While there are complex reasons why many South Africans cannot save — low incomes, debt, persistent unemployment, the rising cost of living — there are still those who can save, but struggle with the discipline of saving.
"Most people would like to save, because they understand the financial benefits of having a safety net. However, saving usually takes a back seat simply because of the hesitation to make sacrifices. Understandably, consumers are hard-pressed financially, but the essence of saving is starting small then building up from there," head of consumer education at FNB Eunice Sibiya told HuffPost.
Being able to save does not necessarily mean putting large sums of money aside; it's possible to start small and build up from there.
If you are not saving, "perhaps it's time to conduct an introspection of the relationship you have with money," said Sibiya, who said the following points are a good place to start:
Why is saving money so difficult 😢— Marcus (@Marcusoliva22) April 10, 2018
1. Being governed by YOLO
It's true that you only live once (YOLO) but this also means you only have a single lifetime to make your money work for you. It's important to take the future into consideration when dealing with money. If you are in a position to save, yet you don't save for both short and long-term goals, you may end up financially constrained in future. Have financial future plans and avoid living in the moment, especially if you can't afford it.
Saving is a necessity, and this applies to everyone whether you can save a lot or very little. Postponing the decision to save will only risk putting you in a compromising financial position. For example, if you have an emergency you may not be able to fund it from your own pocket because you have no money set aside for emergencies. This can lead you to debt in order to deal with the emergency.
I already have a list of things I want to buy once I start working this summer. Maybe I'll start saving money next year!🙃— Ally More (@ally_more) April 8, 2018
3. Lack of financial goals
Without setting goals you are unlikely to get very far with your finances; this is simply because money leaves your account as quickly as it came without any guidance of where it should go. However, when you have goals and are fully committed, you are able to plan your finances according to what you want to achieve.
4. Not asking for help
If you have a friend who seems to be very good with financial priorities, don't be ashamed to reach out. It's also advisable to consult a financial advisor to help you chart a way forward for your financial future, especially if you are struggling to prioritise.
5. Poor attitude towards money
A poor relationship with money is characterised by aimless spending on things that will have no bearing on your long-term financial future. This may include taking debt to finance your lifestyle or overspending on things such as entertainment and clothes. It's important to pay attention to how and what you spend your money on and ask yourself if you are deriving any value from such expenses.
Further, not being able to save now does not mean the situation cannot be turned around. If you're over-indebted, you may have to focus on clearing your debt before you start committing yourself to saving, and when you can, start small.
"Being able to save does not necessarily mean putting large sums of money aside, it's possible to start small and build up from there," said Sibiya.