"Pay yourself first"
The first rule of saving is always to put aside money to save before you start to buy things. This is called "pay yourself first." If you do not save first, you may never get around to saving, or you might spend all your money.
Control your spending
An easy way to start saving money is to look at what you spend, and change your spending habits. Examples of easy ways to save on spending are:
- Buy second hand clothes instead of new ones.
- Make your own food rather than buying takeaway food.
- Skip the movies and rent a DVD instead.
How much should you save?
You may already be saving change in a tin, under your mattress or in the bank.
Here are some savings guidelines:
- Experts suggest that you save at least 10% of your income.
- Save for emergencies. When you are an adult and living on your own, you should save enough so that you can live for three to six months on your savings.
How do you work out what percentage of your money you are saving?
Let us say you have R100:
- If you save R10, you have saved 10% of your money.
- If you save R20, you have saved 20% of your money.
- If you save R50, which is half of the money, you have saved 50%.
- If you save all the money, you have saved 100%.
Saving options: Where can you save your money?
In a tin or under the mattress
People might keep their money in a tin or under the mattress at home, or carry it around in their pockets.
- It's yours.
- You can get to it easily.
- You can put as much money as you want in it.
- Someone could steal it.
- It could be destroyed in a fire.
- You could lose it.
- No costs – all you need is an empty tin or a container that can be closed or that has a lid, but you have lost the opportunity to grow your money.
- Your money will not grow and become more. The money you put in the tin is the money you have saved.
In a stokvel
There are many types of stokvels. One type would be a stokvel where you and several of your friends save money together. For example, let us say, eight stokvel members each contribute R50 per month. Each member then gets a turn every eight months to take the R400 that the members contribute that month. This will enable members to buy something they want or need that they would ordinarily not be able to afford.
- You will have a large amount available to spend or save when it is your turn to get the contributions.
- Saving with your friends is easier than saving on your own. It teaches you to save in a disciplined manner. If you do not give your monthly contribution, you cannot be a member of the stokvel.
- A stokvel is fun and you can get tips from your friends on good buys.
- It could take long before it is your turn.
- Members might not have enough money to contribute regularly.
- The stokvel might fall apart when a member dies or moves to another town.
- You could urgently need the money for an unexpected expense, before it's your turn.
- There is no additional cost except for the refreshments you have to buy when the stokvel meets at your home.
- If your money does not earn interest, you would have lost the opportunity to grow your money. (Note: some stokvels make provision for interest to grow your money.)
In a bank account
Money can be kept in a bank account. The bank will look after your money. It will be safe and could grow in value over time by earning interest.