7 fuel-savings tips you should know

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The nationwide lockdown, implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has decreased the kilometres we travel every month. However, fuel prices are not likely to drop drastically in 2021. In fact, the price of petrol has increased steadily since the budget speech in February. Learn how petrol hikes impact your pocket and use our tips to make your money and kilometres go further.

According to the Automobile Association, the current petrol hikes in South Africa can be attributed to an increased optimism surrounding economic recovery as the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines becomes more of a reality. The following also plays a role:

  • The increase in the demand for oil
  • Socio-economic tensions in the Middle East
  • The increase in the fuel levy in South Africa

What is the impact of fuel hikes in SA?

When the price of petrol increases, it affects more than just the amount of fuel you can get per rand. Some ways in which you may be impacted by petrol hikes could include:

Rise in public transport costs
When the price of petrol increases, South Africa’s public transport industry suffers. Not only do the drivers feel the pinch, passengers are also impacted by increased fares for both local and long-distance travel.

Mark-up on grocery prices
The higher the cost of fuel, the pricier it becomes to move produce and other items around the country. As a result, this makes the average monthly groceries for households more expensive.

Small businesses suffer
A bigger budget for petrol and other necessities means a smaller budget for luxuries. This impacts the income of smaller businesses, not only because people are making fewer purchases, but because the cost of supplies increases, too.

How can you save on petrol?

Although fuel hikes and the pinch they bring are inevitable, there are ways to cut down on your petrol usage:

Be prepared
Lastly, always be aware of petrol price hikes so you can budget efficiently. Be sure to make changes to your entire budget and not just your fuel allocation – be mindful of how you spend money and where you can cut back.

For more financial advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


Is it the flu, allergies or COVID-19?

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These days, at the first sign of a cough or stuffy nose, you’re probably wondering about the cause. As we move into winter and prepare for a possible third wave of high COVID-19 infections, it’s normal to worry about confusing allergies or the flu with the coronavirus. Use our guide to help you understand the difference.

While many of us are still battling fears surrounding COVID-19, most people think they know the major symptoms by now. Despite this knowledge, it can be difficult to tell COVID-19 apart from the flu and allergies, since many signs and symptoms overlap.

Here are some of the key differences:

  • COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), while influenza A and B viruses cause the flu.
  • COVID-19 symptoms usually appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, while the appearance of flu symptoms can sometimes be more sudden, within 1 to 4 days.
  • Allergy symptoms are usually ongoing and chronic.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu may include body aches, which aren’t typically associated with allergies.

Do your symptoms indicate COVID-19?

It’s important to note that symptoms may vary, and some people may not experience any symptoms at all.

Common COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of taste or smell

If you suspect you have COVID-19: isolating at home immediately and call your doctor to find out if you should be tested. Get in touch with everyone you’ve been in contact with in the last two weeks to see if they have symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive.

Do your symptoms indicate allergies?

Allergy symptoms depend on the kind of allergy you have as well as, in some cases, the weather. Pollen counts may aggravate your symptoms if you have hayfever. Wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain are usually only experienced if you have asthma.

Common allergy symptoms:

  • Itchiness (the nose, eyes and throat)
  • A runny nose
  • A sore throat or cough due to postnasal drip
  • Congestion
  • A headache due to swollen and blocked sinuses

If you suspect your allergies: Whether you have a history of allergies or are newly diagnosed, it’s important to take your prescribed medication or talk to your doctor about stronger medication. Your doctor may suggest an allergy test to determine the exact source of your allergy or prescribe over-the-counter medication.

Do your symptoms indicate the flu?

Common flu symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

If you suspect you have the flu: Since COVID-19 and flu symptoms are very similar, it’s important to prioritise safety – for you and others. Call your doctor to assess your symptoms. You may be prescribed medication or over-the-counter treatment, and practising social distancing would still be beneficial.

Still not sure if you have COVID-19?

