Get the Savings Habit this July – it’s Savings MonthTimes are tough for many South Africans at the moment, with the price of many goods and services increasing significantly. You’ll no doubt have noticed this each time you fill up your car or go grocery shopping. With July being Savings Month, we wanted to share our top tips on how to save more, even when you find your salary or wages being stretched. Saving money is a little like trying to live a healthier lifestyle – even small changes can make a big difference.
Why saving matters
Life can be unpredictable, and you never know when you might need some extra cash. If you’ve managed to build up some savings, you’ll be better prepared in an emergency – for example, unexpected medical bills for a family member. Saving can also help you avoid costs – if you save up for a major purchase like furniture, you can buy it in cash rather than on credit. That means no interest to pay.
Know where your cash goes
The first step towards being better at saving is to understand what you spend your money on. Some costs are unavoidable, like rent or bond payments, and bills. Other spending can be reduced – this is what we call “discretionary spending” – for example, clothes, going out, takeaway meals. Create a simple budget and track your spending to help you keep on top of it. This will help you identify other ways to save.
If you drink, smoke or vape, these are other areas where you can make savings – and you’ll also be improving your health. As you can see, a lot of possible savings come from making lifestyle choices. This could be as simple as not going to after-work drinks as often, cooking at home rather than ordering in, and taking lunch to work rather buying expensive sandwiches on your lunchbreak.
Make the change
Once you’ve identified the ways in which you’re overspending, you can start to make real savings. Takeaway coffees are one habit you could kick, and that could save you at least R150.00 per week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to R7 500.00 that you’ve saved.
Save money at home
Energy bills are a big expense for many families, but even here, you can make savings by switching off lights and other devices that you’re not using. Try running your geyser for less time each day, or taking showers instead of baths (a shower uses less hot water).
When you travel to work or run errands, think carefully about your route so that you pay less in taxi fares, or use less fuel. Try walking for short distances, if you feel comfortable doing that.
Be a savvy shopper
Make a list before you go shopping – and stick to it! Don’t be tempted by “special offers” unless they are something that you were going to buy anyway. Use rewards cards and loyalty schemes to collect points and save even more.
Review all your policies
If you have medical aid or insurance policies, spend some time checking them to see if there are savings you could make by changing your level of cover, or switching to a different provider. This is especially important if you’ve not looked at your policies in a while.
Pay off debts first
It can be really tough to save if you have debts like loans and store or credit cards to pay off – the interest payments can really eat into your monthly budget. Prioritise the debts with the highest interest rates, and things will start to get easier.
Good luck with getting the savings habit this July – make it a habit for life!