Baby Steps: Small Savings
In order to get started saving money, it can help to take it in small steps. Consider these options for saving money a little bit at a time:
Always buy in bulk items you need always like rice, pasta, tinned food, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and sugar.
Lunch Box: Bring your lunch to work with you, rather than buy it. Just get a posh lunch box bag and no one will ever guess what’s inside!
Cook at home, rather than get take out: There are great Traditional meals and 30 minute meals that you can make for healthier — less expensive — and your man will love you more.
Leftovers: Plan your meals so that you can use leftovers in another meal. This can help you save money, and reduce your food waste. As Africans, no further explanation required.
Buy generics/store brands: Give generic/store brands a try. They make generic store brands in the same factory as known brands, do the maths!
Use customer rewards: If you can get discounts by signing up for a free reward program, and you don’t mind someone tracking your purchases, this can be a good way to consistently save more money. There are banks, pharmacies and supermarkets you can save with.
Entertain at home rather than going out: A good ol’ Tshisa Nyama and Pap with family games and music never fails!
When you are ready to take it up a level, you can try some of these other ways to save more money. Some of these result in long-term savings, so you might have to wait a little while to see results.
Cut the satellite: Rather than paying for expensive packages, downgrade. Three quarters premium channels you never watch in any case and they repeat programmes from channel to channel.
Get rid of a contract phone: You can do this by getting pay as you go options. Spend cash!
Improve your fuel efficiency: Look for ways to save money on Petrol by properly maintaining your car, driving carefully, and planning your trips so that you use less petrol. Prevent your car from being a skoroskoro and use proper service garages!
Avoid driving: Use the car at the weekend, if you can a bus, taxi or car pool to work will save plus you don’t have to put up with traffic jams! If you are still a young butterfly, maybe that handsome fella can show his appreciation by driving you around.
Properly care for what you have: Whether it’s clothing or appliances, proper care and maintenance can save you a great deal in the long run. Care for your things so that they last longer, and you will save money. Remember your grandmother if you need examples.
Travel smart: Use fare finding web sites and discount airlines to save. Join hotel rewards programs to earn free nights. Bring food with you in a cooler, rather than buy it at restaurants and petrol stations when on long trips.
Always write a shopping list, you will save a fortune on items you don’t need which make it into your trolley and have a maximum amount you will spend on groceries. Take a calculator with you.
Only buy quality clothes with reduced or sale items. It’s even more fun as you go into more shops looking for bargains.
Avoid ATM fees and bank charges for overdrafts, watch that balance and avoid frequent ATM visits for small amounts.
Unplug appliances not in use and do not leave them on standby, they still use power.
There are those who observe that some of the smaller savings just won’t lead to significant room in your budget. Here are a few ways you can really kickstart your savings in a big way.
Compare at least 3 different supplier prices on expensive purchases.
Pay down consumer debt: One of the biggest expenses you have is probably the interest on consumer debt. The faster you pay it off, the more money you save in the long run.
Finally, keep distance from lavish, high-roller friends: If you have lavish friends who buy a new car every other year (on hire purchase with 40% residual), have large screen TVs and every other conceivable electronics gadget, eat out at fancy restaurants every other night and just live way beyond their means, keep the distance. They may be nice people and mean you no harm, but hanging out with such people often can lead to a lot of unnecessary desires and discontent. What’s more important – your friends or your peace of mind
Author: Gerald Mwandiambira CFP®
www.fpi.co.za – To find an accredited Certified Financial Planner or consider a career in Financial Planning