Today marks day 1 of the 3-week lockdown in South Africa, due to the Covid 19 outbreak. A nightmare of uncertainty and madness, that none of us seem to be waking up from. Two deaths have been recorded so far and it’s clear that things will never be the same again! Despite this, there is some good news for your money. YES, I said it, some good damn news!

In the words of the Chinese general and military strategist; Sun Tzu, “In the midst of Chaos, there is always opportunity”. If you look past the fear and uncertainty, if you can be brave, sensible and patient, you can seize some opportunities, make some savings and build new financial habits during the next 21 days.

Travelling – Uyaphi, stay home!

Our so called mothers man Crush; Minister Fikile Mbalula, put up the most hilarious image as his header earlier in the week.

Loosely translated as, “What do you want on the streets”. A reminder for all citizens to adhere to the lockdown rules. It sucks to not be able to move freely. However, most of us will save money because we won’t be travelling much or spending on fuel. This can translate into a massive savings. To sweeten things, the petrol price is also set to drop during the lockdown, according to the Automobile Association (AA). Petrol will drop by approximately R2.18 a litre, diesel by R1.65 cents and illuminating paraffin by R1.98. How do you plan to use this saving?

Groceries – Damn, panic buying

I’m ashamed to admit that I kinda sorta panicked over the last couple of days and stocked up on essentials. I reigned myself in, when I saw a woman with enough toilet paper in her trolley to be s#@ting for the next 2 years. Like most people, I was smart enough to stock up on goodies that have a long shelf life, like canned goods, washing powder and cleaning liquids. If we get through these 21 days and the curve begins to flatten, perhaps life can go back to normal, sooner rather than later. If that happens, I will still have essentials left and be able to mark some goods off my shopping list in the coming months. Giving me some extra money from not having to spend on those goods.

Weekends – Zero Mcimbi

With this lock down, we won’t be visiting some of our favourite clubs, markets and shisha names in and around Johannesburg. As a result, we won’t be spending money on overpriced alcohol or needing to spurge on new outfits to keep killing elm with some drip on the streets. More money in the bank but some tough and very boring weekends ahead.

Shares – Time to make some money babies

The global markets have taken a massive right hook in the last 2 weeks, leaving many South African companies bruised and bloodied. During the first week of March, the price earnings ratio (the share price divided by company profit per share) had fallen to almost 20% below its average level over the past decade. Insane! A week ago, Capital’s share price dropped by a massive 28% in a single session at around R800. Yesterday, the share price closed at R1030.56. A recovery has begun.

If you have ever wanted to start investing in shares, this Coved 19 global outbreak has just presented you with a massive opportunity to pick up shares for cheaper. If you have the risk appetite, some chunkuras to invest, time on your hands and some knowledge, you should be investing in equities, exchange traded funds and companies abroad. Planting your money seeds!

A time to skill yourself – what is your money currently doing for you?

This lockdown also gives us all an opportunity to learn and evaluate our spending habits, budgets and credit scores. There are numerous South African personal finance books, blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos that can help us to better understand our money and to position it to work for us.

Yes, things are bad, but there is certainly some light and opportunities for you to save, invest, learn and start adopting some new money habits. You can spend this time being absolutely miserable or being a bit optimistic! What has this crisis taught you about your money and the way you handle it? What changes could you possibly make when life goes back to some sort of normality?

Also spare a thought and give a helping hand to the numerous South Africans who could not stock up on essentials or do not have a place to rest their heads during this difficult time. The most vulnerable!

Stay safe, stay home and keep those hands clean.