Surviving the ever increasing fuel cost in South Africa

How to survive the increasing fuel price

Wow, the fuel price has surged up in South Africa over the past 5 years and we’re currently hitting all time highs that I’m sure you’re not ready for! However, it’s not just fuel, it’s the general cost of living with rentals, groceries, clothing and pretty much everything going up! How do you keep afloat in these tough times and with the increasing fuel price?

Take a listen to the Cape Talk radio interview on this.

I found the fuel price history on the Automobile Association of South Africa website. These figures are all inland per litre costs for Petrol Unleaded 93.

3 Sep 2014 – R13.27
2 Sep 2015 – R12.32
7 Sep 2016 – R11.90
6 Sep 2017 – R13.49
5 Sep 2018 – R15.86

The price is volatile and sometimes goes down but generally goes up. This year has had a lowest price of R13.54 which didn’t last too long and the past few months have had increase after increase. It’s also interesting to know that for each litre we buy R3.37 goes towards the General Fuel Levy and R1.93 to the RAF (Road Accident Fund). Thus R5.30 towards taxes from every litre of fuel!

Practical tips to find extra money for increasing fuel price

So when fuel prices along with living costs increase at a higher rate than our salaries, how on earth do we manage to keep our budget the same? Surely we need to cut down on things, but what, and how?

Test out public transport

I tried this out a few months ago when I was deciding whether to sell my car or not. In my specific case public transport (minibus taxis) work out more expensive for me as I only need to commute a short distance. However, it’s definitely worth trying it out for a full week to see what it costs and whether you’ll be able to get to work on time and how much inconvenience it really is.

Try to carpool

Carpooling may cause a little inconvenience but you should be able save on the increasing fuel price! Whether you make arrangements with your partner to use one car or whether you find someone at work who lives nearby, it’s definitely worth trying out. Document the experience so that you can compare the costs and inconvenience.

Negotiate a better insurance premium or get a new quote

I’ve written about this recently but it’s definitely worth checking your insurance premiums and comparing it to other companies. I am really liking Naked Insure and I would suggest you try the online quote (it is super easy and fast!).

But whether you change insurers or simply negotiate a better deal, you can almost certainly save a bit of money in this area.

Look for unnecessary subscriptions / services

Did you listen to the interview with Tebogo on how he found extra money? It’s a simple exercise of going through your statements and analysing all the services and memberships you pay for. Have a look at whether you really need them all. From gym memberships, cellphone contracts, TV packages, internet bundles, online subscriptions, etc.

Analyse your credit card fees and decide if you need all the cards you have

Each credit card and bank card comes with associated fees and it’s really not worth paying an annual membership fee for multiple cards when you can probably do with just one. Have a look at the fees involved for your various cards and bank accounts and see whether you can’t save by simply closing some accounts. It may seem like a small amount but every little bit counts and if you add up the few hundred rands here and there it suddenly works out to be a lot!

Track your expenses and find areas of wastage

Help, where's my money?

Use this workbook to track where your money is going and make a concerted effort to stop wasting money on unnecessary items. It’s very easy to spend money without really consciously thinking about how it’s affecting the budget (if you even have a budget).

It’s a good idea to spend a few days consciously tracking each and every expense to see where your money is really going.

Closing thoughts

When times are tough one unfortunately just has to tighten your belt and tighten up the budget. It can be hard to change your spending habits but it’s a matter of prioritising your needs and making sure that you get the best possible value from all your services, memberships & policies. Make time for your money and make the best of what you have.


  1. I am surprised that the price has only increased by less than 5% per year since 2014 (R13.27 to R15.86 per litre over 4 years ~= 4.9% per year)
    Feels like it’s been a lot worse than that!

    1. Yea. But I think it’s because it jumps up and down each month that it’s hard to really keep track. It just feels like it’s increasing when in fact it does sometimes come down.

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