Money Hack: COVID money reflections

In Latest, Money hacks by De Wet De Villiers

I was experiencing a work crisis (people management has its ups and downs) when I realised that the COVID pandemic has taught me some valuable lessons.

Financial management is equally important in business and in life

I resigned from an extremely well-paying job and moved back to Cape Town to help grow a business in an industry dominated by top tier legal and audit firms. I would never have been able to make that decision if it weren’t for The Fat Wallet Show. The show gave me the necessary intellectual and emotional skills to halve my living expenses, be cool with the idea of living in a smaller house and not feel pressured by my peers.

Those same lessons can be applied to businesses. I keep our overheads low, ensure we can survive for three months with no income and I don’t try to compete with the big boys when it comes to offices and fancy client events. With these principles in place, we are still operating at full capacity, probably have enough cashflow to cover all our costs for the next four to six months and can focus our money on strategic spend during this time to ensure we come out stronger.

Joy comes from the least expected places

My wife and I have come to love our tiny house. Who would have thought a smaller home could lead to more happiness? During lockdown it’s been especially convenient to manage the house on our own. We’ve been doing all the gardening and cleaning ourselves since moving to Cape Town. We realised what a horror show our house in Gauteng—three times the size of our current home—would have been in this time.

Level 5 lockdown also made it clear which one of us is the introvert and which one the socialite. Apparently I enjoy speaking to (and seeing) people more than I care to admit. It seems my monthly coffee shop bill (also known as my social subscription package) had quite the impact on my wallet. I tended to have client meetings, networking functions and general get-togethers with anyone I found interesting. More often than not, the meetings were not purely business-related. I was spending time with interesting people who could get excited about the same topics that excite me.

These meetings also had a great mental impact. In Gauteng I was constantly busy being busy. I had limited time for friends. In Cape Town I often just pop by a friend’s office for a quick chat or to offload. I can be there for my friends in a way that wouldn’t have been possible if I had still lived in Gauteng.

Helping people, being there for people, making connections and solving problems is what fuels me. Lockdown makes this hard. Zoom meetings are tiring and reading the actual tension in the air is not possible.

Time has no replacement

Upon moving to Cape Town, I started taking the bus to work. I hate driving and wanted to save on fuel. I’ve come to realise time spent on the bus listening to my favourite podcasts was less productive than working from home or driving to work in off-peak periods.

Often we make a decision to replace things we dislike with something less productive. This sucks time from your day you could have spent working out in your new garage gym. I now enjoy my daily dose of podcasts while lifting weights. It’s a win-win scenario. The boss of the house has agreed that the garage gym can stay.

When all of this is over, I’ll probably only go to the office once or twice a week. I’ll spend the rest of the time working from home or the local coffee shops.

Being home more has made me realise that 24 hours is actually plenty to do what needs to be done, providing we get rid of the stuff we feel we have to do.


Each week, we receive incredible money hacks from a growing audience. In this blog, we share our favourites and why we love them. If you are a financial Master of Efficiencies, share your money tips with us by sending an email to hacks@justonelap.com. This excellent piece was written by De Wet de Villiers, known to some as the King of the Tax Elves. You can find De Wet at ajmtax.co.za.

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