Start saving now!

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Take the first step to financial wellness...and SAVE! And you'll boost our economy as you do it!

Over-extending ourselves and living beyond our means has become far-too-normal in our country. Whether you attribute our populations' need for more to Apartheid, Generation X&Y's inability to delay gratification, 24/7 online shopping, or the persistent onslaught of mass media, it is clear that there is a fire of entitlement raging and it's eating up our credit cards.

So, how do you say no to yourself? How do you tell yourself that you do not need it or that despite needing it, you cannot afford it (especially when there are so many people and promotions telling you how to get it now and pay later?)

It's rather simple. You formulate your goal/your ticker/the-thing-worth-suffering-for and then you start. Saving small, to buy big much, much later. Saving is really delayed spending.

Here is your savings plan.

You need a visual. It helps if your savings are visual rather than abstract numbers only visible when you login to your online banking account. Go old school and keep a glass jar that you slip notes into or draw up a a star chart with savings targets that you can see on your bathroom mirror. Even if the numbers are happening online, a tangible, constant visual will keep you focused like a wedding band that keeps you personally and publicly accountable for what you promised to save.

You need to save first and spend later. Very few people have month at the end of their money. Get paid? Set aside some savings before life happens to you. 10 percent is a good target. Unforeseen income from your tax return? Save it! The goal is to save up 3 months worth of salaries. This will take you 30 months (2.5 years) if you are only adding the 10% each month. Remember if life does happen (your car breaks down) you can always go back into your savings, but this way you will live a little less extravagantly everyday.

Live smaller. Everyday. It is not that coffee you buy each morning that is keeping you from financial wellness. It is more likely the area you are living in and the way you are getting to work. That's right, life enhancing treats like your favourite cuppa, may add up to R500 a month but they probably don't even account for 5% of your expenses. Housing and transport costs do. They are two thirds of your monthly expenses!! So make a good decision about this and reap the rewards everyday. Buy a smaller home that requires less water and rates and taxes and electricity and maintenance. Car pool or ride a scooter or explore public transport or move closer to your work so you can walk. There are a myriad lifestyle choices that can make your savings far easier.


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