Tightening our belts is nothing new – although more so now than ever before. Essentials are costing the ordinary man in the street dearly and there is no time quite like the present to make ta couple of radical adjustments.

If you are planning to make your money go further do your homework to find out how you can make some really positive changes in the coming year – start off by unpacking your insurance and other necessary expenses.

Here are seven smart tips to make your rand stretch further in the forthcoming year (and the years ahead):

  • Check your short-term insurance provider for no claims and that you are rewarded accordingly. Stay informed as the rewards system might have changed and you could lose some benefits or there may well even be new benefits added.
  • Your car depreciates annually – find out if your premiums are charged accordingly in relation to the depreciation value of your vehicle.
  • If you have improved the safely measures for your property – both your business and personal property as well as that of your vehicles, remember that your premiums should cost less.
  • Improve your premiums by increasing your excess – this is another smart saver provided you are able to fork out the excess should you need to cough up that amount.
  • Other ways to stretch your budget and cut back on your insurance premiums could also depend on a driver’s risk profile, the value as well as the age, make and model of the vehicle and the risk of theft – investigate these and ensure you drive safely and apply the necessary or even think about replacing your present car.
  • When it comes to your medical aid it might be a good idea to find out which doctors and hospitals as well as other service providers belong to your medical fund as your medical aid would have negotiated special rates with their network suppliers and the savings will be passed directly onto you.
  • If you use generic versions of prescribed medicines you could save as much as up to 30% – at least 73% of chronic medicines in SA can easily be substituted with generics – and across the globe this figure is as much as 80%!
  • Use your medical aid’s preventive benefits such as mammograms, cholesterol and diabetes testing amongst other preventative measures as they will save both on money and even your life.

Choose no-name brands, make use of loyalty programmes and shop around for cheaper insurance to make your rand stretch further this year. Compare the unit prices of products in a variety of sizes as the most popular ones and not always the largest ones give you the biggest savings.

Always shop with a shopping list and stick to it – if you don’t need it then you don’t have to buy it just because it is on special offer.

Make this the year of thinking out of the box as far as savings are concerned – you will be pleasantly surprised at how much small savings can make a big impact on your pocket.