Cape Town - As we begin the new year the timing couldn't be more perfect to start focusing on our savings goals.
One Fin24 user explained how he is planning to save for a honeymoon they never had, while another decided to save after her card declined when she wanted to buy a loaf of bread.
This after Fin24 asked users to share their personal savings journeys based on a 52-week challenge savings plan. The plan encourages people to save an amount each week of the month, beginning in January with R10. The amounts go up as the weeks go by.
I'm saving for a surprise honeymoon
Fin24 user Thabane Nhlengethwa wrote in nothing that he successfully completed the challenge last year. He managed to save R13 780 so he could surprise his wife with a vacation to Zanzibar in Tanzania for a honeymoon they never had.
He said he he first saw the savings spreadsheet on Twitter a short while after his 28th birthday on December 4 2016 and the first thing that caught his eye was the savings total of R13 780 after 52 weeks.
He wrote: What piqued my interest even further was the fact that the grand total can be reached by sparing small amounts of money that I normally spend on eating out, taking my vehicle to the car wash, unhealthy snacks etc.
In as much as the small weekly portions were appealing, the grand total was the most alluring as I have been promising my wife (we've been together for seven years, married last year April) that I am going to take her to Zanzibar, Tanzania for a vacation (we never had a honeymoon). I never really gave much thought into how I was going to do this - probably take a loan, but I have a natural aversion to taking up debt.
Therefore, the savings plan gave me a much more viable option to make our dream vacation a real possibility.
So far the savings plan is going well. I am on week 13 because I immediately saved R360 for weeks 1-8, and I am currently on week 13.
I am going to remain steadfast in my saving and I really cannot wait to surprise her.
Saving definitely needs discipline
Constance Matlejoane indicated that she saw the chart from journalist Arabile Gumede on Twitter in December 2015 and she saved the picture on her phone.
In January 2016 I started with the weekly savings in my money box but I kept on taking R20 here and there, therefore in April I decided to move my savings to my Nedbank 32-day notice savings account.
I chose this account because it’s not easy to get tempted to withdraw, even if I think I need money urgently at some point, by the end of the 32 days that "emergency" does not sound like an emergency anymore.
I used some of the money for Christmas gifts and the rest will remain in the account until I really need it.
This year I am starting again with weekly savings and then in May I will switch to monthly savings.
This is a brilliant way to save but it definitely needs discipline, hence the 32 days’ notice savings account is safe for me.
Most of my friends also joining in this year and I hope they will stick it out until December!
This is the first time I got serious about saving money and it feels so good. No more turning back!
I'll be saving double the amount in 2017
Another Fin24 user will be doing this savings challenge for a second time.
Vuyelwa Nyangule explained that she was part of a group of friends who opened an investment account to make weekely payments into it. However, by June, it was only three of them left with the others giving up and withdrawing their funds.
She wrote: By July/August I realised that the weekly payments were increasing and I lacked discipline and so I decided to start making monthly payments in advance (4 weeks = 1 month) and I'd calculate the amounts and make the payments on a monthly basis.
This year, because I know how difficult and challenging it gets towards the end of the year, what I'll do is I'll multiply the R13 780 by 2 and divide by 12 in order to establish how much I'll have to put away per month instead of per week so as to not struggle towards the end of the year.
What I also realised is that most of this money was actually spent on lunch and eating out, so last year wasn't that much of a challenge but I'm sure this year will be as I'll be saving double the amount and will need to make drastic changes on my spending.
What I'll do is analyse my bank statements so as to see exactly where my money goes, see if I can cut out completely or decrease the amount spent on those particular unnecessary items.
Eat out less, budget for each spend and if it's not budgeted for, then I will not have it.
Fin24 user Phumzile pointed out that she developed a consistent financial savings plan the day her card declined a loaf of bread.
She wrote: I made a promise on that day that this is not what I wanted to reflect in my character. As we know, there's nothing more embarrassing than being told by a teller you don't have money to pay for basic needs with eyes and ears around, hoping she could at least whisper, wink, or write a little note?
But some of us can be somewhat financially irresponsible, which is a vulnerability that one can not be too proud about.
I took that as a challenge to change my spending habits, which are not extravagant, but surely the money was being spent prudently.
I realised I wasted a lot of money on takeaways, especially in the first week of pay day, in the spirit of entertaining the kids and also to give myself a break from cooking. This included buying lunch at work, which amounted to nearly R1 200. That had to be reviewed and I set a budget for it instead of being impulsive and spontaneous.
I saved quite a lot when I reduced this and learned new skills on how to bring the fun home and experiment on meals with my kids.
Second on the list was to draw up a grocery list and stick to it, but also learning to compare prices on some items I can get in bulk at a cheaper amount. (I know, who would have thought food can be such a problem in life.)
Knowing that saving was not my strength, I opened a 32-day account which debits R1 000 monthly. Suddenly, I had extra that I didn't think was available. Now I'm at peace knowing I have money for rainy days and personal goals available to me when I need it.
I look forward to adding whatever excess money I have into my savings now, especially with my biggest motivation being never to hear the word "declined" EVER! Oh, I also took it upon myself to learn how to bake bread.
We can live without many things
People often don't save because they don't want to live within their means. If we can do proper introspection, half the things we spend on, we can live without.
Money is not the problem, perhaps we need to look at what is it about us that is so dissatisfied and unfulfilled. What void are we so desperately trying to fill and overcompensate for? Who are we trying to impress at the expense of our financial health?
Let's redefine needs vs wants. If it’s a case of being over indebted, seek help. Save nonetheless, a little goes a long way.
We need to treasure our money
Suze Orman suggested that we go back to treasuring our money like we did as children when we were given 50c by our relatives.
"We held on to it for as long as we did not want to spend it. I've gone back to relating to money this way."
What is your savings plan for 2017? Share your story by ending us an email.
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