5 key savings do’s and don’ts

Johannesburg - The experts at FNB Savings & Investments list 5 do's and don'ts to help you save towards any goal you may want to realise.

1. Understand your financial situation
It’s vital that you understand your financial position before you consider your savings going forward. If you don’t know how much money you have, or owe, it’s difficult to understand what you have available to save.
1. Don’t ignore your debt
If you have bills to pay, make sure you start paying them off as a matter of urgency. Order your debt according to the interest that is being charged and pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first to avoid the interest owed becoming larger than your actual debt.
2. Track what you spend
Tracking and analysing your spending is essential. Draw up a budget and try to stick to it. Make sure that you include essential categories in your budget, like savings, and not just the fun stuff. Technology can also help. With programs designed to correlate your spending to your budget, there’s no real excuse not to stick to it.
2. Don’t spend more than you earn
By dipping into your savings, borrowing money or using credit, it’s easy to spend more than you actually earn. The problem is you still need to pay this back and although it’s great now, it will lead to serious financial difficulty over time.
3. Start saving now
The earlier you start to save, the more you earn because of compound interest. Compound interest is when you earn interest on interest, so the longer your money is invested, the greater the amount at the end. This will really help when it comes to saving up for a deposit on a bigger place or a new car.
3. Don’t give in to those impulse purchases
Retail therapy is wrongly widely seen as one of life's greatest pleasures. Stay away from blowing your budget on that shoe sale after you’ve already been to three others. Try to not buy things you don’t need, don’t really want or things you didn’t budget for. If you are tempted, rather walk away and give yourself some time to consider whether you really need it.
4. Pay yourself first
Creating a scheduled transfer from your account into an investment is a great way of ensuring that you look after yourself first! If you save just R200 per month, at an interest rate of 4.25%, you will end up with just under R190,000* over 20 years. If you increased that to R500 per month, you would get just under R480,000* back.
4. Don’t fall for special offers
Getting 10% off when you spend R1 000 sounds like a bargain but do you even need what you just purchased? There are multiple offers available, many of them come with a great new store card, but before you sign the dotted line, consider what you are getting into, what is the interest on the card, what are the conditions?
5. Save for a rainy day
Things always happen when you least expect it; your tyre bursts, your kids exhaust the medical aid or your geyser floods the house. Be prepared for these expenses by ensuring you keep some spare cash aside in an easily accessibly savings account.
5. Don’t touch your pension fund before you need to
When switching jobs, it’s always enticing to dig into your pension fund and pay for those things you really want, like a new car or a holiday overseas. Saving for your future is essential so whatever you do, don’t touch your pension fund or retirement fund before you have to as this will impact the effect of compounding.
* Terms and conditions apply
After you’ve been responsible, paid your bills and saved a portion, have fun spending your money, you’ve earned it!

- Fin24

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