If you still aren’t sure about your symptoms, it’s best to isolate at home, monitor your symptoms and keep in contact with your doctor. If you experience chest pain or difficulty breathing, or have symptoms for more than 10 days, it is advised that you see your doctor immediately.

For more flu-related advice, read this helpful article:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


What does financial success mean to you?

Read time: ±1:20 min.

Think about how good it felt the last time you reached a goal – perhaps you completed a training course that improved your job skills, or you achieved a fitness milestone. Learn what financial achievement is and how to attain it.

Whether at work or in your personal life, any achievement is satisfying. This is because an achievement is only realised after you’ve worked tirelessly to successfully reach your goal.

Financial achievements may include:

  • Sticking to a budget or spending less than you earn
  • Having an emergency fund
  • Paying off credit cards
  • Having a good credit record
  • Becoming debt-free
  • Staying on track with your savings plan

Tips for financial success

Set a goal
You don’t need a complex financial strategy and, as listed above, there are many goals to tick off on your way to financial freedom. Start with something small and once you achieve it, it’ll be easier to move forward with confidence.

Create a plan
Map out the different steps needed to achieve your goal, then take the first one and start to implement your plan. Focus on what you can do right now.

Seek help
Contact your financial coach for guidance to achieve your financial goals. It is free and available for you to use.

For more financial advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a finance professional. E&OE.

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How to handle office politics

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Do you sometimes feel like you’re walking on eggshells around some of your colleagues? Working with a variety of unique personalities can cause tension in the office. Find out what office politics looks like and how to effectively deal with it.

Office politics exists in most workplaces, even virtual ones. A survey by Accountemps revealed that 80% of employees who participated reported office politics in the workplace.

And while some employees will engage in it, others, mainly those with more passive personalities, will avoid getting involved.

What is office politics?

Office politics can be identified by the behaviour and actions of co-workers seeking status and/or power in the office. This pursuit can sometimes be at the expense of others and can create a tense environment.

Office politicians generally do this to achieve goals such as increasing their power, or influencing the company or individuals to reach their objectives.

Office politics includes behaviour such as:

  • Gossiping, including spreading rumours about others
  • Acting in bad faith, for example, a more senior colleague taking credit for your work or criticising you in front of others
  • Operating with inside information, for instance withholding important information from certain colleagues to give yourself the upper hand
  • Excluding certain groups or individuals by ignoring or leaving out a team member because they did a project more efficiently than you
  • Forming alliances with like-minded people or manipulating others to help you reach your objectives
  • Bullying – this would involve behaviour such as threatening, humiliating or intimidating others

Office politics contributes to a toxic work culture, so employees may find it difficult to work comfortably under these conditions. Some may struggle to concentrate, tensions may develop and other workers may even be fearful of getting involved or taking sides.

How to cope with office politics

It can be tempting to stay on the sidelines, but playing an active role in a company is important for your growth and influence at work. For instance, if you’d like to apply for a more senior position or take part in conversations that will affect you, actively participating in a healthy manner and diffusing office politics could help you get there.

This doesn’t mean becoming an office politician yourself, but it’s important to know how to effectively navigate the office. Try the following:

  • Avoid indulging in gossip and bad-mouthing others. If you have an issue with a colleague, rather talk to them directly and involve HR if it’s something serious.
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive. Voice your concerns and communicate when you feel misunderstood or don’t agree with something.
  • Stand up for yourself while acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Respect everyone in the workplace and remember that everyone is different.
  • Concentrate on your duties at work and ensure that your tasks are always done efficiently so that your work speaks for itself.
  • Stay true to your values. For example, if you value honesty and integrity, don’t gossip about others even if your colleagues are doing it. Also, encourage them to stop.
  • Don’t take anything personally and use tact when giving others feedback.
  • Avoid retaliating when a colleague does something inappropriate. Talk to them privately instead to address their behaviour.

For more workplace advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


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