JOHANNESBURG - With only a few more months left of the year, South Africans should already be thinking about saving for the festive season, “Januworry” and even beyond - particularly with temptations like Black Friday on the horizon and our tendency to splurge our year-end bonuses before they even hit our accounts.

Peter Tshiguvho, CEO of Metropolitan Retail, says: “If you aren’t earning much, the idea of saving money might seem impossible, but even putting aside as little as R5 a week can make a difference in the long run. Saving is easier than you think. With a simple shift in habits, you can have peace of mind knowing that you can afford necessities and have funds available in case of emergency.”

He shares some tips for becoming saving savvy:

1. Set goals. If you’re wondering how much you should save, start by setting some short, medium and long-term goals, with realistic time lines to achieve them by. Next, work out how much you would need to save each month for them to materialise within that particular time frame.

2. Budget. Look at old bank statements to see where you are spending your money and which non-essential expenses, like entertainment, you can cut back on. Earmark that money for achieving the above-mentioned goals and formulate a budget for your expenses.

3. Save before you spend. Each month, make sure you put away the amount you have committed to saving, before your debit orders go off and before you get the chance to spend it. You can even automate the process by setting up a debit order so that the money is transferred straight into your savings account, investments or retirement annuity (RA) fund.

4. Be more mindful of how you spend your money. Stopping unnecessary splurges can assist in your saving efforts, so draw up a shopping list before you go to the store. This can help you stick to what you need and your budget. Another habit to stop is drawing cash from banks other than your own as this incurs service charges. You should also take a look at your bank fees to check whether you are paying for services that you don’t use. If you are, you may want to move banks to get a better deal. Using apps and online tools can also be beneficial for keeping track of your spending.

5. Delete your debt. If you don’t pay off your debt, saving becomes much harder - particularly when you consider that for every R100 a person earns, R72 goes towards debt. Start by paying off any credit card debt first, since this incurs the highest interest rates and follow this by paying off your car and then your home as interest charged on car repayments is generally higher than that on home loans.

6. Get in on group savings. Being part of a group can help develop the discipline to save, particularly when one considers that more than 12 million South Africans belong to one of the country’s 440000 stokvels and are saving R54 billion a year - enough to buy a number of South Africa’s biggest companies in cash.