So, a friend calls you up to remind you about happy hour and hey, you are a little short, but you deserve it, right? Wrong. Odds are you’re going to look back with regret on why you didn’t have the strength to say: “No, I don’t have the money.”

Times are tough, and yes, buyer’s remorse is a strange condition known to set in this time of the year! You might assume that money is tight due to the past festive season and also, maybe you haven’t had a raise in like forever; but, truthfully, problems you’re having are more likely a result of bad money habits.

Fact is that saving money has little to do with personal finance or how well you budget. You can have the best intentions and the most sophisticated budget and still overspend. Saving money is about changing spending habits to saving habits.

Living from pay check to pay check magnifies stress and worsens your financial situation. Turns out that mastering your money comes down to establishing a few smart habits. Who knew!

We’ve put together a few tips on how to break up with your bad spending habits:

  • Visualize the prize. Set financial goals and put them in a prominent place; look at them every day.
  • Set up a spending plan. Make sure that you allocate a percentage of every pay check to savings – stick to a goal that you can manage.
  • Ban the plastic. According to a survey the average South African has a selection of least 10 credit, debit and in-store loyalty cards! Take only the cash you need with you. Making use of debit and credit cards to cover day-to-day expenses might be convent, but paying cash will force you to only spend the cash you have.
  • Track your finances. Keep a log of what you’re spending or download an App - maybe Mint, Personal Capital or Level Money - to file how, and where you spend your money.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Just because “everyone” has the latest iPhone or Michael Kors bag, doesn’t mean that you need it. Take a moment to assess how this will impact you. Will it make your future better? Can you pay for it without a credit card? If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t do it.
  • Know your weaknesses and avoid them. If the mall is too tempting for you, avoid it at all costs.
  • Ditch the small daily purchases such as buying your morning coffee. Bring your own lunch to work and avoid snacks from the vending machine.
  • Modify your environment to avoid temptation. If you know you’re going to pass your favourite coffee shop on your way to work, try a different route.
  • Save unexpected cash. Add your bonus or birthday windfall to your emergency fund or to an investment account.
  • Tell family and friends. Have a quick conversation about the “new you.” It is important to have people around you who will support your choices and cheer you on as you make progress towards your financial goals.

Remember, even a slight change in your daily habits can have a lasting effect. And yes, it may take a month or two to adjust your new lifestyle, but in the end, it will be worth it. Good luck!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.