No matter what your budget, chances are you’re overspending here and there. It can be hard to cut back when it already feels as if you’re stretching your finances as tightly as possible – but here are 10 ways to curb unnecessary spending:
1. Finish it up
Whether it’s that giant bottle of hair conditioner you bought on a sale, long-neglected pantry items that are still in date or the heap of craft supplies in the study, there may be many half-used products lying around your home. Before planning your next shopping trip, have a look around and make a list of what you already have: you might already
have all the ingredients for a great dinner, or the glitter and coloured pens your kids need for a looming school project. Besides saving money, you’ll also be clearing out clutter.
2. Sell your clutter
Every now and again, most of us go through a Marie Kondo phase and ruthlessly gather up anything that no longer ‘sparks joy’. For the larger part of the year, though, unused clutter, clothing and bits and bobs lie piled in dark cupboards and garages, doing nobody any good. Think of these problematic heaps as little gold mines and you’ll soon be motivated to do a clear-out. Gather up your goods, room by room, and plan a sale – whether at a car boot
market or via the Internet. You’ll be able to add the profits to your savings in no time!
3. Only shop in the real world
Online shopping can be disturbingly easy. A couple of clicks and you’ve checked out a cart without even really noticing the hefty price tag. Unsubscribe from shopping apps and sites, and remove your credit card information. Next time you’re tempted to click and buy, you’ll have to re-enter all your info anew, which might just give you the time you need to rethink your purchase.
4. Stick to shopping lists
Wandering into Woolies on an empty stomach can be dangerous: ‘I’m just popping out to get some washing powder’ can quickly devolve into a trolley filled with mini doughnuts and chips (we’ve all been there). The best thing to do is eat before you go shopping and arm yourself with a list of what you (truly) need. That way, you won’t forget any essentials and will be able to avoid the pastry aisle. You’ll also be more likely to stick to the plan and avoid going rogue.
5. Do it yourself
Instead of a sporadic shopping spree for new home decor items, beauty products or baked treats, explore the DIY options. You’ll be surprised what you can put together for little or no money, using things you already have at home. Visit our crafts section for tons of great ideas!
6. Find and app that works for you
Use a budgeting app to help you keep better track of your financial ins and outs. An app like 22seven can show
you how much you’re spending and reveal potentially problematic habits that you aren’t fully aware of.
7. Have home-cooked meals
With the advent of Uber Eats and Mr Delivery, ordering in has become more tempting than ever. After a long day at work and ferrying kids to and from school and extramurals, flopping down on the couch and waiting for dinner to magically arrive can seem irresistible. However, convenience comes at a cost. Take-aways may be stress-free and quick, but if you add up what they cost, you’ll be shocked. Try other ways to make cooking every night less of a chore – take turns with your partner or kids to cook, spend one night a week preparing ahead and find some recipes you’re excited to try out.
8. Save your bonuses
You should only be planning a budget using your standard income, meaning your lifestyle should match what you’re guaranteed to earn every month. This budget should include any luxuries or treats you intend indulging in, so if you receive a bonus at work, score on a tax refund or even find R50 in one of your jacket pockets, put this money into your savings. Little boosts to your savings can have a big impact and end up being far more rewarding than that new dress or fancy weekend away you’re tempted to blow your bonus on.
9. Cancel services and memberships you don’t need
Memberships and services can be big money wasters, as we often set automatic payments for them and then forget them. For instance, is there a gym membership you’re still paying, even though you haven’t been in more than a year? Or did you sign up for Netflix, but forget to cancel the payments for other viewing services you no longer use? Go through your automatic monthly payments and see where you could be saving.
10. Control your impulses
Sticking to a strict budget isn’t easy, but it basically boils down to controlling impulses. Set yourself a rule: before buying that fab pair of shoes you’ve just spotted, give yourself a cooling-off period. After a week, if you’re still absolutely certain you can’t live without them, consult your budget and ensure there’s enough wiggle room to buy them. If not, talk yourself down and accept that if you want them, you’ll have to save for a while. Better yet, make do with a smaller indulgence, like a cappuccino and muffin. Often, gratifying one appetite also satisfies another!
COMPILED BY CAITLIN GENG PHOTOS: STOCK.ADOBE.COM AND SUPPLIED