Saving money can become one of those budget-style kinds of topics that get a warped reputation as either being too controlling or too freedom-stealing. A friendly suggestion to a friend or family member can turn into a heated debate about financial freedom.
“I just want to spend my money on whatever I want with no limitations!”
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Save Money
- How Much Money Should You Save?
- How To Start Saving Money
- Ready to Start Saving?
How have such topics come to be viewed as these proverbial enemies of freedom? Everyone probably has some story from their childhood about money and savings and how it most likely restricted their fun back in those days. Remember our money growing on trees example? Or maybe you feel like you just don’t earn enough to even entertain the notion of saving.
Whatever the reasons, saving money is largely viewed as a non-beneficial practice that is only for boring, rich, and unspontaneous people who don’t like to have fun. This view of saving couldn’t be further from the truth. Saving money doesn’t restrict fun or spontaneity at all. In fact, it probably increases them! There’s no better way to have fun than when you’re free from financial burden.
As for saving only being for rich people? Everybody has to start somewhere.
When you save money, you’re placing more value on your future needs than on your current wants. In the same way that a budget helps us spend our money on the things we value today, saving our money helps us place value on the things we’ll need (and want) tomorrow.
We’re going to cover the ins and outs of saving in this article, with the overall goal being to encourage and equip you to start your money-saving journey today. If you’re up for it, let’s get started!
Why You Should Save Money
To speak to those of you who may be in the “I don’t earn enough money to save” boat, we get it. If you’re barely able to cover all of your needs in a month, how on earth are you expected to save money?
Surely any extra money you get must go towards the things you can’t usually afford?
You work hard, you deserve to spoil yourself!
100%. These are all fair questions and points. Saving money is not about abstaining from certain pleasures you buy in the month that bring you joy, especially if those pleasures are not often forthcoming! The practice of saving money is rather about growing and learning the healthy habits that will lead to wise money management.
We’d only be fooling ourselves if we were to think that we didn’t need to learn good money management for our lives. No matter what your monthly earnings are, no matter how much debt you may be in, no matter the circumstances of your finances as a whole, practising the habit of putting some money aside for the future will help you to get a better grip on your finances.
Not only is saving money important for developing healthy money management in us, but it also helps us on a practical level. For example, if you’ve managed to accumulate a healthy amount of savings over years of practising the habit, you essentially have a safety net behind you should you fall ill and have to stop working for a period.
Another way that saving money practically helps is the interest that you earn on it. We’re so accustomed to working for our money, but when we put some savings into an account, that money begins to work for us. We can sit back and watch our interest rate climb over time.
How Much Money Should You Save?
Expanding on our previous point, saving money (at least in the beginning) is not so much about the amount you save as it is about forming the habit of saving. When you first decide to create a money-saving plan, it’s important to remember to not turn the process into some self-deprecating, self-denial exercise in abstinence.
Start modestly, even if it’s R50 a month. The goal is not to starve yourself of financial resources, but rather to build up your resources. Put away an amount that doesn’t leave you strapped for cash for the rest of the month, and once you begin to get into the habit regularly, you’ll start to see your money differently.
Your financial values may change, and your thoughts about your financial future may begin to shift as you come to realise that the savings you’ve been diligently putting away month after month have suddenly turned into a pretty decent sum of money! Very few things in this life bring about peace of mind quite like that realisation.
When you realise that saving money is more about building up healthy financial habits, and in turn practising those habits consistently, the amount generally becomes less important. Sure, as your finances grow your savings can too. However, the best way of saving money is to just start and carry on.
How To Start Saving Money
So far, we’ve covered the reasons you should save money and how much you should generally be saving. As you’ve probably noticed throughout this article, a lot of the responsibility for saving money lies solely with you. The responsibility to start saving, to choose what you can afford to save, to be consistent in your saving. At this point, you might be wondering what that practically looks like.
In fact, we know you’re asking that question right now.
“Thanks for the philosophy of saving, please tell me how to do it now!”
Good news, we’ve arrived at that part! We’ve put together a handful of simple, practical ways of saving money that we believe can help you on your savings journey.
From the best bank for saving money to the best money-saving apps out there. If you’re looking to start saving your money, this part is for you.
We’ve even included some money-saving tips into the mix.
Are you ready?
Let’s hit it.
Declutter (Sell Everything)
The author Marie Kondo speaks about the “magic art of tidying up”. She speaks of ideas like minimalism in the home. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Some of us have a hoarding problem, and that problem is beginning to seep into our finances.
One of the best ways to save some money is to get rid of the things you own that don’t bring you any joy or value. If you’re a sentimentalist, just take some deep breaths. It’s going to be okay.
You might be surprised at just how much stuff you have, and how much money you can make by selling it.
