Do you ever get the feeling that you’re spending money without ever having much to show for it? Well, you’re not the only one. South Africa has traditionally been a nation of spenders, with poor levels of saving and some of the world’s highest levels of consumer debt. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Non-essential spending is a habit, and like any habit, it can be broken, you just need to develop new, more sustainable spending behaviours. The online lender Wonga recently produced a blog guide to help you stop spending money and we thought we’d add a few tips of our own to that list:
- Have at least one ‘no-spend’ day a week
The thought of having the same amount of money in your bank account for two days running might seem unachievable, but it’s surprisingly simple to have a no-spend day if you put your mind to it.
The logical choice for your no-spend day is a day when you’re at work and you don’t have any plans you’ll have to pay for that evening. Just keep walking past that coffee shop, prepare your dinner using food you already have in the fridge and stay well away from the pub. It’s fun being frugal, isn’t it?
- Stick to cash
Debit and credit cards make it extremely easy to spend money, and sometimes that’s money you don’t even have. Cash is a different matter. With cash, you can physically see exactly how much your funds are diminishing with every purchase you make.
Rather than taking your cards wherever you go, create a budget and withdraw cash for the week. If you find you’re running low on cash, make sacrifices, be resourceful and think about cost cutting measures you can implement to make it to the end of the week.
- Equate every purchase to time spent at work
If you’re tempted to make an impulse buy, stop for a few seconds and think about how much work you had to do to earn the money you’re about to spend. If you get paid R100 an hour and you’re about to blow R200 on something you don’t need, remembering those long hours spent at work might just make you think twice.
- Stop wasting money on food
Most of us are guilty of wasting money on food in one way or another. Whether it’s buying food at work every day for lunch, treating ourselves to regular takeaways or buying on impulse when we visit the supermarket, it’s very easy to spend too much.
Doing a monthly rather than a weekly food shop makes you less likely to buy on impulse. Instead, make a list of all the food you’ll need for the month before you go and stick to it. You can then top up with milk, bread and fresh fruit and vegetables as and when you need it.
It’s time to become a savvy consumer
Breaking the cycle of spending is tough, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run. Follow these simple tips and you’ll soon be spending less, saving more and achieving your financial goals.
Do you have any techniques you use to reduce your spending? Please share your tips with our readers in the comments below.