It's tough people!! I'm sure I don't have to tell YOU that. But it's funny how we sometimes think it's only us that's feeling the financial pinch, when in fact, everyone is. Your friends. Your neighbour. Your drinking buddy. That rude oke at work. We're all feeling the pinch and have been for the past 12 months. Hardly anyone is receiving any salary increases at work and yet monthly expenses are rising fast. I must admit, financially - things are tough, and living within your means is a lot harder than it sounds.
My wife and I really do try. But then the car steering wheel gave problems - R3,100. Then the gear box packed up - R11,800. Then the licences' expired - R740. Then a SARS payment - R7,200. Electricity has gone up monumentally! Petrol has shot up by 40% over the past 4 years....and it's still rising. With the exchange rate shooting up over R10 to the US dollar, our petrol is going to jump even higher and will hit the R13.00 a litre hurdle in the next few days, which in turn will raise the prices of our food. I don't mean to be funny, but a loaf of bread, a 2lt Milk, some vegetables, some mince and 2 minute Noodles came to over R120 the other night!
Think about that for a moment. If you have 2 kids like we do, a 2lt Milk and a loaf of bread only lasts 2 days. Those two items cost R17.99 and R11.99 respectively. Our family is spending R450 a month on milk and bread. That's without putting anything on the bread yet! A jar of peanut butter and margarine will set you back a further R60. I could literally go on and on....!! Luxury items like a TEX or a packet of CHEESE CURLS are further and further away...It's tough people. It's really tough.
I did something naughty the other day. I was behind a 45 year old guy at the ATM. He finished drawing money and walked off. He left his slip behind. I glanced at it and almost fell over. He withdrew R300. He was withdrawing it from his credit card account with was R135,000 IN THE RED!!. And I thought I had problems. I turned back to take a look at this guy, but it was too late. He had climbed into his white BMW, a 2010 model I think, and drove off.
Don't fool yourselves either - those that look like they haven't got problems because they still buying clothes, driving smart cars and eating out - the majority is on credit. They spending the bank's money. They just not sure how to curve their lifestyles to within their budgets. Did you know that58% of people are in over 3 months arrears with at least one account. That's scary!
I don't see the pinch ending any time soon. It's tough and it seems to be getting tougher. I just keep reminding myself and my wife that we need to stay on top of things - don't spend more than what we earn, live within our means and be very wise with our spending - when the car breaks and other things come up which we can't control - it's in those times where we trust the Lord even more. I can't imagine anything changing unless He changes it. Because right now it's seriously pear-shaped!