THE middle of the worst recession might seem like a strange time to think about saving, especially since the majority of us are struggling at this time.
And with the South African Savings Institute declaring July Savings Month, the concept of saving might sound even more strange to most people, especially women.
Since most women control family budgets, it makes a lot of sense that we start saving despite the difficult financial times.
Tendani Mantshimuli, a consumer economist at Liberty Life, says that by making a few small changes to our financial patterns, we can pull our families and our country through this difficult time.
"We South Africans don't have a culture of saving and it's important for us, and for the country as a whole, to shift this culture and start to understand the importance of saving for those inevitable rainy days," she says.
Mantshimuli shares some tips on how to save during this tough time:
Buy only what you can afford and avoid getting deeper into debt by buying things on credit;
Spend wisely. Don't give in to pressure from your kids;
Always save for something specific. Saving for its own sake will not keep you motivated, especially when times are hard. So put money away for your child's education, furniture, renovations and so on;
When you calculate your income for budgeting purposes, exclude the amount you are saving from the income figure. That way you are less likely to use the money for other things;
Save on bank charges by planning your withdrawals and make a few large ones instead of numerous small ones. Using an ATM is cheaper than going into the branch;
Keep a budget with all your income and expenses written down and stick to it;
Pay more on your home loan. Paying even a R100 extra can save you a lot of interest in the long run;
Use your credit card cautiously. If you are already indebted, pay off this expensive debt first. Don't take your credit card to "temptation spots" such as clothing stores;
Avoid late payments on your credit card or store accounts because this attracts late-fee charges;
Contributing to your retirement fund earns you a tax break from Sars, so contribute as much as you possibly can;
Analyse your workday expenses. Buying lunch is more expensive than bringing something from home;
Keep a close eye on your electricity and water expenses. Switch off lights in rooms that are not being used and fix leaking taps. These small changes will save you money;
Buy groceries in bulk as there are many bargains to be had. Discipline your kids not to raid the food cupboard. Treats and snacks are good, but only in moderation;
Make eating out as a family a treat and not the norm because eating out can be an expensive exercise at the best of times..