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How to Spend Less and Live More in 2019

22 November 2018

Many of the most rewarding experiences in life come without a hefty price tag. Here are some simple ways to live life to the full while growing your savings.

The rising cost of living makes it tricky to meet everyday expenses and save for the future. With your spending power ebbing away, it’s easy to feel helpless. When you think about it, however, you do have some control over what you choose to spend on, even when you have very little.

Why not view the new year as an opportunity to take stock of your spending patterns and re-evaluate your priorities? Let’s look at a few simple steps you can take to spend less and live more in 2019.

Scrutinise your expenses

Before you can figure out how to spend less, you need to know how much you’re spending in the first place. Go through your bank statements and till slips to track your spending habits over the past few months. You may be surprised to see how much money you’re wasting! (Do you really need a coffee-to-go every day?)

Ask what you really need

You’ve no doubt heard that you should separate your “needs” from your “wants”, but it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Food is clearly a “need”, but at what point do your eating habits cross over into the “want” column? Be honest with yourself and ask yourself what you really need? For most people, this list includes healthy food, electricity, water, a home, transport, school fees and childcare. You may also choose to include insurance for your health, life and income – to protect your family’s financial wellbeing, no matter what happens. Ultimately, your “wants” are the everyday expenses that you could either reduce or do without.

Money-saving swaps

Spending less and saving more doesn’t mean sacrificing the things you enjoy. Here are some examples of the money-saving swaps you can make:

  • Swap your daily takeaway cappuccino (or two) for home-brewed coffee in a thermos.
  • Give up your gym membership and join a free social sports team or running group instead.
  • Invite friends over for a bring-and-braai or pot luck dinner (where everyone brings a dish to share) rather than meeting at restaurants.
  • Join a book club or library rather than buying books for yourself. The same goes for children’s toys, music and movies, tools, and more.
  • Swap your annual vacation for a staycation and enjoy all the local touristy experiences that you never have time for.
  • Simplify your birthday parties by inviting a handful of close friends to your home rather than everyone you know to a rented venue (or invite one friend for every birthday candle in the case of a kid’s party).

Socialise smart

One challenge that many of us face is saying “no, thanks” to the social plans that dent our budgets. Rather than wait for an invitation, be the one to initiate the social plans – and suggest activities that are fun and affordable, such as watching the sunset, playing board games, visiting a free museum or eating ice creams in the park. If you are a major foodie, make eating out a once-a-month luxury that you look forward to and appreciate more.

Get friends involved

Saving does not need to be a solitary exercise. If you’re saving towards a specific goal, such as a holiday or your child’s education, why not get a likeminded group of people together and create a social media group? It’s a platform for you to share tips, inspiration and advice.

These are just five of many ways that you can save without giving up on the things you love. When you’re putting together your financial plan for 2019, it may also be a good idea to speak to a professional Financial Adviser, who can help you get the most value from every rand spent and saved.

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