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The cost of living feels like it skyrockets every other week. In July 2019 price hikes affecting municipal rates, electricity and water drove up South African household expenses yet again. With South Africans across the economic spectrum are increasingly feeling the pinch, the impact and burden of the country’s rising cost of living disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic classes.

If, like many other working and middle class South Africans, you’re finding that your income goes less and less far each month, you may be thinking seriously about readdressing your budgeting and saving habits. With greater demands on our finances, it’s ever-harder to put away savings each month, yet in turbulent economic times, savings are especially important.

Unfortunately “increase your savings” often sounds to adults like “eat your greens” does to children – something you know you should do, but really won’t enjoy. When many of us think about saving strategies, we usually picture all the sacrifices we will need to make in order to start putting away more each month. Minimising our spending on social events, staying at home, cutting out little pleasures and surviving on basics. This is a major reason why people don’t save money – we struggle to engage with the idea of delayed gratification; swapping current comfort for later benefit. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

While saving money will never be a barrel of laughs, it is possible to make small, smart changes to your budget which will help you accrue greater savings over time. Just as piggy banks become surprisingly full surprisingly quickly, making small shifts in your regular financial approach can soon make a big difference to your savings. Here are a few quick tips:

5 Small, smart ways to save money

  1. Switch off your geyserWonga has come up with a“massive money saving tips post” which lists 40 tips, and this one comes right at the top. Geysers can increase your monthly electricity bill by up to 40%. Turn your geyser off before you leave the house, then sit back and watch the monthly savings roll in. Pop anything you save straight into your savings account.
  2. Switch to generic products
    Branded products can cost almost double the price of generic, supermarket branded products – while doing exactly the same thing. Swap Koo Baked Beans (R11.99) for Pick N Pay No Name Baked Beans (R7.49) and you’ve already saved R4.50. Over the course of one shop – and a whole year – these savings can seriously add up.
  3. Never buy lunch at work
    Supermarket sandwiches and working lunches can really eat into your finances. Invest in some good Tupperware and make extra portions of your evening meals. These can be frozen and stored until you fancy a portion for lunch. Bringing in your lunch each day will save you an astonishing amount of money. Trust us!
  4. Host cinema nights
    Cinema trips can be incredibly overpriced. To cut down on the cost of movie night, invite your friends over, stick some popcorn in the microwave and screen films at home. The evening will be fun, sociable and cost you next to nothing.
  5. Never buy new
    Avoid buying brand new products when possible. This step will benefit your budget and the planet by cutting down on waste. Check sites like ebay for second hand products or shop at thrift stores to find amazing second hand clothing which nobody else will have!

This is a collaborative post.