Saving & Investing plays an important role to secure your goals, your dreams, and your future. Why do we need to save then, so we’re saying when you’re daydreaming about your future, do bear in mind that those dreams, goals require money; so the question is, what is the difference between savings and investing, they are usually used interchangeably but there is a slight relationship. However, the difference is in the goal-setting (whether it is for short term or long term) that is, how soon do you want access to the funds, so savings relates putting money away for a short term need such as holiday, deposit for a car, emergency rainy day fund.

Investing I call it the eighth wonder of the world(compound interest) in that, once you have created that emergency fund, you can then make it grow even further by investing in longer-term instruments that which we will discuss in the next post. The next question will be, so where will that money come from? The lottery is not the answer, hey some of us are not lucky, where some lost relative left us with some huge inheritance; we have had to work. Good luck if you have won the Lottery(hope and pray that you have used & saved it wisely). In the end, it all starts with small practical steps with little deliberate behavioral changes moving from wasteful to frugal(but not cheap).

Lao Tzu said “A journey of a 1000 miles, begins with one baby step at a time. I have added to it “that it opens up a new understanding, clarity, and following one’s Life meaning when you are deliberate about it”- Zinzi Mdedetyana

We all dream of a better and a great life for ourselves and our loved ones, one or someday in the future based on what we wish, we want, and we imagine our future to be. We should also bear in mind that, when it comes to your money, although you live in the present(now), the focus should also be not on how your money can do for you now, but can also stretch enough to focus on the future(dreams & goals) ensuring that some of it, is put away today so that it can work & take care of you tomorrow.

Pay Yourself First

It is also important to note that you must pay yourself first, before paying(sharing) your hard-earned money with others, so that there’s always enough to look after you when you really need it; it serves you as it should. Take it like a prepaid investment(paying it forward before you need money) that would see your money grow and that will help you to achieve your goals, dreams and your future. What are we talking about, I will tell you that savings and investments is being smart about how to spend your hard-earned money wisely. When we do not save or invest, we are basically “robbing and stealing from our future” and that my friend is the most horrific injustice we can ever commit to ourselves and our beloved ones.

What are your goals(needs you might be saving & investing for) – different strokes for different folks

  • Do you want to own your own home or car, how much will it cost you, bearing in mind that the bigger the car or home, the most expensive, remember needs vs wants.
  • What kind of education do you want for your children and perhaps the improvement of your own? What will it cost you, considering that education is the best investment(gift) that you can give to your children and yourself?
  • What kind of financially secure lifestyle after retirement do you want, as I am certain that you would like it, to be, sustainable, and not rely on a paltry government pension or live off your family members and become a burden?
  • You cannot really know in advance when will you need that extra money, especially during unforeseen events(sudden retrenchment, children getting sick, major operation) and Life stages(ages and stages) that sometimes throws us off when we were didn’t see it coming, so by creating an extra pad (emergency fund) to cushion the impact that “seem” to happen spontaneously; so what would it cost you to survive the tough times, until you recover.
  • Have you dreamt of taking a dream holiday one day to Europe or USA before you kick the bucket(before you die) and how much will this trip cost (set you back)

I trust that now you will realize that it is important to save for your future, long term plans for you and your family(loved ones), for the lifestyle you want for yourself(after retirement) and spontaneous unforeseen events – an emergency fund

Investment & savings vehicles(list not exhaustive)

  • Moneybox(Mattress) shoebox
  • Savings club
  • Savings account
  • Stokvel
  • Tax-free savings account
  • Notice deposit(32 days, 7 days notice account)
  • Call account
  • Fixed deposit
  • Government Bonds
  • Unit trusts
  • Shares
  • Bonds
  • Retirement Annuities(RA)
  • Pension Fund or Provident fund

How to save – 17 practical life-changing saving strategies you can starting using Today

