Seven ways to spend less

Let’s be honest: we all want to save more, but by the time we’ve paid the rent and paid our other debts, and all the monthly debit orders have come off, there simply isn’t enough money left to save.

Each person’s situation is different, but most of us should be able to pull up our socks and stop spending in certain areas, which will free up money to save and invest. Here’s how to do it:

1. Avoid scrolling the online aisles. One of the reasons we overspend is because it’s so easy to spend. Waiting in a queue, watching a boring TV show, taking a five-minute break from work… Out comes the phone and off we go into the wonderful world of Facebook Marketplace, Takealot, Instagram, Superbalist and any number of other online spending traps. Put a one-month freeze on your scrolling and see how much you save.

2. Unsubscribe* from newsletters. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one. Instead of shops relying on you to find your way to their site, a newsletter is far more direct. It’s delivered straight to your mailbox so you can ponder how badly you need that pair of jeans that is now 30% off. Don’t let temptation find you. Unsubscribe!

* Except for this one — Slice helps you save!

3. Try to eat out less. Are you going to stop ordering pizza on a Friday night? Probably not. But are you going to avoid fast food restaurants during the week? Yes, you are! You can save a ton of money by preparing your meals for the week at home. Challenge yourself and try some new recipes or do a theme night where you cook a dish from a different country. Most importantly, only go to the grocery store with a list and a full tummy.

4. Leave your credit card at home. There’s nothing more tempting than swiping your credit card for R150 here and R300 there if you come across a sale at the mall. But if you leave your credit card at home, and the money you have on your debit card is already budgeted for necessities, then you’ll be forced to reconsider.

5. Do it yourself. Learn how to paint your own nails, wash your car yourself… Heck, even learn how to unblock the shower drain. All these skills will make you more independent and you’ll save plenty of cash if you don’t have to pay other people to fix small problems.

6. Be honest with yourself. Ask the tough questions: Why do I spend so much on certain things every month? Why can’t I find joy in anything other than retail therapy? Most of us spend because spending makes us happy, not because we need to. The more you learn about yourself, the healthier your spending habits become.

7. Treat yourself! This might seem counterintuitive, but if you don’t buy yourself something nice now and then, you’ll end up ‘rewarding’ your cost-cutting by going on a massive binge and all your hard work will be wasted. That’s human nature. Rather budget for the things you want, plan for them, and save up for good-quality items that will last longer, or for a life experience that will mean more than a quick R500 purchase every weekend.

Remember, the less you spend, the more you save, and the happier you’ll be in the long run. Give it a try!

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Thoughts, observations and insights. About money, life and 22seven. Visit 22seven.com