BEYOND JANU-WORRY: 5 top savings tips for the rest of 2020
The new year is in full swing and for most people “#20plenty” is all about maximising opportunities, doing things differently and achieving more goals. According to a recent survey by YouGov, 59% of South Africans are more determined to make saving their main priority this year.
This is all good as a broad goal, but how do you make it happen practically, especially when times are tough?
“Even with a budget under pressure, there are quite a few smart adjustments you can make that will help to turn your financial health around in 2020,” says Susan Steward from Budget Insurance.
“The easiest and most obvious way to save money is to look for cheaper deals and to cut back on your luxury expenses. However, once you’ve trimmed your budget to have more disposable income, there are still a few good additional strategies you can try to get the most out of your money.”
Steward offers the following advice for savvy saving and spending in 2020:
Pay upfront to maximise discounts: Paying upfront can save you a substantial amount of money. For example, schools may offer discounts if you pay upfront for the year. Even some of your luxuries, like TV subscription fees, offer discounts when you pay in advance.
Start an emergency savings account: We often rely on our credit cards as a fallback if we’re faced with a surprise bill. This is how credit card creep begins, and before you know it, you’re in the red – struggling to make repayments, unable to extend your credit and wasting additional money every month on card charges. Set up a debit order that automatically moves a set amount into a savings account every month, so you don’t have to rely on credit when there’s a financial emergency.
Relook your budget: once you’ve distributed your salary into necessities and savings, look at what you’re left with. What spending habits can you change? Doing your grocery shopping monthly or in bulk, rather than daily or a couple of times a week, not only brings good savings, but will also curb the urge to make costly impulse purchases. Keep all the receipts from the grocery bills over a month or draw your bank statements, then analyse – in detail - where your moola is going. Once you see the numbers, you’ll be able to see where you can make adjustments to save even more – buying at more affordable stores, limiting your outings, using loyalty cards for discounts etc.
Cut that debt: if you have created a dent in your credit card, but want to work your way out of debt, get clued up on how to pay it off as affordably and quickly as possible. Firstly, stop using the card. If you don’t have the discipline to keep your hands from swiping, chop it up. Always pay the minimum payment requested on your statement, no less, or you will pay backdated interest. If you’ve managed to save any money during the month, pay it into your credit card. The quicker you pay it off, the less money will be leaking away in charges.
Long-term savings on a budget: ‘Think you don’t earn enough to invest? Investing in unit trusts is cheaper than you think. A unit trust fund is one that is managed for you by an expert. Invest only a couple of hundred rand a month, and you’ll see your money grow over time. Pension funds and retirement annuities are also a valuable way to gain wealth as they come with tax savings.
“Getting the best value for your money means taking a proactive, critical look at your spending and savings habits. A clear understanding will allow you to set the necessary targets, promptly make the adjustments needed and set yourself up for a much healthier year financially,” Steward concludes. “Also remember that it’s never a good idea to cancel your insurance cover to save money. This will leave you even more vulnerable when a crisis hits because at the end of the day, no one can afford to go backwards in life.”