Amidst the current cost of living crisis, many South Africans are trying to cut down on expenses – but five costs may be escaping the attention of even the most attentive South Africans.
“South Africa’s diverse economy and a vast range of industries can make it difficult to keep up with everything one has to look for when trying to manage one’s costs,” experts at Legal&Tax said.
“Many of these hidden costs often lurk in businesses and personal finance and may be challenging to identify, but they can add up and become a significant financial burden.”
With this in mind, here is a breakdown of the five hidden costs being missed by South Africans.
Although many South Africans think that bank accounts are free, there are several hidden costs that add up over time.
This includes ATM withdrawals, bank transfers, and monthly account fees, making it crucial that South Africans read the fine print of their bank accounts or speak to a bank’s customer service representative.
Despite credit cards offering attractive rewards and cashback programmes, they make their money through interest charged on outstanding balances.
“If you carry a balance on your credit card, you could end up paying much more in interest charges than you received in rewards. It’s crucial to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to avoid these fees and to do it as soon as possible,” Legal&Tax said.
It is crucial to note that repayments go up when interest rates do.
Many South Africans think their insurance premiums are fixed, but they can grow over time due to inflation, lifestyle changes, and general insurance industry shifts.
Thus, South Africans must go through their insurance policies or phone their provider.
The industry also has a policy called Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), which tries to address this problem.
Cell phone and internet bills can go up quickly as many think that they are fixed. Like the aforementioned costs, it is necessary for customers to go through their monthly bills to check for changes.
“For example, you may be paying for services that you don’t need, such as premium TV channels or data bundles that you don’t use. If you’re not sure, speak to your telecoms provider and ask them to explain any charges that you don’t understand,” Legal&Tax said.
Despite intensified load shedding, South African electricity bills have actually gone up,
These bills are extremely dependent on usage patterns and the appliances that are used.
“You may be using more electricity than you need to due to inefficient appliances or leaving lights on when you’re not in the room. It’s essential to be mindful of your electricity usage and take steps to reduce your consumption where possible,” the experts said.