10 Money hacks you wish you’d known sooner
Published on 17th December, 2019 at 10:35 am
Get financially smart and save big with these fresh saving and budgeting hacks.
1. Ask if your kids really need new everything
How many unused rulers, scissors and dictionaries does your child have because you always order everything on the stationery list at the beginning of the school year? If you haven’t already, take stock of everything your child has from the previous year, and note which items are in good condition and therefore don’t need to be replaced.
For those that do need to be replaced, use this money hack: buy uniforms from the school second-hand shop, and ask parents of children in the grade ahead of your child if they have any textbooks they’d like to sell.
Consider hiring sports equipment from the school as an alternative to buying a new hockey stick, tennis racket or netball, for example. Here are some other hacks to help you beat the cost of your children’s schooling.
2. Work out your hourly rate…
… and use it to decide whether that impulse splurge is really worth it. Calculate your hourly rate by dividing your monthly salary by 160 (number of typical workings hours in a month, based on eight hours a day for five days a week). This will give you what you earn for each hour you work.
If your rate is R150 and a R1 500 bag has caught your eye, you would’ve worked 10 hours to pay for that bag. Does that feel worth it? Reframing how you see your money is the first step to saving more of it.
3. Simmer down on the road
A 2017 study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory published in SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants confirmed just how much your fuel economy is impacted when you accelerate or brake hard in a bout of road rage. At highway speeds, you can lower your fuel economy by up to 30%, depending on the vehicle. Save that 30% by taking a deep breath, counting to 10 and letting that rage go.
Has your car felt the brunt of your road rage lately? There’s no better time to take it for its annual vehicle inspection. Pay R95 at Tiger Wheel & Tyre or Tyres & More and earn 10 000 tier points while you’re at it!
4. Find an accountability partner
An accountability partner or money mentor can take the form of a qualified financial planner who can offer objective advice suited to you. Further to this, regular visits will allow you to share how your goals are changing, what habits need to be formed to meet these goals, and therefore what habits need to be kept in check.
A 2018 study by Columbia Business School titled ‘The Power of Peers in Saving Money’ supports this: peer support was found to be more effective in helping a person stay on track to their savings goals compared to simply being offered higher savings interest rates.
Read more about why an accountability partner is key to your wealth this year, here.
Want a financial accountability partner but don’t know where to look? Find one by clicking here to set up a meeting with a financial planner.
5. Make achieving goals fun!
Goals are more important than you think for a successful savings journey: a 2016 whitepaper titled ‘When more is less: Rethinking financial health’ by Morningstar, a US fund-ratings house, suggests that people who set specific goals and visualise their future lifestyle save, on average, 20 times more than those who don’t goal-set beyond a year.
Use this online savings tool to calculate how much you need to put away each month to reach your savings goal. It’s easy!
How to hack this? Get creative by visualising your savings journey on paper. Draw up a chart and highlight your short-term goals to break your journey up into manageable chunks. Then display it somewhere visible that you can see every day to be reminded of how far you’ve come, and to stay motivated to complete the remaining legs of your savings journey.
6. Stop hoarding
It’s easy to wind up with a backlog of household items you know you mean to use at some point or have been meaning to give away but haven’t got around to it. Stop! You’re fooling yourself. Rather sell those items to declutter your space and make money.
Popular options include Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree – just be safe by meeting your buyer in a public space, requesting full payment (not instalments), and keeping your personal information private. On Facebook Marketplace, there’s no harm in viewing your buyer’s profile and checking their rating to see if they have a good track record.
7. Get screened
Save money in the long term by regularly making use of the preventative screenings offered by your medical aid plan, suggests Conrad Koorts, a Certified Financial Planner® at Firebird BlueStar.
As a Sanlam Reality member, you can manage your risk and earn 1 000 tier points by booking a basic medical test at any Dis-Chem or Clicks pharmacy for just R132. A healthcare professional will assess your blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and glucose levels.
8. Eat, then shop
Hunger will make you spend more at the checkout, and not just on food. A 2015 study by Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota found that hunger creates an acquisitive mindset, i.e. the desire to acquire both food and non-food items, whether free or at a price.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is only a risk when you’ve headed down to the mall – online shoppers are at risk for unnecessary spending on an empty stomach too!
It’s not just hunger to watch out for; according to 2006 research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology by Curtin University, music can influence your spending too. Upbeat music arouses people to act more quickly, including moving around a shop quicker, whereas slower tunes have the opposite effect. The mood of music also plays a role: classical music, for example, is more likely to make people feel as though they should spend more than country music does.
Find yourself constantly spending on things you just don’t need? A budget can help curb your habit. Here’s a free template and guide to start with.
9. Turn off autofill
Speaking of online shopping, how much time does autofill save you when completing your payment at checkout? Plenty – but that’s the problem! It’s time to ditch this convenience – you’ll thank us. The more effort it takes to actually complete check-out on your purchase, the less likely you are to actually spend online. It’s the inconvenience that’ll be super convenient when you’re saving big!
Be savvy and safe when shopping online by keeping an eye out for fraudsters; here’s a quick guide.
10. Ditch your habits
“Look at cutting down on cigarettes, on-the-go work lunches or takeaway coffees, spa treatments and regular nights out, for example,” says Koorts. “These may seem affordable as individual items, but they can add up to thousands if you’re not paying attention.”
Put the money you save into an interest-bearing account and watch the power of compound interest work in your favour! Want to find out how to kick other bad money habits? Read this.
A financial planner can assess your finance needs and guide you to better wealth by changing certain lifestyle habits and being more intentional about saving. Book a meeting with one today.
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