When the Going Gets Tough…

Is the FUEL HIKE pouring fuel on your fire while you’re already barely scraping by? South Africa has fallen on tough economic times, that’s for sure. And experts predict that fuel hikes might worsen in the months to come. The important question you have to ask yourself is: What to do now?

Matthys Potgieter, spokesperson and debt expert at DebtSafe, says: “When the going gets tough, you need to get going.” But how do you do that exactly? “You need to get some perspective – improve your budget and plan better,” states Potgieter.

Assuming the average fuel tank for consumers is between 40 to 60 litres, with the increase of 44 cents a litre for diesel and 67 cents for petrol, diesel users can pay up to R26.40 more per tank while petrol users can pay up to a nail-biting R40.20 extra.

This is where planning comes in. You have to add extra money for your monthly fuel usage this month as well as the upcoming months. And you have to also take into account that a fuel hike has an influence on your private and public transport. Think about your direct line of people it affects: individuals that work for you and family members (students for example) that need to use a vehicle or other form of transportation.

DebtSafe asked a few workers at the office about transport costs and they already pay up to R2000 a month for public transport trips (depending on a direct trip or not). The fuel hike basically has an effect on everybody and other things like food prices as well. “Plus, low-income groups get affected by the increase of paraffin prices,” adds Potgieter.

The most important thing you can do to keep your budget intact is to cut back on the nice to haves. A quick evening out can easily cost you R200 (per person) – which can cover the increase for a few tanks of fuel. Here are other tips to consider:

  • If you have to drive a long distance to go to work, join a lift club – it will save you extra money as everybody ‘clubs’ together to pay the fuel.
  • If you have to travel during the coming holidays and friends or family members are also driving from your area to the same destination, drive together in two cars instead of three, for example.
  • Avoid toll routes where possible and take alternative roads instead.
  • Make use of your rewards systems (if you have any) to fuel your car, like FNB or Discovery, for example.
  • Make use of convenient phone apps like fuellog or fillapp to regulate your fuel usage as well as saving money by knowing when to fill your tank.
  • Remember diesel is not regulated, so if you need to fill your tank with diesel, have a bit of patience and do your homework on which fuel stations to use, beforehand.
  • Check your tyre pressure regularly to improve fuel efficiency.

Maybe you should sweat the ‘small stuff’ by getting some action steps in place, as ‘teeny habits’ do make a difference. You’ll make the big things (like fuel hikes) seem a little less scary for yourself.  Although the fuel hike is a huge blow for your pocket, you don’t have to throw in the towel – GET GOING.

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