by Dimakatso Komape
July is Savings Month in South Africa. The South African Savings Institution (SASI), with support from Absa and the IDC, will use July Savings Month 2019 to focus on driving awareness around how saving relates directly to happiness, as well as encouraging the development of vital entrepreneurial abilities that will allow young people to create business opportunities to sustain their financial independence.
South Africa has a very low saving rate, and with expenses on the rise on so many fronts, consumers are finding it more difficult to stretch their monthly disposable income to save. But what if you are ready to start saving up now? It is possible to grow your saving even with the expenses on the rise. The first rule in saving money is committing and being disciplined to do it regularly and have a clear goal in mind. You also need to keep in mind that you might get tempted sometimes to not follow the plan, but keep your eyes on the prize! Once you have got that, you can put these saving tips to work:
Automate savings transfers each payday
If you are struggling with the saving habit, scheduling automatic transfers to savings, also known as ‘stop order’, can be a huge help. When you do this each payday, there are fewer temptations to spend it and you can easily watch your saving balance grow over time.
Review your budget and choose an amount that you can commit to regularly, and then have that automatically put aside for you every month. For maximum savings growth, choose a savings account that offers a combination of the best interest rates and the fewest fees.
Withdraw cash if you are tempted to overspend on credit
This is my weakness. While a credit card is easier and safer to carry around, it could also lead you into debt which is the last thing you want when you are trying to save. As you master how to save money, consider temporarily switching to cash only if you have the same weakness as me and you can’t control your credit card spending.
Eliminate small monthly expenses
When it comes to budgeting, it is often the small things that get us off track. To carve out more savings, consider cutting out one small monthly expense, such as that coffee that you get from Mugg and Bean every morning instead of carrying your own coffee in your flask or the money you spend at the car wash every week. Then, take all that money and put it towards your savings. Chances are you will be surprised at how much of a difference it can make to your long-term savings.
There are still many other ways to help you save your money in a smart and rewarding way. The hardest thing about saving money is probably getting started but once you do get started you will start to feel more reliable and safe and secure about your future.