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5 Things South Africans Overspend On

One of the many causes of having too much debt or not being able to service your debt obligations can be due to overspending. If you’re struggling to pay your debt due to overspending on items you can live without or get cheaper you’re not alone. Overspending is so prevalent in the country, so much so that it is said to be the shocking reason 77% of South African consumers have no money left at the end of each of month.

While some South African’s have the restraint and ability to change their bad spending habits it is often not the case with my consumers. Attempts to cut back on expenses are usually short-lived due to a budget that is already uncomfortably tight.

Even after examining slips with a fine-tooth comb South Africans are still struggling to find ways to cut. Why? Perhaps because some of the things we are overspending on are emotional of nature; things we feel we cannot live without and convincing ourselves to constantly overspend.

You might not realise it but you could be guilty of overspending. If you’re not sure, then check out our list of everyday things you can and should cut back on now:

1. Fast food and premade items

Convenience food items such as snack bars, ready-made meals and sandwiches, in addition to pre-sliced and peeled vegetables and fruits are making consumers’ lives so much easier. However, they are also racking up quite the bill.


Prepare and make it yourself. For e.g. buy your vegetables in bulk, peel, cut and portion into re-usable freezer bags, and freeze. You can even make your own snack bars by buying bulk seeds, nuts, dried fruit, honey etc. As with everything time is always an issue so set aside one morning or afternoon once a month to do all the prep work. You can take the same approach with meals by preparing soups, casseroles etc. in bulk and freezing portions.

2.Bottled water & soda drinks

Yes, sure you deserve that refreshing thirst quencher. But consider the costs for a moment. If you spend R20 a day on a cold drink, water, smoothie or the like, it adds up to R100 a week and R400 a month. Is it really worth it? When many of the time that added sugar is bad for you and is doing more harm than good?


Drink free water at the office, or alternatively buy bulk water and take it to work. If you cannot live without your daily soda fix rather buy your favourite bottle or can in bulk and save on the cost.

We also recommend checking out our post – 12 Ways To Save When On Your Grocery Shopping


You’ve got to love that quick cup at a coffee shop or the take away for the early morning drive to work. And if it is a once a week thing, it is perhaps not such a big deal. A daily paid cup of coffee, however, could cost you around R600 a month. I do realise many of us cannot function without coffee but it doesn’t mean you should pay someone to make you own every time you have a craving or need a pick me up.


Make coffee in a flask for the trip to work. If you want to look forward to a “special” cup, then perhaps buy cappuccino sachets or flavoured coffee – it will still work out cheaper.


Consumers are relying heavily on store credit to fund clothing and other household items they cannot afford. Paying it off over six to 12 months make purchases seem affordable and worth the investment. However, how many times have you bought something on credit while knowing deep down that you would never pay that particular amount if you were paying cash?


Before shopping for new clothes do a stock take of your wardrobe and sell or swap clothing you won’t be wearing again. Give an old dress or outfit new life with a scarf or other accessories. Try and pay off all your accounts and instead allocate a smaller budget towards clothing. This way you can buy something new every month instead of always paying off last year’s purchases.

If your overspending has spun out of control, contact Debt Rescue for the guidance you need to get out of debt and become financially free.

5. Groceries

Grocery shopping for many is seen as a chore and for those who do, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine purchase cycle and buying the same goods regardless of price and not checking out alternatives.


Don’t be fooled by brand names, private label branding or generic brands can save you plenty in the long run especially if its something you purchase regularly. The so-called “No Name” brands of beans or tomato and onion cans can definitely keep the grocery bill in line with your budget.

FMCG brands constantly compete for consumer spending and attention and promotional pricing is used to attract buyers from other prefered brands so you could score even more if you’re willing to switch more often.

Manage your debt effectively

If you still need help with your savings and you’re feeling overwhelmed by your current financial situation, feel free to contact us. To Speak to one our consultants about debt review contact us here.

If you liked this post

For more on bad spending habits check out these posts

  1. Quit These 10 Bad Financial Habits To Avoid Debt
  2. 10 New Years Resolutions Tips For Your Budget
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