How to make saving money a habit
Author: Nina Kajee
Whether you’re going through a difficult financial time, or simply want to optimise the funds you have available to you, it is important to have a repertoire of savings strategies in your arsenal for when you need it.
According to globally recognised personal finance guru, Dave Ramsey, you’ll only save money consistently when you internalise healthy money habits. There are loads of practical ways you can save money in your household, but this article will focus on the ways that promote habit-forming money-saving practises that anyone could follow.
Plan and prepare your meals in advance - In this way, you will be less likely to opt for takeout, which can cost an arm and a leg and tends to be prepared in unhealthy methods and quantities. Groceries are cheaper when you’ve planned your purchases, because this helps you avoid picking up extras. It’s true that this practice takes more time, but several sources, like Forbes, TheSimpleDollar and Food24, cite it as a money-saving trick.
Manage your electricity-heavy appliances better - Investigate which of your appliances use a lot of electricity and figure out how to reduce their usage. This will save on your electricity bill. Typical culprits are appliances that use a heat element, like ovens, stoves, geysers, and tumble dryers. For some of these appliances, you can invest in alternatives to completely rule them out, like getting a gas stove and oven. For others, you might want to consider automatic timers to help you regulate when they turn on or off.
Budget for savings and transfer them automatically - Many people make the mistake of forgetting to include savings in their monthly budgets. If it’s not part of your budget, you won’t remember to save. Dave Ramsey suggests that you set up your savings to be deducted from your income account automatically. In this way, you won’t forget to set these funds aside towards savings and be less likely to convince yourself that the money should be used for something else.
Cancel unused subscriptions - If you have digital or cable TV, but find yourself using streaming platforms more; cancel your subscription for the former in favour of the latter. Likewise, if you have a gym membership you hardly use, let it go and opt for home exercise. Automatic subscriptions should also be cancelled, says Ramsey. Be sure to review your subscriptions regularly to shed unnecessary expenses.
Have habitual ‘spending freezes’- Similar to a ‘social media cleanse’ or ‘meat-free Mondays’ the objective is to change your behaviour to reap the benefits that abstinence may bring. If you want to gain perspective on your spending, try stopping it altogether for a week; don’t buy anything. Ramsey refers to this as a ‘contentment challenge’, where the aim is to be content with what you already have.
The point of these measures is not to impose drastic or major change. Instead, the focus is on small but significant changes that will help you to re-evaluate your spending habits and hopefully lead you to a healthier financial position.