South Africans are constantly encouraged to save – but if it were easy to do so, many more people would have nest eggs put aside. This National Savings Month, personal finance website JustMoney.co.za shares reasons why some people find it so hard to save, and offers tips on how to address this.

JustMoney has over a decade of experience in informing South Africans about personal finance matters. Team members report that they often hear comments such as:

  1. I’m stressed by Covid and will wait until things get easier;
  2. I’m young and will have a higher income later;
  3. I can’t get my head around financial jargon;
  4. My parents never saved;
  5. All my spare income goes towards debt;
  6. I will get an inheritance;
  7. I’m living for the moment, tomorrow can take care of itself;
  8. I feel hopeless;
  9. I’d rather take a chance on a high risk, high reward option; and
  10. It’s in my genes not to save.

“We know how hard it is to quit smoking, go on a diet or tackle addictive behaviour, even if we understand it’s the sensible thing to do,” says JustMoney Marketing Manager Shafeeka Anthony. “Changing deep-seated beliefs and behaviours about saving is no different.

“Sadly, many people are struggling with issues linked to the pandemic, such as lower incomes and health issues, and these are very real challenges. It is also true, however, that many people do save despite growing up in poverty and having limited access to education and other resources. We can learn from their examples, and take advantage of online resources to inform ourselves.”

Anthony’s replies to common justifications about not saving are:

  1. There is never an easy time to start saving. Start small now to get into the habit, even if it is R50 every month.
  2. You may have a higher income later, but your expenses are likely to escalate too. Start saving now to make the most of compound interest. 

Find out more about compound interest and its impact on savings here.

  1. Access jargon-free, easy-to-understand articles and guides on reputable websites such as https://www.justmoney.co.za/.
  2. If you did not grow up in a savings culture, be a role model for your family and show that it is possible to save. If you receive a refund from the taxman this year, save it rather than splurging.
  3. If you are struggling with debt, the solution will depend on how indebted you are, and whether you’ve missed any payments.

Find out more about debt counselling and debt consolidation here.

  1. Growing up in a privileged environment is no guarantee that your parents will be in a position to support you later. Establish good money routines now and if you are fortunate enough to inherit money later, you will be better equipped to manage it responsibly.
  2. Putting away money regularly will free you up to enjoy the present, with the peace of mind of knowing that you are planning for retirement. 
  3. If you are feeling helpless, empower yourself with knowledge. A useful tool is knowing your credit score, which lenders use to decide whether you are a low- or high-risk borrower.

Get your free credit score, and if necessary, reach out to an online coach who is dedicated to answering your credit score questions here

  1. Rather than spending money on a Lotto ticket or horse-racing tote, put those sums into a savings account and let real winnings accumulate. 

Find out how to choose a savings account that will grow your money here.

  1. It is true that we are genetically predisposed to certain tendencies, such as risk-taking. However, this does not govern our behaviours. Most people are capable of learning new skills and concepts throughout life.

Find out about your financial personality type here

“Changing your money mindset and habits is no easy thing, but it is well worth it,” says Anthony. “Putting away money regularly can help you pay for expensive purchases without resorting to a loan. 

“Saving reduces your worries about money, lets you plan for your retirement and leave a legacy for your loved ones, and enables you to enjoy a sense of greater financial freedom.”

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