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Do you dream about clearing your debts and saving money, but no matter how hard you try, you never get around to doing so?

Guess what, you are not alone. According to financial experts only 6% of South Africa’s working population will be able to retire comfortably, however, all is not lost as it is never too late to start.

Most times, the hardest thing about saving money is getting started, but just like riding a bicycle it is a habit that will soon grow on you and in no time you’ll find that you are used to putting a portion of your income away for a rainy day.

 We’ve put together some simple tips on how you can cut back on items that waste money and that you can do without, in order to start working towards a financial goal you are proud of:

Put goals on paper

Just like everything in life, writing down what you want to achieve by a certain period helps you to work towards your goals – start a personal development plan that will help you to realise your goals, and have your savings as part of your goals. Make sure to write down clear deadlines by when you’d like to achieve a certain goal.

Create a financial plan

Just like a personal development plan, doing a financial plan requires you to put down on paper your financial goals, but it requires you to go a step further and set out clear timelines.  You must write down how much you want to save and by when.  It helps to also have different savings accounts for different goals; if you would like to buy a new car yet still save money for a holiday, separate the two.

Make & review a budget

Now that you have created a financial plan, the next step is to draw up a budget. To make sure you stick to the budget, create weekly ‘money dates’ between you and your money. During this time you should track how well you’re keeping to your budget and if there has been any unbudgeted spending.

Be a savvy shopper

Groceries and clothes shopping eat up the most money.  When going grocery shopping, have a list of what you need and ensure you’ve eaten beforehand to avoid temptations and impulse buys. When it comes to clothes, avoid buying new clothes every month and don’t spend too much money on expensive designer brands. You can also review your car insurance as well as your home insurance on a year-to-year basis; you may find that your insurance is too high and by moving to an insurer such as Auto & General you could save.  

Plan meals in advance

One of the simplest ways you can save money is by planning meals in advance and cooking at home, instead of going out to restaurants and fast food places. To realise the most value out of this, plan meals which are affordable and can stretch out over a couple of days, such as stews and pastas. You could even pack some of the leftover food for lunch and cut out spending on canteen lunches.

Get rid of unnecessary debt

Getting rid of unnecessary debt will help save you money. Having an overdraft facility and a credit card means you get charged monthly fees before you even use them. To avoid the debt trap, close them and cut up any store cards you may have. Having them around will surely tempt you to use them.

Work More

Burying yourself in work means you have less free time to be tempted to go to the shops and spend money, and hey, your boss might notice that you are putting in a lot of effort into your work.  This could mean you may end up getting a promotion and a salary adjustment too, which is fantastic news for your savings goals. 

A New Year means time for reflection and taking stock of the year that was. By reviewing the best and the worst of the past year and learning from it means you can face the New Year with its challenges.

The same applies to money too; adjusting and re-evaluating your spending habits will ultimately change your views on saving and this will allow you to realise your financial goals in no time.

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