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Under pressure: An expert shows this man how to budget monthly to buy a home

A man, his dog and his cash-shy budget. Picture: Pinto Art/Unsplash

A man, his dog and his cash-shy budget. Picture: Pinto Art/Unsplash

Published Jul 27, 2022


Steven, 39, has been in sales for 15 years. He is single, although dating, and has no dependants.

When he got a dog he decided to upgrade his car to a four-wheel drive for weekends away and to take his dog around during the week. He says the circles he moves in come with a certain pressure to have a certain image, even if he can’t afford it.

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“I can’t be seen in a small, old car. It’s hard out there and we are constantly judged by appearances. Yes, my priority is my dog, but I also feel I have to keep up with the Jones’s, so to speak. I am not stupid. I know what I am doing.

“I don’t own a home – but it is my dream to – however it’s difficult as while I do get a small salary I am commission dependent and getting a bond is not easy. And also because I really have zero savings for a deposit let alone for transfer fees.

“I don’t come from wealth, we all have had to fend for ourselves from young, and these things like my car, make me feel I have made it. I know I haven't … yet. And one day I dream of owning my own home for me and my dog.”

NAME: Steven


AGE: 39

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LIVES IN (AREA): Atlantic seaboard, Cape Town.


INCOME: Varies. On average R40 000 – R45 000, depending on sales.

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Personal Loans

Vehicle R7 800

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Credit Card R5 000

Groceries R6 000 (Woollies all the way)

Transport R1 700 (a full tank – work covers part of this)

Rent R15 000

Electricity R1 000

Insurance R2 500

Medical Aid R1 700

Entertainment/eat out R3 000 – R5 000

Pet R1 400 a month

Data/Fibre R500

Telephone/Cell: R800

Gifts/supporting others: R250

Other expenses: R1 500 (housekeeper)


If Steven would like to buy a house he will have to find ways to save towards a deposit as this will make him look more favourable to a bank.

Since he is a single man with a dog and no children there is no need for a big gas-guzzling four-wheel drive.

He should trade his car in for a smaller model, that uses less petrol and is also less to pay off. He could save at least R3 000 here on a smaller car.

By cutting out on some of his entertainment he could save money. Groceries at R6 000 for one person is excessive. Steven could look for sale items when he shops. All these changes could potentially save him a few thousand, and still maintain his standard of living.

Marlyn Pillay, a consultant at ooba Home Loans, suggests that Steven get rid of credit card debt. Credit card debt can be crippling and it’s a difficult cycle to break. In fact Steven should speak to his bank about lowering his overdraft limit to limit temptation.

Pillay also suggests that whether it’s bank charges, medical aid or a cellphone contract, there are a number of ways to reduce recurring monthly expenses.

“Many people assume that these rates are static, but a phone call to your insurance company to say you’re unhappy with your premium can quickly change that,” she says.

A good tip is to have a cellphone contract with an airtime and data limit to avoid overspending.

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