Saving is hard. It requires on-going commitment to your savings plan, every day, week, month and year. No wonder South African households have a savings rate of only 1.1%. However, the time to change from a non-saver to a saver is now!
The trick is to stop thinking of saving as a nice-to-have and rather as a must-have like paying your rent for example. You know you need a roof over your head and therefore you don’t question the payment, nor do you try and circumvent it.
Here are some other mind tricks to help make saving easier:
1. Start a coin jar
Get into the habit of adding all your change to a coin jar. Ridding your wallet, purse and car of unused coins on a weekly basis is the easiest way you have ever saved. Once your jar is filled, take it to the bank and deposit the money directly into your savings account.
2. Automate your savings
This is a great, out of sight, out of mind saving method. With automated savings you take away the temptation every month and soon it will become second nature.
3. Hide credit cards
If you are trying to cultivate a savings culture your credit card has no business being in your wallet. Easy access to your credit card is just as good as walking around with money in your pocket. Don’t tempt yourself. Keep your credit card in the safe. And if you really don’t trust yourself let your partner keep it for you.
4. Challenge yourself to a 52-week savings plan
The main reason people take up challenges is because they have a start and end date with measurable milestones in between. That is why exercise and weight-loss challenges are so popular. Why not try the same with saving, and do a 52-week challenge?
With a 52-week saving challenge you save R1 in week one, and up the amount with R1 every week. In other words in week two you will save R2, R3 in week three and so on and so forth until you get to week 52 and save R52 in that week. It will be the easiest R1378 you have ever put away. Want to make it really interesting? Swap the R1 for a R2 challenge and boost your savings even more.
5. Focus on the rewards
It is difficult to save for the future with nothing tangible for all your saving efforts in between. Therefore:
- Make it easier to save by focussing on the bigger picture of what you are saving for. If you are saving to buy a home, cut out pictures of your dream home and stare at it often. Create pin boards on Pinterest and collect ideas for decorating your dream home.
- Reward your saving by treating yourself and your family to an affordable weekend away (for example) after reaching a prominent milestone. This way you create tangible smaller “rewards” to incentivise yourself for saving.
Saving is a positive action you are doing for your future. But don’t put so much pressure on your cash flow that you are forced to take on debt. That is not the point of saving at all. Instead try and cut costs on luxuries and other expenses so you are able to afford saving. If your debt is already at such a rate that it is preventing you from living a normal life, contact debt rescue for expert debt counselling.