We’re not saying sell everything you own. Just the useless things that, if you’re honest, you don’t need (you’ve probably got a couple of things in mind already).
For the sake of your financial future, that dusty, oversized crystal goblet taking up all the cupboard space can be sacrificed, and that 40-year-old novelty apron you picked up at the market can probably join it, too.
Get a Money Tracking App
If you’re thinking of starting a savings plan, we’d suggest starting by making use of an app to track your finances and help you stay the course. 22seven by Old Mutual is a great option, and Nedbank’s Money app is worth checking out, too.
Nothing can help us quite like a reliable 21st-century digital app. Take advantage of the options out there and get on it!
Try the Library
If you’re an avid reader, you don’t always need to buy the books that you read. If you regularly purchase books online or at bookstores, why not try looking for a specific book you’re after at your local library? This way, you save money and get a new experience at the library!
Manage Your Coffee Budget
The pull of a coffee shop can be so tempting. Often, it’s not even the coffee that draws us to the boutique little paradise of a café, it’s just the environment. Reading or working at a coffee shop is one of the greatest little pleasures out there, however, if not managed properly you could end up dropping some serious cash on coffees every month without knowing it.
We’d suggest settling on an amount you’re willing to spend on coffee each month and then sticking to that amount. Once it’s done, you’ll have to wait until payday for your next trip to your local, but you’ll be saving money while you wait.
A great way to save money is by learning how to do simple fixes around the house or flat without having to hire a professional. This could easily save you a good amount of money, especially in the long term!
Pack Lunch & Eat at Home
This may be one of the easiest ways to save money, but it also seems to be one of the hardest to maintain. The last thing on your mind when you’re rushing out the door in the morning is what you’re going to have for lunch. There’s just not enough time in the day for that, is there? It’s much easier to just walk across the street to your favourite local spot and grab a quick bite.
This may seem harmless in the moment, but trust us, these quick bites add up.
A better solution is to prepare your lunch the night before, or even the week before. This will help you to cut out the unnecessary spending at lunchtime, and rather save that money for use on something better in the future.
Regarding dinner, instead of going out to dinner three times a week, try eating at home for two of those nights and going out just once. The amount of money you’ll save on those meals out alone will be worth their weight in gold!
Check Your Banking Fees
Do you know if you’re getting the most out of your bank? All it takes is a little check-up and research to see if you’re saving money through your bank. Inquire about savings accounts, check interest rates, and look at every monthly fee you’re charged and make sure it’s necessary.
Some banks you can check out that have great savings tools are:
- Capitec (Global One account)
- Nedbank (MyPocket account)
- African Bank (MyWorld Savings Pocket account)
- FNB (Savings Account)
Cancel Your Subscriptions
If you look closer at what subscriptions you pay for every month, you’ll most probably find that you don’t need half of them.
If you’ve been paying for a gym membership for the past 6 months but haven’t managed to go regularly, cancel it until you’re ready to commit properly.
You’ll be amazed at the money you save once you’ve gutted your Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showmax, Apple TV, and Disney+ accounts. If you find that you can’t live without these subscriptions, just pick one and ride it for all it’s worth! It’s all about boxing smart with what you pay for.
Take an inventory of your monthly debit orders and decide if you need to be paying them all. Some ruthless honestly could save you some money.
Have a Plan for Extra Income
Do you know how much money you would have saved if you didn’t spend your extra income unnecessarily? Well, probably not because you didn’t have a plan for it. After all, it was extra money that you weren’t expecting, so how could you plan for it?
What if you created a plan to ensure that if you ever receive any more unexpected income, it wouldn’t be squandered but instead valued? This is a brilliant way to acquire extra funds for the future should you need them.
Turn OFF the Lights
Being intentional about your electricity usage throughout the month is key to saving some money. Make it a habit to switch off lights and appliances that aren’t being used, and keep your water usage to a minimum by not letting the tap run unnecessarily, and taking quicker showers.
If you forget to turn a light off or you’re struggling to build the habit up, fortunately, Eskom will help you out now and again!
Ready to Start Saving?
Saving money can be a daunting thing at first because you don’t see the fruit of it immediately. It’s difficult to put a chunk of money somewhere never to use it again (or anytime soon, at least). It’s a long-term practice that will require patience and discipline from you.
Fortunately, it’s not something you need to do blindly or alone. The points we’ve mentioned above can serve as a springboard for you to begin your journey to more savings, and there are numerous (qualified) professionals that you can talk to and figure out the journey with.
We hope this savings guide will be useful to you, and if it is, share it with someone you think might benefit from it, too.
As with anything, take it one step at a time and be gentle with yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. What’s important is that you start somewhere. So, here’s to finding financial freedom. Good luck!