Do not feel defeated

EXPERT: Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at DebtSafe.

IF there is one characteristic that can be linked to South Africans, it would definitely be endurance. It is true that consumers can expect a few price hikes this year, starting with the fuel price increase, but that should not dampen their spirits. Consumers have undergone a lot in 2016, and 2017 should be a time of new beginnings. By grabbing every (good or bad) situation by the horns, consumers can make it a memorable and worthy 2017.

According to a media statement that was released on December 29 by the Central Energy Fund on behalf of the Department of Energy, substantial price increases for all types of fuel came into effect on January 4:

• Petrol 93 (ULP &LRP) 50 cents per litre increase in retail price.

• Petrol 95 (ULP & LRP) 48 cents per litre increase in retail price.

• Diesel (0.05% Sulphur) 39 cents per litre increase in wholesale price.

• Diesel (0.005% Sulphur) 37 cents per litre increase in wholesale price.

• Illuminating Paraffin (Wholesale) 43 cents per litre increase in wholesale price.

• Illuminating Paraffin (SMNRP) 58 cents per litre increase in the Single Maximum National Retail price (SMNRP).

• Maximum Retail Price for LPGAS 106 cents per kilogramme increase in the maximum retail price.

Some of the main motives for the fuel price adjustments are due to:

• The contribution of the Rand/US Dollar exchange rate. The Rand strengthened very slightly against the US Dollar from R13.91 to R13.87, on average, during the period under review when compared to the previous one.

• The increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin, on average, in the international markets during the period under review.

• Adjustment to the Octane Differential between 95 and 93 Octane.

Although these above increases make budgets a bit tighter, Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at DebtSafe, says it is not as bad as it looks. If you have a 45-litre petrol tank that you need to fill, for example, don’t waste a few extra bucks on that daily coffee (approximately R20) or bought lunches – choose wisely to rather save it for an extra litre of fuel. Olivier says there are quite a few ways to save on your fuel usage:

  • If you have to drive a long distance to go to work, join a lift club – it is much cheaper as everybody clubs together to pay the fuel.
  • Don’t drive to different shopping centres to buy your groceries. Choose one outlet or one mall closest to home – you will save those extra miles on your car and fuel usage will be less.
  • Start making use of your rewards systems (if you have any), for example, if you belong to FNB or Discovery.
  • Make use of a convenient phone app like fillapp to regulate your fuel usage as well as saving money by knowing when to fill up your tank.
  • If you use diesel ]be aware that diesel is not regulated, so do your homework and know which fuel station offers a better price on diesel.
  • Make sure you check your tyre pressures regularly (at least once every two weeks) to improve fuel efficiency.

Don’t feel defeated by new increases such as the fuel upsurges. Make use of these tips and take the load off where and whenever you can.

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Elzaan Pienaar

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