Tips to save money when your travelling feet and passport trump your savings plan

Anje Rautenbach

It was the early 2000s, during the time South Africans shipped themselves out in the thousands to chase the Great Britain dream of waving daylight goodbye, working, sleeping in cramped up spaces and building a decent nest egg, that I decided – after seeing how a family member saved the Queen’s pounds – one day, I’ll do the same.

Being in the final year of high school I thought, “One day, I’ll also go somewhere, work for a year or two, save money and come back to South Africa. One day, I’ll also invest. One day, I’ll also think about my future. ”

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Complete silence. That’s not how knock-knock works.

Knock, knock.

Silence again.

I open the door and there it stands.

Oh, hi there One Day. Where did you come from?

One Day looked me up and down, shook its head in disbelief and said, “Woman, where have you been?  I’ve been waiting for you. It’s almost two decades later, you nearly spent half a decade enjoying the rand’s depreciation while you earned in another currency in another country. Was that not the “one day” you wanted? My name is now Future, and you did not merely save as much as you thought you would. And whatever you save must surely have feet because it is always leaving you.”

[Insert slow music to increase the tension.]

Future’s intense glares reminded me of all the times my savings have left me; I remembered all the places, the people, the sights, smells and sounds, I remembered reading maps and getting lost, I remembered discovering my background and going a bit further, I remembered beaming at a sunrise, I remembered reflecting as a sunset.

The fond memories formed a smile on my face, I propped my head up with shoulders straight and stared Future in the eyes.

Yo Future ex One Day! Knock knock.

Future’s confused.

Bugger off. I did save.

8 Tips for saving money when you’re travelling feet and passport *trump your saving plan

* trump: the verb, not the person.

1. Get a piggy bank

Drop it like it’s hot into the piggy bank. Empty your wallet of small change once and twice a week and keep it under seal, lock and no-peeking-surveillance for a whole year. Take your coins to the bank. In the day of online banking where, let’s face it, we, the customer do the work, and for what some banks charge us for banking fees, it will be surprisingly satisfying to spend so much time at the bank while someone else is handling the counting of your 5 and 10 cents.

Disclaimer: To those working at a bank, I apologize in advance, but eish, we gotta get our banking fees money’s worth somehow.

2. Get a new bank

If your banking fees are too high and, especially if you don’t have loans and blah blah that will make admin a pain in the piggy bank butt, move to a different bank.  There are more affordable alternatives.

PwC did an analysis on the four major banking groups in 2016 and found that they’ve posted combined headline earnings of R72.3bn, up 8.4% on annualised basis compared to 2015.

Disclaimer: I don’t know what that means but it sounds like a high banking fee payer with a middle class income might be pulling on the shorter straw.

3. Buy less

If it still works and if it still fits, you probably don’t need to buy it. Stay away from browsing online, it is the root of all things unnecessary; only shop online if you really, really need it.

Keep in mind: Learning how to use a needle and a thread for loose buttons and loose ends (or holes), can help with your savings plan.

4. Eating in vs eating out

While dressing up in your FIY (fix-it-yourself) ripped jeans and going out might sound like the perfect evening out, eating at home will be easier on the pocket (and you can still wear your FIY jeans). Share meals, have a potluck with a friend or your neighbour, get less takeaways or make frozen dinners (oh calm your horses, it’s not that bad).  

And instead of drinking coffee at a coffee shop, make it at home, put in a flask and meet your friend at the beach or in a park (oh calm your caffeinated horses, it is not that bad).

Did you know that millennials are the ones who spend the most on food and restaurants?

Keep in mind: If you’re still fortunate enough to have grandparents and parents, pay them a visit. Giving out food is instinct to them.

5. Be data stingy or a wifi-sniffer

Who remembers the old joke in the nineties: Ek woudaarkom, toe loop ek maar? Let’s face, we pay outrages prices for data in South Africa and while the telecommunications adverts sing praises of lower prices and free data, we don’t live in a land of connected e-unicorns. It sucks. If you’re not in a contract and paying-too-much-as-you-go, switch to the other side, it’s a no fuss and no hassle process and your number will stay the same (so really what are you waiting for). Also, sniff out the places with free wifi and (ab)use it.

Disclaimer: If you are a restaurant or hotel or something offering “free wifi” and you only give something as ridiculous as 50MB or 100MB, may I suggest buying a newspaper and realising that it is 2017? 50 MB is not something you have for breakfast, it is the milk that goes into your coffee for breakfast.

One more disclaimer: All those service provider companies with offers such as 500 MB for R200, please, stop being so nasty and ridiculous. Not flippen cool.

6. Easy on the utilities

Not only do we need to be more resources-conscious because of the current water situation in South Africa, but it can also help you save some moola. Go easy on the electricity, use things twice, don’t shower without a bucket, switch off the lights and stop leaving the TV on for background noise.

Keep in mind: You can cut your utility bills in half by using a scissor but it won’t help.

7. Be a tourist in your own backyard

If you’re saving for a big trip – whether abroad or in South Africa – but still want to explore and have those in-between adventures, discover your town or city (or a nearby town or city) on a day trip to save accommodation costs and seek out some of the free things that you can do. We are fortunate to be surrounded by nature in South Africa and to have free access to a lot of places.

Keep in mind: Gear yourself with passes or cards where you can pay one price a year for unlimited access.

8. Stop comparing

Our greatest pitfall as humans is the compare ourselves to other people; walk your own path, discover your own treasures and understand the difference between your wants and your needs.

Keep in mind: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter  or on Instagram!

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