV’s etc use up power that is unnecessary.  Whilst it may not seem like a lot, they’re still using power and they’re still costing you money.Regardless of the positive impact this will have on the environment, it will have an immediate impact on your monthly energy bill!  With winter approaching, we have more cloudy days, which means that you may turn lights on during the day.  When the sun comes out again, remember to turn them off!  I just did that in my office.

4.   JOIN A CD, DVD OR BOOK CLUB

Buying the latest DVD or book as soon as it comes out is expensive.  Rather look to joining or starting a book, CD or DVD club with your friends and neighbours.   You only pay a small amount each month and have access to loads more!  Best of all, when it’s your month to buy, you get to keep them all at the end of the rotation.  Starting asking your colleagues and friends if they’re involved in a similar club, you’ll be surprised at how many are!

5.   CHECK OUT YARD & JUMBLE SALES

Maximize jumble and yard sales. I like to stop by these if I see them, but I recognize that often the stuff there is junk. Thus, I’m careful about what I buy and I use clever tactics to find it – and lower the prices. That way, I wind up with a really big bargain – or else I can just walk away with the money in my pocket, having been entertained for a bit.  I can’t remember how many times I’ve walked into a friend’s house and seen a really nice article or piece of furniture and when I ask where they bought it, it turns out it was second-hand!

That’s the freshest five saving tips for May!  If you have any suggestions, please send a mail to my online reputation managers and we’ll do our best to use them.