Saving R500 a month can sound daunting – but the truth is, it’s often easier than you think. Small tweaks to your day-to-day and being more intentional about how (and why) you spend can be enough to stash away an extra R500 a month. And that’s a lot!
Here, five ways you could be saving R500 a month:
1. Get smart with your coffee habit
If your daily café-bought coffee costs R25, then in a week that equals R125 and over a month that quickly adds up to R500. While your morning pick-me-up may be the way you like to start your day, buying a pot of great-brand instant coffee and committing to using the kettle at work instead can help you save big.
2. Pack lunch during the week
Buying lunch – whether from a deli or even a supermarket, ready-made – will almost always cost you more than pre-planned, packed lunches. Swap a R45 wrap for sandwiches, a homemade salad that you can prep for the whole week, or even soup you cook up on a Sunday in bulk. You’ll save well over R500 in a month. Even better: if you plan your lunches weekly, you’ll likely snack on things that are healthier. For example, swapping a cream-cheese deli bagel for a homemade couscous salad is equally delicious – and likely better for your health, too. Double the reason to save!
The same is true for things like your weekly eat-out habit for dinner: a takeout pizza once a week with a drink can add up to R500 per month. Now that’s an easy save!
3. Watch your bank fees
There are so many easily avoidable ways we rack up bank fees each month. Many banks reward you for using their apps for banking, for example by not charging you extra for services like transfers and payments. Others charge fees every time you request a proof of payment notification – while these fees may seem small, several in a month quickly add up. Next time you’re banking, think: do I need proof of payment emailed, or can I take a screenshot of my transaction?
Then there are the bigger saves, like only ever drawing cash from your bank’s ATM (rather than a competitor’s ATM), avoiding going into credit or using overdraft facilities (which can incur heavy fees), avoiding paying for things like petrol or drawing money on a credit card (again, heavy and often instant interest fees are billed to you) and avoiding too many ATM cash withdrawals per month.
The bottom line: take a few minutes to read and understand your bank fees and charges. Know what incurs extra costs and how you can save. So often, we rack up fees for things we don’t even realise carry a charge. Now commit to removing these unnecessary spends, and watch your savings grow.
PS It’s not a bad idea to compare your bank fees with those of competitors – it may even be time for a change, or to downgrade account options if you’re not using all your benefits (and it’s costing you extra per month).
4. Always shop with a shopping list
According to a Money Advice Service survey, 60% of people who hit the grocery store with a shopping list save money. Why? Because they’ve got a targeted hit list, meaning they’re less likely to make impulse buys or to buy things they don’t actually need. Plus, having a clear list of items means you’re more likely to scrutinise the best deals for those ingredients, because your shopping trip is more focused.
Another easy trick? Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. Hunger pains encourage us to buy things we don’t need, that quickly add up… like that chocolate bar in the queue to the till, or a pricey mall meal between shops.
5. Cancel unused services
Paying for a TV service you haven’t watched in months? How about a magazine subscription for issues you never find the time to read? Take 10 minutes to go through your bank accounts and see what comes off your account like clockwork every month. Now ask yourself: am I using this service to its full? If the answer is no, look into cancelling it. Some services may have contract periods you need to wait out, but one or two subscription or debit-order services cancelled can guarantee hundreds of rands back into your pocket each month.
Source: Sanlam Reality