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Video: Five ways to trick yourself into saving

Oct 12, 2021

Behavioural scientists have found that we feel loss far more greatly than gain, which is why the idea of cutting back on our lifestyle makes us very unhappy.

We feel the sacrifice immediately but only reap the benefits in the future.

While it may be a tough ask to find extra money to save in your current budget, there are smart ways to save without noticing.

Bank your change

Remember the piggy bank form your childhood? You would be surprised how fast those coins add up.

Every day, empty your wallet of any coins and put them in a jar. If you do this all year, by December you will have that little bit of extra money to spend over the festive season or on holiday.

Some banks now offer a ‘save when you spend’ option that allocates money from your current account into your savings account every time you spend. This is an effortless and invisible way to save.

Downsize your coffee

Remember the days when you went to buy a coffee and you could only get the one size? Now, most coffee-shop chains offer you a choice of small, medium and large.

This is really aimed at getting us to spend more, as people are more likely to purchase a medium-sized cup.

The small cup is 250ml which is the amount of coffee we used to be happy with, so choose the small version of your daily coffee purchase and save R3 to R5 – those rands add up over time.

Set up a debit order

Having made these small changes to increase your savings, you need to turn those savings into real investments.

Work out how much you are saving and set up a monthly debit order to pay those savings into a tax-free savings account. You can invest as little as R250 per month. Make sure the debit order goes off on payday.

You will quickly adjust your monthly spend, and over time that R250 a month will grow into something substantial.

When you set up the debit order include a 10% annual escalation.

Your savings will increase each year without you having to do anything at all.

Commit your future salary

When you receive your annual bonus or 13th cheque, ask your employer to contribute 27.5% to the company retirement fund, tax-free.

That way the bonus is paid out after investing, so it won’t feel so much of a sacrifice.

At your next annual salary increase, ask HR or your financial adviser to increase the percentage of your salary that you pay towards a retirement fund so a portion of your increase will go to boosting your retirement savings.

Work those loyalty rewards

Most banks and some major retailers offer reward programmes.

Keep those rewards, especially those that convert to cash or vouchers, to supplement your festive-season spend.

Every bit counts

While some of these tips might sound silly or simplistic, when it comes to saving, every little bit really does count. And believe me, your future self will thank you if you can make those small sacrifices now.


  1. It such a gesture to save.

  2. Like the coffee tip… more realistic to downsize than cut the cappuccinos.


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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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