The best time to start saving money is now!

We’ve all made promises to start saving so that we won’t be cash-strapped in financial emergencies. But most of us put off opening that savings account ‘until we earn a bit more, so we’ll have some to spare’.

Many South Africans feel that they cannot save any money at all, because they simply do not have any left after paying for essentials. But have you ever sat down with a budget and worked out whether all your expenses are essential? If you keep only the ‘must-haves’ and trim some ‘nice-to-haves', could you cut back by, say, R4 a day?

The sooner you open a savings account and start saving money regularly, the sooner you will earn interest and see your money grow. Even if you can spare as little as R25 a week (R100 a month), you can start growing your pocket of savings today. Here’s how:

Just start – you only need R1!

The best way to get started on anything is simple – just start! People often think they need a lump sum to start saving, but that’s not true. With MyPocket on the Nedbank Money app, you can start saving as little as R1 and earn interest of 3% a year from day one.

If you have a lump sum to save, that’s great. You can then invest in a tax-free savings account with higher interest rates, so your money grows faster. And Nedbank’s tax-free savings account requires a minimum initial deposit of only R500.

Watching your money grow is also great motivation to see where you can save a bit more to boost your savings faster

But let’s face it – many of us don’t start off with R500. That’s why starting with small amounts is best. You still earn interest, and over time, your money will grow faster. Once you have a bigger amount saved up, you can consider reinvesting it in investment accounts that offer higher returns.

Find your savings gaps – there’s always something

If you have a regular income, don’t ‘wait until you earn more money’ to start saving. You need to be financially savvy and make the money that you do have work for you. Have you drawn up a proper budget to see where your money goes? A budget tells you exactly how much money you have coming in, and how much you need to spend on essential expenses.

Once you’ve listed all your expenses, review them, and decide which ones are really essential. Rent, food, electricity, water and debt repayments are essentials. Wi-Fi may also be an essential, depending on how you earn a living or your circumstances.

But takeaways, snacks and treats, clubs and pubs, movies, club memberships or online channel subscriptions are all luxuries. Lovely when you can afford them, but worth sacrificing if it means you can build a more secure future.

So, start by aiming to reduce your spending by just R100 a month. If you cut non-essentials by R100 every month and put that money into a savings account instead, compound interest earned over a few years will grow you a tidy sum. Watching your money grow is also great motivation to see where you can save a bit more to boost your savings faster.

Regular small deposits can grow into a healthy savings amount that will secure you a better financial future

Once you’ve revised your budget, add the amount you want to save every month to the budget as an ‘essential expense’. That way, you pay it along with all your other bills after payday, and you can plan your non-essential spending according to how much money you have left.

Use technology to start saving money

The beauty of technology is that it has made saving more accessible and convenient. Most mobile banking and finance apps offer a savings option. Nedbank offers clients 10 free MyPockets for savings on the Nedbank Money app. A great benefit is that you can earn 3% interest from the very first rand you save in your MyPocket.

There’s no waiting period when you need your money, and you can transfer your savings between your Nedbank accounts for free. There are also no monthly or maintenance fees, and you earn more interest than you would with a normal savings account.

You can open your MyPocket, which is a free benefit on Nedbank savings accounts, including Pay-as-you-use,  Nedbank4Me and MiGoals Plus bank accounts, as well as our MiGoals Premium bank account.

Technology makes managing your savings simple. You can create a goal that you want to save for, like a new fridge, a side hustle or an emergency fund, and open a new pocket for each goal. And you can easily transfer small amounts every month or week into your savings pockets using the Money app to make saving a habit.

Saving money is all about good financial management. The key is realising that regular small deposits can grow into a healthy savings amount that will secure a better financial future.