The South African Savings Institute (SASI) is encouraging people to find an additional income and increase their savings capacity this year.

The organisation is offering tips that can be implemented in January, to help improve financial well-being for the year ahead. Prabashini Moodley reports ……

South Africans have fallen on challenging times in the last two years, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, businesses were torched and damaged, stock was stolen and lives were lost. This was yet another blow to many suffering financial hardship.

Now, in Janu-worry after all the festive season spending, the South African Savings Institute says, smart financial planning now can mean less stress in the year ahead. SASI Acting CEO Gerald Mwandiambia says with motivation levels high in January, it’s a great time to set in motion a savings plan for the year.

“The best savings technique is really to have a financial plan or goal. January is a great opportunity for you to set those goals for the year ahead. This includes, how you going to manage your budget and specific savings goals for the year ahead. Each individual has their own personal economy and that your goals and your lifestyle are specifically for yourself.”

Mwandiambia says discipline is a cornerstone of a healthy savings culture. By activating stop orders and joining stokvel movement savings will become a monthly bill that needs to be paid. He details the most effective ways to meet your financial commitments and save at the same time.

“In order to save, you need sacrifice, commitment and discipline. Sacrifice is saving money you could do something else with. Commitment in terms of having the plan. You need to try and save using automation. That helps with discipline. This is setting up stop orders, so money goes to the right places. Something very important is a stokvel. This helps with the discipline as well the group forces you to comply and stick to certain standards.”

It’s that time of year when families are facing large annual expenses that many have not prepared for. These include school fees and uniforms. Mwandiambia is encouraging South Africans to look outside the box and make 2022 the year that they increase their savings with an additional income.

“Many of us work 8 hours but after that 8 hours, it leaves 16 hours to do something else. It’s very important to have secondary or tertiary incomes and look at how you can make that extra R100 a week. At the end of the day, when you annualise it – it ends up being real money. South Africans limit themselves to earning a salary but you can increase your earning potential. So I say, make 2022 that year when you find that additional income to help you save.”

Stokvel a means of saving

It’s not all doom and gloom though, and resourcefulness is rewarded. Sixty-year-old Surie Govender from Verulam in KwaZulu-Natal initiated a new stokvel scheme in November last year, before the December spending frenzy.

She has been running the stokvel movement for women in her family and friends in her area for the last twenty years. She says, over the years women have gained financial independence through the savings scheme.

“They like a lump some of the money where they can use it to do something in the house. Some of them say, they just want to buy a TV cash – if they buy from the shop, they will pay interest. Here, you take a lump some and there is no interest. You got no choice, you can’t use the money for something else, the money has to be paid. This is a saving because you pay towards it every month. What I did, the bathroom, the kitchen, our outbuilding, the shower.”

For a sound financial year ahead, experts’ advice is to make saving a priority.

Re-evaluating wasteful spending habits, monitoring electricity and water usage and paying off debt faster are other money-saving tips to implement in 2022.