File Photo: IOL

In response to the highly anticipated 2019 Budget Speech, consumers will need to look for ways to become savvier with their money. 

According to a recent banking report, there is an estimated R295bn of ‘lazy’ deposits in South African bank accounts, a gold mine untapped. Capitec Bank breaks down this concept and provides four savings hacks to ensure a better financial future. 

‘Lazy’ money is money in a current or cheque account that earns no real interest. Francois Viviers, Executive: Marketing and Communications at Capitec Bank says that, “If the current R295bn ‘lazy’ deposits where not so lazy and earned just 5%, South Africans could earn over R14.8bn in interest every year.”

With further fuel price increases confirmed, the year ahead will still present financial challenges for many households.  Just like the government reviews the country’s budget annually, Viviers encourages consumers to do the same with their budgets and practice smart money management with the following tips:

Check to see if you have ‘lazy’ money lying around in your bank account: Most South African banks do not pay interest on current accounts, and expect clients to transfer money into separate fixed or flexible savings accounts in order to receive any level of interest.  

The reality is unfortunately that most people need quick access to their money and find that the friction of investing in savings accounts is just too much.

Tip: Make every cent count.  

That includes the money in your bank no matter how little - it may be.  One way to do this is to ensure that your main bank account allows you to grow your money instead of simply retain your money.  Try find a bank where you will earn interest which is more than the inflation rate.

Beware of high banking fees: Just like any other business, banks charge their clients usage fees. In this case, it is the dreaded banking fees that can easily accumulate if you are not disciplined in how you transact throughout the month. R105 is the average monthly bank fee for South African banks. This works out to R1260 per annum, which is enough to pay for return flights from Johannesburg and 3 nights hotel accommodation in Cape Town within 4 years 

Tip: 

Get into the habit of regularly checking your bank statement to see how much you are truly spending on bank charges, then do a comparison with other banks to see which one can offer you the best value for your money. Remember that bundle accounts are not always what they seem and you may end up paying for services you do not use.

Go digital, save money: 

Once you have identified how much you are really paying on bank charges, it is important to detail the banking behaviour that costs you the most.  For example: digital banking transactions are often more affordable than those involving cash or branch visits.

Tip: 

Use cheaper, more convenient banking channels instead such as your card, your bank’s app or Internet banking. You save time and money and you can bank anywhere, anytime. Most bank apps are zero-rated for data. This means you don’t pay for the data (or need any data) to use it. Carrying less cash is also safer. If you must draw cash, do so at a supermarket till and pay the lowest withdrawal fees.

Pay yourself first: 

This is one of the most important principles to accumulating wealth. By saving at least 15 percent of everything that you earn before you spend anything, you will be paving the way for your own success. You cannot accumulate wealth unless you save what you have earned.  Speak with your bank about an appropriate savings account to help get you started. 

Tip: 

Find a bank that allows you set up multiple savings plans, with a good interest rate. Set up recurring payments to take the thinking out of saving. The money will automatically be transferred to your savings account each month making saving easier.

“Although we cannot control every life event, one thing we can have complete control over is how we bank.  Consumers need to question their banks and ensure that they really are helping them to bank better, working for, not against, their overall financial goals,” concludes Viviers.

Viviers recommends using a savings calculator to determine how much you need to save each month and the type of savings plan to use to reach your goals.

PERSONAL FINANCE