Cut Back, Grow a Beard

Cut Back, Grow a Beard

Given high fuel prices and interest rates on the rise, people have less money and are looking for ways to spend less. Cost cutting can and must always start with non-essentials. Cut your DSTV subscription and watch sports teams at your favourite sports bar. For once, your attempt to get a pink slip from the Ministry of Home Affairs will be successful given that you’re cutting the household expense bill by a few hundred rand a month. That’s got to be worth a few trips to the pub!

Apart from that, it becomes harder and harder to see where you can cut costs. You could cycle to work, if that’s an option. Or downgrade your medical insurance policy. Typically when we’re looking to cut costs, we tend to focus on the big ticket items, but that overlooks small and simple things that can be cut. And those savings do add up.

The easiest and perhaps obvious one for most men is to grow a beard, or at the very least reassess your choice of razor. A long time ago, I moved away from Gillette razors because the cost of razors was too much. An 8-pack of Gillette Mach3 blades are going to cost you about R420. That’s a cool R52 per blade. Compare that to R15 for 5 Lion Safety Razors at R3 per blade, that’s nearly a 20x saving. Thankfully, I found a beautiful safety razor that belonged to my grandfather when I was at University. I haven’t looked back since. You too can be saving up to R200 per month.

Bear in mind, that if you’re willing to change or break habits there are potentially massive savings you can find. For example, if you smoke 10 cigarettes per day or 300 cigarettes per month at a cost of R38 per 20-cigarette box (R1.88 per cigarette), this means that your smoking habit costs you R570 per month.

Then there is always the cost of beer to consider. If you’re like me and enjoy a cold beer after a day’s work, then you probably drink on average 6 beers a week (24 beers a month). A case of Castle Light will cost you about R280 per month (or R35 per litre of beer). Now, although there is always the option of drinking less, you could also look to buy your beer cheaper at Makro or via a beer milk service (where they refill your bottles).

At the very least, look at where you shop and where you relax. If you can find alternative options that are closer to where you live at R2 per km, just a 20km saving per week adds up to R160 per month.

None of these things are going to make a huge difference individually, but when you add them up they can make a material difference. What’s important is to recognise the change in mindset that is required. You need to get into the weeds of your spending habits to understand where and how you can cut costs. It’s not a fun place, nobody likes being here, but this is the reality that we have to face. We can only hope that this too shall pass. And when it does, at least we will have better spending habits in place.

Bottom line: cost savings can be found, you just have to look for them!

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Thomas Brennan

Thomas is an engineer with a doctorate in machine learning. When he's not creating solutions for all the problems in the universe, he's likely running, surfing, hiking or climbing.

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