Can you believe that we’re almost nearing the end of the first quarter of 2019? Yeah, I know March is still in 2 days or less but technically, March is around the corner. I hope all has been well with you.
Soooooooo, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that I love money. To tell you the truth, my name, Eniola, is a Nigerian name that means ‘person of wealth’ so I am practically a walking bag of money (loools).
Jokes apart though, the question is who doesn’t love money? You need it for food, those wigs and weaves, the mortgage, spa sessions, holiday trips, fuel for the car, school fees and the list goes on. So my guess is you also love it (or if ‘love’ is too intense for you, then you like it), and probably wish you have lots of it. But until either of us wins the lottery, you and I can both agree that the most realistic thing we can do is to find practical ways of saving our hard earned money every month.
So today I’m sharing in no order, 12 practical ways of saving money every month (given that you already budget, know how much you make and spend, and that perhaps you put some money away every month). It doesn’t matter if you’re only able to save R100 a month or a R1,000, what matters is the conscious effort to reduce spending on what is unnecessary and rather put that money away for more important personal and financial goals. And it’s nothing we don’t know so I guess these are just reminders for you. Here we go…
10 Practical Ways To Save Money
1. Take advantage of Cash Back reward programmes. A lot of retail stores offer points when you make purchases- points which can be redeemed for cash. If signing up for a card for doing nothing except your monthly grocery/toiletry shopping will give you cash back rewards for free- go for it. Personal example- I have had the Clicks cash back reward card for a long time and I have been able to buy myself a month’s worth of toiletries with the cash backs I get on a quarterly basis. Another personal favourite is the Discovery Insure Vitality programme which pays me back at least R650 cash into my account every month because I buy fuel at certain partner fuel stations and ‘try to’ drive well. Those extra monies during the month come in handy I tell you. My point is- be aware of the freebies available to you in your favourite stores and then grab those chances.
2. Pack your lunch (except you work in a place where you get lunch for free, or you are so time starved that it’s cheaper to buy food). Let’s say lunch is R40 a day- that is R200 per week, which is R800 per month. If you treat yourself to buying lunch twice a week on those days you are too busy to pack your lunch, that is R80 per week which is R320 per month- a savings of R480. Morale of the story? Pack your lunch more than you buy it because you save a lot of money in the long run.
3. Get information on the freebies (benefits) available to you through your company. Personal story- I had pain in my lower back for close to 6 months sometime in 2017 and I was about to book a session with a physiotherapist to get it checked out. In November 2017 at a Wellness Day event in my company, I learnt that I had access to a 6-week programme of 12 sessions of treatment overseen by medical doctors, bio kineticist and a physiotherapist for back, neck, shoulder and knee pain. This was at no cost to me as it was paid for by my employer. I completed the treatment a few months after and my lower back condition has improved significantly. The best part was that I didn’t pay a cent, zilch, nada- it was all paid for. Just imagine that I could have paid for those sessions because I was not aware of what was available to me. You will never know what free benefits are available to you through your employer if you don’t make the enquiries, so speak to the right person at work tomorrow, next week, but don’t waste time.
4. Be more deliberate with grocery shopping. This is what I mean. You probably have your favourite grocery store because it sells better spaghettis, fresher veggies or fruit juices, but most times, we get so sucked up into the marketing hype of certain food brands that we end up spending waaaaaay more money than is necessary on certain food items. Think about it, how different is the R30 sugar in Shop A from the R22 sugar in Shop B? At the end of the day, brown sugar is really that- brown sugar. Point is- without compromising your knack for good quality, for certain items, buying generic store brands as opposed to brand names which can offer the same quality won’t cause any harm. Buy in bulk when required, look for the ‘specials’ and don’t forget to compare item prices too- these will save you money in the long run.
5. Re-evaluate “Retail Therapy”. I have been in a few situations where I see a great deal and I think I should get a pair of shoes or cutlery set to the point where I almost clicked on ‘Pay Now’; but then I sleep on it for a day or two and realise that I was just thrilled because there was a deal on it and not necessarily because I needed the item. This has saved me a few thousand rands- money which was later spent on more important things. Sleep on a purchase to determine if you really need it or if you can do without it. Do you really need that pair of white jeans, that coral lipstick and that monochrome top? Will you have a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t buy it? Do you really need that new set of towels (the set you got 2 years ago still has the tag on it and is folded neatly in your cupboard)? Re-think your purchases to avoid buyer’s remorse and save some money. The spur of the moment purchases can incur unnecessary expenses most times, and while there is nothing wrong with an occasional purchase, deliberate spending makes you more mindful and helps you save money.
6. Shop for the best bank. You could be paying too much in bank charges/rates and you don’t even know. Get fee brochures from different banks and compare the prices to determine if you are not spending too much on bank fees. If one bank account can do for you what your current 2 bank accounts are doing for you, then close one bank account and stick to only one. A little goes a long way in this regard.
7. Renegotiate your insurance premiums, review your bank statements, rental and rates bills to check that you are not being overcharged. I recently discovered that I was overbilled for municipal utilities, but we got a substantial refund after the issue was looked into, something we wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t review the monthly statements. Also, every year I call my insurance company to renegotiate my premiums and every time, I get a reduction allowing me to save more. These things all add up so call your insurer soon and pay more attention to those monthly invoices.
8. Get a Piggy Bank for your coins (or jar or tin). You often have coins lying around in the car or your wallet- the money we call loose change; why not throw all these into a savings jar? You will be amazed at how much money you can save in 6 months or even a year. It is also a good way of teaching children about saving money.
9. Modify your lifestyle. For some time now, I hardly watch TV during the week but on weekends, I indulge a bit. My husband loves sports so he gets to binge on it on weekends too- a strong business case for the cable TV we pay for monthly. However, if you just have cable TV because it’s a nice to have but you’re not watching it, then that is a big money waster- have it disconnected. If your weaves are making you stay awake at night because they cost a ton, maybe it’s time to consider a low maintenance hairstyle. If you never get time to go to the gym which you pay for every month, maybe you should consider an alternative way of exercising and have the debit order for the gym cancelled. Are you spending too much on transportation because you live far from the office? If possible, try and find a middle point to live- somewhere between your office and home or between work and your children’s schools. This way you spend less on fuel and your car doesn’t depreciate quickly.
10. Develop a high maintenance culture. Clean and take care of your appliances regularly, empty the dust bag in your vacuum cleaner to avoid it being clogged and thus being spoilt etc. Store things away properly. If you put effort into cultivating a high maintenance culture for the things you own, they will work for longer and you won’t have to replace them often thus saving yourself money in the long run.
These are all tips that I have tried and tested and continue to live by. I am hoping that by some stroke of luck, that lottery jackpot has my name on it but until then, you and I can try these tips.
Till we chat again, take care of yourself. Thanks so much for stopping by.
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