  • Make savings fun: create a fun competition within family members or friends to keep the momentum going and lasting(stick to it)
  • Look into saving on bank charges and insurance – keep reviewing how much it costs you, to have and keep the bank account you hold and insurance(contract terms and conditions)
  • Buy what you need:- plan and only buy food that you really to avoid wastage
  • Buy in bulk– helps to save in the long run, especially goods with long shelf life like toilet paper, washing powder, dishwashing liquid, and washing powder
  • Avoid buying convenience food:– how much would you save if you cooked food at home and also consider preparing fresh ingredients that will enhance your lifestyle as you can control both costs and what goes into your body
  • Take lunchbox to work:- take leftover meals to work and this will help avoid unnecessary spending and forces you to be realistic about your money and helps with your priorities. Let me help you see what I mean, let’s say you spend R30,00 for a plate of pap and meat at Tshesanyama every day, that works to R150,00 per week, spent over 49 weeks works out to R7350,00 that you will save by bringing a lunchbox to work every day. Make sense, so prioritize your spending habits.
  • Eat before you go out for shopping:- this goes for children too, as well as adults because you spend more money when you’re hungry(to fill the void) instead of when you’re full you tend to be more careful.
  • Make a shopping list of the required items and stick to it, even if there are ongoing specials(if it is not on the list, ignore or avoid it, move right along)
  • Compare prices:- we live in an internet age (information is freely available) so it has made our lives easier to compare and save time, e.g. update and review needs(cellphone packages), where and when to shop (at the end of the month the food prices goes up than during the course of the month)
  • Do not be a slave to retail therapy:- it has its good and bad ways; delay the immediate(instant gratification) by buying on impulse, take time to do research, compare prices or items, read reviews of what other people think of the use of the items, consider all available options before committing your hard-earned cash about a purchase especially big-ticket items such as fancy car, expensive furniture, latest fashion fad, bling items(stop being a fashion victim; be a finance victor)
  • Use electricity sparingly:- switch off lights in rooms that are not occupied, so it goes for the appliance as well – saves energy and lasts longer, uses light bulbs and appliance that are energy efficient.
  • Be smart in how and when to shop:- familiarize yourself with seasonal sales, e.g. buy your clothes when season changes (at the end of winter buy winter fashion clothing that is when retail shops get rid of their stocks to make way for summer, so at the end of summer you buy summer clothes; in that way you buy items at reduced prices and it is still good quality clothing that lasts forever
  • Avoid swiping your plastic card:- it is always easy and convenient to use our credit, cheque and debit cards as there no charges when you swipe, right. However; we do not stop to think when we use the card, that as much as the cash leaves the bank account, it surely leaves our hands – you wonder what happened to your money?

Rather withdraw enough cash that is required and you also save on bank charges(it psychologically registers how much you are withdrawing or spending just keep the receipts, so as to track and trace where the money went, to able to cover you’re weekly, living expenses such as transportation, petrol, fruit & vegetables, bread & milk; this will help you avoid swiping your card on sudden unplanned impulse buying, eg. like a pair of shoes, jeans, nice shirt to impress at a party or wedding – that was not in the budget to begin with.

  • Work together as a team(family, partnership) there is no point in trying to save, in a case where there’s no communication within the family structure(get buy-in from family members) to gain support and working together; this is a recipe for financial victory.
  • Check your budget and track your money regularly:– continuously review your budget(keep receipts, check your transactions online, update your budget as regularly as is possible weekly, monthly, quarterly) checking to spend vs earnings; keep on cutting costs, spending less and save money. Once you get comfortable in repeating these steps, soon you’ll be in a place where you start building wealth and the next step(the big question) is what you are going to do with the money you saved? – maybe reward yourself take that long overdue vacation you promised(dreamt) for yourself.
  • Change your money habits, change your lifestyle, Imagine having a clean bill of health, healthy bank balance, this is what smokers realize when they quit smoking that they can save between R50,00 – R80,00 each time on a packet of cigarettes. Imagine that adding up to an amazing incredible saving each month and even more in a year.
  • Find your own suitable saving amount:– try and aim to save an amount each month – usually 10% is what is a reasonable start, so if you earn R10,000.00 per month, then you should save (10%)R1000.00; but if it feels like it is too much, then start with what you can afford to save and put away every month. The popular saying goes that “it is better to start small than to procrastinate or to never to start at all”. Once you have decided on an amount, then create a stop order from your bank account to allow your money to be deducted automatically, to a separated savings account to avoid the temptation to have an excuse of not saving. So, start today!

In my next post, I will focus on what is investment & types of investment vehicles that you can take advantage of.

Please, will you be so kind as to leave a comment, a question or share your story and we will gladly come back to you.