Saving habits we can all acquire with minimal effort

A hot topic of discussion amongst a lot of people at gatherings is the cost of living these days. People are always talking about how high living costs have become these days, how money has no value in today’s times, and how much cheaper many things were in the past.

We have compiled this list on things you can do to cut down on expenses and save more money than you could possibly imagine. Some are obvious, and you will be left thinking “Why wasn’t I doing this all along?”.

1. Adjust your geyser thermostat

More often than not, the temperature a geyser is set to warm up to is too high. That’s the reason we have to mix hot and cold water to get a perfect mix when we bath or shower. Adjusting the heat level on the thermostat in warmer weather can save you a lot on your electricity account.

2. Switch off your geyser when going away for long periods of time

Geysers are large consumers of electricity in any household.When going away even for just a weekend, switch the geyser off. Why would you want to keep your geyser running if nobody is around to make use of it?

3. Make an investment in a solar geyser

Consider installing a solar geyser, and let the sun do the heating up. Eskom offers rebates on solar geysers, take advantage of that. If it’s too costly to purchase initially, save up a bit from implementing the two tips as mentioned above.

4. Change light bulbs to energy- savers

While the traditional light bulb is 60 watts, an energy saving light bulb is 10-25 watts. Change to these or LED light fittings and see the difference it will make to your household expenses.

5. Buy house brands or no name brands

For those wondering about the quality of no name items, think about this, will a large JSE-listed company risk their reputation by selling inferior quality products?

What a lot of people don’t know is that many branded products are produced in the same factory as non-branded items you will find at local chain stores. Big supermarkets all have their own brand’s products.

6. Don’t go shopping at meal times

Our bodies are programmed in such a way that when we are around food at meal times, we are more likely to buy food items impulsively. Most often than not, we will buy junk food like chocolates and chips, as they are easier to eat immediately.

If you do find yourself shopping at this time and are feeling peckish, go for something like an apple or banana. Fruit is still cheaper (and healthier) than a big bag of potato chips.

7. Make a shopping list and stick to it

Make a list at home of items you need. When buying without a guideline of what you need, you will find yourself buying a lot of things you don’t need, but rather want.

Get your shopping done, and get out of there. The more time you spend wandering around without a purpose, the more unnecessary items you will buy. Think of a drug rehabilitation center for addicts, will you find drugs just laying around there?

8. Sign up for stores reward programmes

Many stores have rewards programmes where you earn points by spending at the store. Don’t get carried away by these programmes though. Businesses have these programmes because they want to encourage you spend at their store and not at their competitor’s.

You still need to look through store’s specials leaflets and decide where to buy from. And if you still feel, you getting the best deal from this store, then use the rewards card. Even if the amount seems small, it’s money that you didn’t have. Some people say “but what’s a R10”, but ask these same people for a R10, and see if they will give it to you.

9. Buy in bulk and look out for specials when buying things

Look out for special deals that stores often offer, usually weekly. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper than buying items individually. Stores want to increase their cash flow and total gross profits and they do this by offering bulk deals. Buy for next week and the week thereafter even if you don’t need it right now. Saving is a long-term plan.

When buying big-ticket items like cameras or laptops, ask yourself if you really need it now, or can you wait for another week until a store offers the product cheaper? This will also give you a chance to research other similar products. Don’t forget to always ask about the guarantee on these.

10. Shop around for the best banking product for your needs

Look through your bank statements and add up all the bank charges. If it seems like you’re paying too much, speak to a consultant at your bank about it. Banks offer packaged details that are cheaper based on the types of services you use. Go to other banks and ask them if they can give you these products cheaper.

When assessing the benefits of having a certain bank account, choose a package with the benefits you will actually use. It doesn’t make sense to choose a package with, say for instance, access to airport lounges if you are not a frequent flyer.

I have never heard of a bank in the world, who informed a client that they are paying too much bank charges. You have to do the research yourself.

11. Take lunch from home

Restaurant meals are expensive because you are paying for the kitchen use and staff expenses of the restaurant. Take your own lunch to work, and rather save towards paying for your own household expenses.

12. Save on your cellphone expenses

When deciding what cellphone to buy, choose a phone with features that you will use, and not what you can use it for.  Choose a price plan that will best suit your needs. If you only call for 100 minutes every month, then you don’t need a contract that gives you 500 minutes per month.

Sometimes service providers lure you with an expensive phone at a cheap price. But then the price per minute to call, or data rates, are much higher than normal.

Consider if taking pre-paid, contract, or top-up packages will work you out cheaper overall.

13.Pay your accounts on time

Some credit providers levy a late payment charge when you pay your account later than the due date. They do this because, at times, the interest they can charge on the overdue account is so little that they make more money on just levying a fixed-fee charge.

So, on an installment of say R50, the late payment fee could also be R50, whereas the interest, had they charged it, would only have been a couple of rands.

Sign a debit order to pay accounts if possible. Not only will you save on the late payment charges or interest, you will also save on fuel costs. At the same time, your credit record will be spotless.

14. Form a lift-club to work

Fuel is an expense that is constantly increasing. Form a lift club with people in your area who work in the same area as you do. Besides the fuel expense, your vehicle maintenance cost will be less too.

15. Keep your vehicle tyres inflated correctly always

When your vehicle’s tyres are not inflated correctly, you use more fuel, and increase tyre wear. The best part of it, is that pumping up your tyres is free at filling stations.

16. Don’t speed

When you drive faster, you use more fuel. Drive more sensibly, and save money on vehicle maintenance, especially on brakes. Simple.

17. Learn to fix things yourself

Everything is bound to break at some time or the other. Get a good set of tools and learn to fix things yourself. Appliances, computers, whatever. Look on the net, there are many videos on how to repair common household items. Once you become confident with the tools, you will realise that it isn’t as complicated to DIY as you thought.

If you still can’t get it fixed, then call a repairman.

18. Share with each other when going out

Family platters are better value than each person buying their own meal. When it comes to drinks, buying a 2L bottle of cold-drink and sharing it amongst yourselves is cheaper than each person buying their own can or smaller bottle.

19. Save by paying towards a retirement annuity fund

Saving is a habit that you will only take seriously when you see it physically. Getting a retirement annuity fund is a good way to do this, because physical cash will be paid to a fund on a monthly basis. The money is out of your hands and is invested in your future.

Contributions to a retirement annuity fund are tax deductible, and your contribution will help you get a bigger refund back when you submit your tax returns. Imagine if, every month you invest your surplus savings into an RAF. By the time you retire you will have accumulated quite a bit. The value of this in your old days will mean more to you then than it will now.

Contact us by clicking here if you would like more information or guidance about the tax benefits of taking out a retirement annuity fund, or just retirement annuity funds in general.

20. Buy snacks before-hand when going on long journeys

In the old days, before eateries became popular sights at at filling stations, people used to take padkos along when traveling long-distance. For those who don’t know what padkos is, it is food prepared at home for consumption while on the road. Things like sandwiches make good padkos.

A packet of chips or sweets bought from a supermarket, or sandwiches made at home, will cost you a lot less than if bought from filling stations along the way. Pack small meals and finger-foods, and take that with. It will save you time, and a lot of money.

The possibilities on how to save money and secure your financial freedom are endless, and we would love to hear about them. Feel free to comment below with other savings tips, and we will be sure to add it to the post. Happy savings!