It’s not always easy to save money. Once we have a few extra rands in our bank account, the temptation is strong to buy that new dress or jacket or splash out at an expensive restaurant. It may be hard to save, but it’s not impossible. What is impossible is to save money if you don’t have any.
Whether you are in debt and want to get back into the green, or want to start saving for a rainy day, here are some simple habits and tips to help you start saving money right now.
Pay yourself first
This is like the golden rule of saving. No matter what financial books you read, or seminars you attend, you’ll hear this refrain over and over again. But what does it mean? Essentially, it means you need to pay yourself (or your savings account) as if it is a bill. Set up an automatic debit order on your account and aim to pay 10% of your income to yourself, every month, without even thinking about it. What if you have debt? Then the same rule applies: set up a debit order to pay off your debt every month, before spending on anything else.
As soon as money becomes available in your account, the automated payment will go straight into your savings account. If you don’t have the option to think about saving, the chances are better that you will be able to save. Make it an automatic function and the savings will collect slowly and steadily over time.
Review all those hidden charges
It’s easy for all those regular monthly payments to drain your bank account. Regular payments include insurance policies, bank charges, medical aid, electricity, water and car insurance. Review these annually and see where you can cut down any of the unnecessary expenses.
Don’t get rid of any of the essential policies, like life insurance, medical aid and your retirement plan. Instead, ask a financial advisor to help you find better rates that suit your budget. Then, use the money you’ve saved from all these expenses, and add it to your monthly savings debit order as mentioned above.
Eskom’s electricity prices have shot up about 100% in the last 10 years. Even though you can’t do much about the price of electricity, you can save on your bill, by using less electricity every month. A few simple pointers include:
- switching off all appliances at the wall and unplugging them when not in use. This can save up to 6% on electricity and protect your house from potential electric fires!
- setting your geyser water temperature to 60° C. This can save another 6% on your bill.
- showering instead of taking a bath, can save 80% water and use five times less electricity!
- replacing your light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, to use up to six times less electricity.
Cook up a storm
Take-away lunches can cost hundreds of rands. Not only that but take-aways are not as healthy as home-cooked meals. Instead, batch-cook a few healthy meals and freeze them for the week. This way you will save some money and save your health too!
The same rule applies for dining out. Set yourself a limit on how often you eat out every month, and then make it a special date, with a budget. If you plan these ahead, you can still enjoy yourself, without going overboard.
When you have a goal for your savings, you can treat yourself to something nice. Plan to buy yourself a small reward, for each savings goal you achieve. You don’t need to live like a pauper to save money. Treating yourself can be a great motivator, just make sure you stay within your means, and don’t overspend on these little treats.
- HELLO DOCTOR. 24 January 2014. Five easy ways to start saving money, today. Website: https://www.hellodoctor.co.za/five-easy-ways-to-start-saving-money-today/.
- WALL STREET FINANCIAL SERVICES. 23 July 2021. Top 10 tips for saving money in South Africa in 2021. Website: https://www.wallstreetfs.co.za/newsandlifeinsurance/2021/7/22/top-12-tips-for-saving-money-in-south-africa-in-2021#:~:text=Do%20not%20spend%20on%20your,you%20possibly%20can%20every%20month.
- BERKMAN, Elliot T. March 2018. The neuroscience of goals and behavior change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP). 70(1): 28–44. Website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854216/.