Let’s face it, while saving money seems like it should be simple, we all struggle with it, and South Africans in particular seem to have a harder time than most. While we all start off with the best of intentions, it seems that there are always unexpected expenses that crop up each month and snatch those extra Rands away.
But fear not, because we’ve put together our top ten list of creative ways to save money that are sure to get your imagination fired up, and hopefully re-motivate you to start formulating good savings habits, as well as keeping your eyes open for opportunities you might not have considered before. Let’s dive in!
Tell someone you respect about your savings goals.
Human nature means that keeping your savings ambitions to yourself is, unfortunately, too tempting of an excuse not to meet them. The fact of the matter is, you’re less likely to give up on your goal if there’s also someone else you don’t want to let down. Whether it’s a close friend, a parent or a mentor, talk honestly about your desire to start getting into a good saving habit and encourage them to check up with you. This is guaranteed to add that extra bit of motivation when you need to restrain yourself!
Sell the stuff you don’t need and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to make extra cash.
Whether it’s getting rid of unused stuff online on Gumtree or at a physical shop like Cash Crusaders, starting off with a nice little sum to put away towards your savings can be a huge boost mentally. Keep your eyes open for ways to make money online and generate extra income in your spare time or over the web.
Join the library!
Libraries really aren’t just about books anymore. Most public libraries also offer entertainment options in the way of newspapers, magazines and DVDs too. If you have kids, a weekly trip to the library can be a great way to spend time together for free and learn together too!
Have a family or couples brainstorming session
Sit down together and get your thinking caps on to come up with activities that are free or just cost less than your more expensive habits like hitting the shopping centre, movies or your usual restaurant. Commit to doing more of the free things you enjoy together, whether it’s hiking, enjoying game night together or just picnicking at the park more.
Pack your own lunch and skip the coffee run
This really is one of the easiest ways to save a bundle each month. If you don’t believe us, just work out what you spend on buying coffee or lunch at work in a month, and it will become obvious soon enough! If you’re spending just R15 on coffee in the morning each workday, that could be adding up to over R300 a month that could be going into a savings account and earning you interest. When you’re dishing up dinner in the evenings, get into the habit of putting one portion straight into your lunch tin for the next day. That way you won’t have to rush to put something together the next morning or end up having to buy lunch instead.
Always order a glass of water with your drink when you do eat out
If you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of receiving your bill at the end of a meal only to realize that it’s twice what you expected because of the cost of drinks, you’ll see how this can be helpful. Not only will ordering a nice free glass of water mean you’re less likely to order another cool drink, glass of wine or beer, but it’s a lot healthier to boot! Drinks at restaurants are often shockingly overpriced, so if you do have to eat out, take this tip with you.
Do it Yourself
Whether it’s learning to sew on your own buttons or hem new clothes, make your own greeting cards or wrapping paper, learning to fix stuff around the house or just cooking more of your own meals, everyone has some area where they can learn to be more self-sufficient. You’ll save money and feel good about acquiring a new skill too, and with so many tutorials on YouTube, (and that new library membership of course!) there’s nothing to stop you!
Make you next event Bring and Braai or Potluck
While we all love having the friends round for a sporting event or enjoying a home-cooked dinner together, hosting one of these do’s can get very pricey, very quickly. But if everyone pitches in and brings something to contribute in the form of one dish and their drinks, everyone wins!
Try generic brands and stick with the ones you like
Supermarket own brands are often a win in disguise, as the large retail chain’s bulk buying power means that they can often offer items that are just as good as the pricier brands at a more budget-friendly price. The fact they tend to use simpler packaging with fewer colors means that further savings can be passed on to their customers – so drop the habit of buying something just because you recognize the brand name, and experiment with some cheaper ones.
Charge yourself an additional sin tax on your bad habits
This is a nifty way both to save some money and help yourself monitor and cut down on your bad habits at the same time. Pick a luxury item or unhealthy indulgence that you know you should be cutting back on, and then pick a denomination like R5 or R10 that you agree to charge yourself for every time you give in. Whenever you waste money on that bar of chocolate, box of smokes or bottle of wine, cough up for the sin jar too.
With a spark of imagination, there are plenty of creative ways to save a little money here and there, and even more importantly, get yourself into the habit of saving. Cultivating an attitude of saving where you can and keeping your eyes open to new opportunities is the first step towards achieving financial success.
If you liked this article, check out our 7 Best Money Saving Tips here. What other creative ways do you and your family save money? Make sure to let us know in the comments!