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Be brave and budget

Be brave and budget

In a nutshell: Drawing up a budget is easy – just follow these three steps. 

1 Understand your spending habits

First, figure out what you are spending your money on. Is it airtime, eating out with friends or supporting family members? Track your spending for a month or two by making use of an online budget tracking tool, your bank app’s tracking tool or pen and paper.  

2 List your income and expenses

As you list your expenses, differentiate between “Must pay”, “Needs and Wants” and “The right thing to do”.

Here’s a list of typical types of income and expenses to guide you. Click here to have some fun with our Manage your Moolah infographic.


  • Net salary (your net pay after deductions like PAYE/UIF etc.)
  • Side hustle (selling sarmies or samoosas in your neighbourhood for extra cash)


Must pay

Expenses that you are obliged to pay to keep a roof over your head or which, if left unpaid, would affect the quality of your life and probably your credit rating.

  • Income tax (only if you are self-employed)
  • Rent
  • Student loan repayments
  • Municipal rates and taxes (if you own a house)
  • Water and electricity
  • Property levies
  • Debt repayments
  • Bank charges
  • Car insurance
  • Car repayment
  • Mobile phone contract

The right thing to do

Expenses you should incur if you can afford them.

  • Retirement fund
  • Household insurance
  • Income protection insurance
  • Critical illness insurance
  • Medical scheme/hospital plan
  • Additional gap cover
  • Medical expenses not covered by your medical scheme
  • Support for family members

Add a savings goal

Write down your savings goals – what is it you are saving towards?

  • Emergency savings fund (for unexpected expenses)
  • Additional voluntary retirement savings
  • Medium-term goal: Going on holiday
  • Medium-term goal: Other (new smart TV or smartphone)
  • Long-term goal: Buying assets (such as a home or rental property)
  • Long-term goal: Education (money for my studies or that of a family member)
  • Long-term goal: Other

Needs and Wants

You can decide how you want to tackle this section. If you have a lot of willpower you can allocate specific amounts to each category, but that means if you allocate R500 for electricity and three quarters into the month your budget is spent, you’re going to have to sit in the dark until the end of the month or pinch some money from the other categories. Rather allocate an amount to the spending group as a whole. It uses way less brain power.

  • Fuel
  • Groceries
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Internet
  • Phone data
  • Cleaning services
  • Home maintenance
  • Garden services
  • Health products
  • Own education
  • Self-care
  • Clothing
  • Gym membership
  • Sporting expenses
  • Digital television subscriptions
  • Other subscriptions
  • Spares and repairs
  • Takeaways and restaurants
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Weekend away

3 Work out what you can afford and stick to it!

Your expenses cannot exceed your income. Allocate amounts to all your expenses or groups of expenses within this framework. Work out what you can afford, then tailor your life accordingly.  

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