You may feel that you aren’t earning enough to get through the month, let alone save money. However, if you put away as little as R20 a week, it can make a difference when it really matters. Saving is not as hard as you think – you just need to tweak a few habits and commit to it.
The peace of mind that comes with knowing you have money put away can be worth some of the sacrifices that you may need to make. Plus, if you are clever with your savings, you could make some of your big life goals a reality.
Here are a few good tips on how to save some money:
- Set up a budget
This comes up a lot, but it’s impractical to want to save successfully if you have no budget in place. You may need to tweak it a bit to facilitate your savings, but if you adjust a few expenses here and there, you will be surprised at what you can save. There are many apps and online templates that can help you create your budget, so no excuses! Once you have your budget in place, stick to it carefully. The ‘future you’ will thank you for it.
- Save before you spend
When your monthly or weekly money arrives in your account, put away the amount you have committed to saving before you have a chance to spend and your debit orders go off. To make it easier, automate the process. Your savings amount can be deducted automatically, and you won’t even have to think about it.
- Pay off debt first
It’s harder to save money when you are paying off debt, so get rid of debt as soon as possible. Start by paying off any credit card debt, since this has the highest interest rates, and store cards – these can drain you of your income and paying them off should be your highest priority. Follow that by putting any extra money into your car or home loan.
- Be more aware of how you spend your money
Where does your money go? Can you account for any extra income you earned, or even where most of your salary went last month? If you are committed to saving, it’s important to be mindful of where and how you spend your money. Draw up shopping lists and stick to them and give yourself a day or two before giving into any spontaneous urges to spend. Keep a close eye on your bank account, make sure you know what your bank fees are and take advantage of online tools and apps that track your spending.
- Set goals
If you’re unsure how much to save, set some goals for the short, medium and long term. Then, work out realistic timelines in which to achieve these goals. Next, you should figure out how much money you need to save each month for them to happen within that particular time frame. Knowing your goals and being excited about making them happen is a surefire way to encourage saving. If you know that each unplanned splurge will jeopardise this goal, you will find yourself less likely to pull out the credit card.
- Protect yourself and your savings
Ensuring you have affordable services, like insurance and medical aid, will help you budget and protect you from any major payouts, should the need arise. For example, if you have a fender bender on your way to work, affordable car insurance will protect you from having to pay out a large sum to fix the damage to your own and someone else’s car. Don’t let life’s little accidents get in the way of your savings goals.
By making small but consistent changes, you will be amazed at how much you can save. If you do slip up, don’t be disheartened. Simply recommit your mind and carry on the next month.
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