friends washing a car

5 things that you are paying for that you could do yourself

By 1Life savings issue  September 25, 2018

Looking to save some money? Consider these five DIY activities.

South Africans have become particularly adept at tightening our belts. We’ve worked out how to shop comparatively, cut our budgets down and reduce our reliance on expensive or wasteful items. Another area that will allow us to keep our bank accounts healthy is doing things for ourselves, instead of paying someone else to do them.

Here are five things that you can easily (or fairly easily) do for yourself to save a load of cash.

1. Beauty treatmentsLook, we all enjoy a bit of a pamper from time to time, but honestly, do you really need to spend R200 just to have your nails looking shiny? Do your nails in front of the TV and save yourself a packet. You’ll also probably save your nails – salon buffing and polish removing tends to leave them thin, dry and brittle. So, while a home job might not leave you with quite the shine and sheen you’ve come to expect from your favourite salon, you’ll be richer for it.


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If you are really brave, you could even try home waxing. We wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair, but you could trim your fringe and let the full haircut wait for next month. Or check out these other tips for saving on beauty.

What you save:
A basic mani costs around R200, while a full leg wax is R250.

2. Home repairsThe very definition of DIY, doing home repairs yourself can save you a fortune in fees. In this area, YouTube is your friend, offering you tutorials on changing light switches, replacing washers in taps, or painting a room.

A word of caution, though: Before you get started, make sure you have at least a fairly good idea of what you are doing. If you end up having to pay someone to undo your shoddy work, you’ll lose money rather than save it.

What you save:
For basic home repairs or painting, you will pay a labourer R200 to R300 a day. More advanced services like plumbing and electric work will often cost R600 just for the call-out fee.

3. Wash your carWhile it might be great fun to drive through a carwash sipping a latte, washing your own car can bring big satisfaction and savings. As an added bonus, kids love the process – it involves water and soap and splashing – so you can turn a chore into fun family time as part of the bargain.

Just remember, many parts of South Africa are still experiencing water restrictions, so wash with a bucket and cloth, and don’t leave that hose running!

What you save:
A basic wash and vacuum costs about R100 and you’ll pay even more for a more comprehensive car wash with detailing.

4. Make your own food productsYou can spend a fortune on gourmet food items like mayo, muesli and hummus, but you can easily make those yourself. Look online for an easy recipe and start experimenting in the kitchen. You’ll save yourself a fortune, and you may even find a new hobby.

You can even whip up a passable cappuccino with one of those little hand frothers, if you get the knack.

What you save:
A bottle of mayo will cost you R50 in the stores - but you can make it at home for the price of some oil and a couple of eggs.

A tub of hummus will cost you R30, while a tin of chickpeas costs half that, and all you need to add is oil and spices.

A packet of muesli will cost around R50, but you can cut that cost to suit your budget by deciding what you put into your very own breakfast crunch recipe.

And if you go pro with the cappuccino frother, you can save yourself R30 per cuppa.

5. Do your own taxesIt’s lovely to hand over a pile of documents to an accountant at the end of the tax year and wait to hear how big your tax refund will be. But what’s even lovelier is not having to pay the accountant’s bill. Doing your taxes is a relatively simple process if you do it through SARS e-filing, or for a reduced price with the help of TaxTim. Here’s some essential info on tax returns to help you.

What you will save:
An accountant can charge between R1 000 and R2 000 to do a simple income tax return, whereas e-filing is free, and a basic return through TaxTim is R284.

There you have it!DIY takes time – of course it does – but if you can find a way to work these activities into your daily life, you can save yourself a fortune, and feel great about your enterprising spirit as part of the deal.

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