FILE PHOTO. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has just emerged from a recession but economists expect some volatility in the economy for a while yet. 

Consumers need to take a closer look at their finances and consider where they can save more and spend less. But what actual strategies can South Africans implement to keep their heads above water in these tough economic times?

Financial planner Marc Joubert advises that those wanting a clear understanding of how to plan for their future must understand what they’re working with now.
 
“If you’re not already sticking to a budget, start one now. Initially it will be painful to see your spending habits, but eventually it will lead to a more disciplinary attitude towards your wallet. You might also find that you’re spending unnecessarily on some things and can use that cash elsewhere,” Joubert said. 
 
He further explained that it is also important not to take on new debt, be it clothing accounts or loans. "If the repo rate rises, it will hit your pocket hard and you’ll end up paying a lot more interest," Joubert advised.
 
He further said, “Rainy days happen to us all. Accidents, such as a burst geyser, can happen anytime. If you have savings tucked away, then it won’t be necessary to get a loan and cause yourself worse long-term strain.”
 
While some expenses are unavoidable, such as household appliances packing up, Joubert said that looking at the 'rent-to-own’ (RTO) option should be considered.   

 RTOs give consumers the freedom of not being “locked in” to a contract. With RTOs, you can cancel at any time with no cost. 
 
Companies such as Teljoy offer consumers the opportunity to rent beds, refrigerators, furniture and even tech devices such as tablets and cellphones. 
 
The company’s CEO , Rami Sassen, said, “The monthly rental price is inclusive of delivery and installation, a maintenance programme and risk cover, and probably most notably, a single monthly fee that does not automatically increase with interest rates.” 
 
The RTO option is useful for students and young professionals who don’t want to tie themselves into contracts when their financial future is unclear.  Whatever you choose, remember that times are going to be turbulent for a while and it might just get worse. But you can weather this storm if you work wisely with your wallet.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE