We know times are tough and money is tight but we’re here to help! This Savings Month we found these savings hacks that are sure to put the rands and cents back in your bank account. Give them a try – even the smallest savings can really add up!
Pay with cash
It’s far too tempting to use your credit card to pay for something you hadn’t planned to buy and blow the budget – and it quickly becomes a habit. So leave the credit and bank cards at home and only take the cash that your budget allows.
Use the envelope system
This is another great way to make sure you don’t overspend. Start by allocating an amount for each item you need to pay for each month. For example, if you spend R800 for groceries and toiletries, and R500 on entertainment and leisure, get out two envelopes, label them clearly, and put the cash for each expense into them. This is what you can spend on these items during the month, and when your envelope is empty you have to wait for the next month’s envelope before spending on the item. Just make sure you put them in a safe place!
Have a no-spend day each week
If you find your shopping habits are out of control, set aside one day a week when you don’t buy anything – online or over the phone or in person. Because even if you’re only spending a little every day, it starts to add up. Celebrate your no-shopping day every week – it will make you think about money and how and when you spend it.
Wait before you make a big purchase
This can be anything from 48 hours to 30 days. The reason? A new, shiny item in the shops looks really appealing – and necessary. But wait a few days and you might change your mind. Desires and wants fade over time, but needs do not. If, after 30 days, you really need the item, go ahead and buy it. If you forget about it or find you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Instead, put the money away for unexpected things you might need in the future, if a household appliance needs to be replaced urgently, for example.
Buying used items is much cheaper, and if you take your time and inspect them before you buy, you can find really good buys.
- Used cars are always a cheaper option but ensure you have them inspected first at a place such as Dekra.
- Many people buy and don’t use the latest fitness gear, which means you can often buy second-hand items that have never been used – at low prices!
- Children’s toys and books are significantly cheaper at second-hand stores.
- Clothes can be a good second-hand buy, especially items such as school uniforms.
- Second-hand shops such as Cash Crusaders and Cash Converters have some good quality items available, as does Facebook Marketplace.
Buy things out of season
Of course, fruit and vegetables are always cheaper if you buy them in season, but most other items can be found at a very reasonable price when demand is low.
- Clothes: Buy winter clothes towards the end of winter and summer clothes towards the end of summer.
- Beach holidays: Take one in winter (they are cheaper out of season, and the weather at many of South Africa’s beaches in winter is warmish, most of the time).
- Outdoor items such as a braai: Buy these at the end of summer or in winter – they are often heavily discounted.
- School stationery and equipment: Buy these at a discount in October and November, and not at the height of “Back to School” season in January.
Save every R5 coin you get
When you get a R5 coin, don’t spend it! Instead, put it in a place where you aren’t tempted to use your stash of cash! R5 coins add up – save 10 a month for two years and you’ll have saved R1 200.
Automate monthly savings
This is a top tip that has been tried and tested. Set up savings as a debit order that goes off your bank account on the same day, or the day after, your salary is paid into your bank account. Without having to do anything you are saving – and it all adds up!
Save a raise
If you receive a raise, save it. We know costs are going up (electricity! fuel!) but see if you can make do on your ‘old’ salary before spending the raise. Or, maybe save at least half your raise? Put it away in a savings or investment account each month and keep it for a future need, retirement or even an emergency savings fund!
Top tip: Challenge a friend to see who can save the most and come up with new ways of saving.
Get saving savvy!
It’s always worth saving even the small amounts, and once you start, it quickly becomes a habit. The good news is that the small amounts add up – and give you a much-needed cushion when times are tough, or you want to treat your family and friends.
Did you know: July 2021 is the 20th year South Africans have celebrated National Savings Month! You can learn more about the month and savings initiatives in South Africa on South African Savings Institute.