In this economic climate South Africans are not saving enough. With all the price increases consumers are left with less money in their pocket making saving seem like an optional extra instead of a necessity. Here are some simple ways to maximise your income and free up money for saving.
Manage you budget successfully
Having a budget is key. If you haven’t done this already, draw up a budget so you know exactly where your money is going each month. Your budget will reveal where you can spend less and save more. You must distinguish between your needs and wants. Put money away for savings as soon as you receive your income. Decide on a realistic amount to spend on entertainment and personal expenses and stick to it. Take time when planning your monthly budget and make sure it is not too tight and restrictive, but rather realistic.

Work on your spending habits
It is easy to spend our hard-earned salary on less important expenses – money that could be used for achieving a goal. Because it is so convenient to swipe the plastic, leave your credit cards at home and only bring them out in emergencies. Beware of luxuries dressed up as necessities. Watch out for cash leakage. If cash in your purse disappears leaving you with nothing to show for it, take note of what you spend this cash on.  Although it’s tempting to spend more

when your income climbs due to well-deserved raises and promotions, use those increases to save more.

Plan your spending
Plan purchases and only buy what you planned to buy. Make a shopping list and stick to it so you don’t overspend. When buying big, expensive items do price comparisons at different stores. Always ask yourself: do I really need this? If the answer is no, put the item back and walk away. Carry less cash and leave your credit cards at home unless you need to make a planned purchase.

Make small changes
Small savings can add up to big savings. Buy generic wherever possible. Bring your own lunch to work. Look at your cell phone bills and make sure you are on the most cost-effective plan. Cut out on long-distance telephone calls or call when the rates are cheaper. Cut back on eating out and rekindle the art of eating at home creatively. Do grocery shopping less frequency to reduce possible impulse buys. Wait until movies come out on video or DVD instead of going to the cinema. We all know how costly such an outing can be.

It is possible to free up money and still maintain your current lifestyle. If you free up cash and avoid wasteful spending you will have extra money at the end of the month to put towards achieving goals – be it educating your children or going on that once-in-a-lifetime holiday. The result: a better lifestyle for you and your family! And remember even a small monthly saving is better than no saving.

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