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Go on treat yourself... how to use ‘cash stuffing’ to save money for that something special

There are ways to save money for big-ticket treats. File Photograph: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

There are ways to save money for big-ticket treats. File Photograph: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

Published Jul 7, 2022


It’s hard to imagine saving for something special when we are all stretched to capacity.

However, with even more price increases predicted, it is imperative to have some money for a rainy day or for some big-ticket treat so that you are not just living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

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July is National Savings Month in South Africa and the aim is to encourage growth in the savings culture in the country. South Africa has always been known for its poor savings culture with many fully salaried people spending almost 80% of their pay in the first 10 days of the month, according to a recent study.

However, even if you are financially battling, everyone needs something to look forward to, such as a special meal out, a holiday, a beauty treatment, or even a chocolate. Things that we will not normally have on our needs list.

With increases in fuel and food prices as well as interest rate hikes and rising inflation, many have begun to pay more attention to savings or look at ways to have their own savings fund.

Cash stuffing - as seen on TikTok - is one of the new ways people are using to save some of their money for a treat.

What is cash stuffing?

Cash stuffing is similar to the envelope method where people count their money then separate them into colourful envelopes or clear sleeves in a binder which are labelled with the name of a particular category such as groceries or fuel.

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With the cash stuffing, you divide your monthly salary putting aside money for your monthly or weekly expenses.

However, with the cash stuffing method you save towards a big purchase or the holiday you have always wanted to go on.

This TikToker is saving money for a visit to the tattoo parlour as well as a future home.

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And I’m done with my cash stuffing for my first paycheck!

♬ original sound - AbundantGains

While another TikToker is saving her money in an emergency fund for a vacation.

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1. Get organised

Whether you are using regular or colourful envelopes or clear sleeves, it is important that you get organised. Have binder or folder that will hold all of your envelopes or sleeves; you don’t want to lose an envelope or the money inside it.

Find a dry, safe and secure place in your home that you can keep all of your envelopes especially if you have kids in the house.

2. Budget categories

Create a budget plan that includes categories for both your expenses such as groceries, fuel and entertainment and what you are saving towards can include items such as a new laptop or clothing.

If you are unsure about drawing up a budget plan, you can find online templates that can be personalised to suit your needs.

3. Know how much to allocate

Budget and saving may seem confusing or difficult when you are starting out. If you are unsure of how much money to allocate to each category, you can use the 50/30/20 rule.

50/30/20 rule breakdown:

  • 50% of your income needs to be allocated towards groceries or rent
  • 30% of your income needs to be allocated towards eating or entertainment
  • 20% of your income needs to be allocated towards your savings goals or your holiday fund

4. Be disciplined

Don’t start cash stuffing and then forget about it. To ensure that you are really saving money, you need to be disciplined with your cash stuffing. Remember that you have to constantly work on your cash stuffing and monitor both your savings and budget.

Also know how much you need to save toward for your item or holiday you want to buy. This will give you a goal to work toward.

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