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Johannesburg – The extent to which you are able to save depends largely on your attitude towards money and not how much you earn, according to Ester Ochse, product specialist at FNB Advisory.

“Some people don’t earn much, but are able to build a solid savings base and the reason for this is simple: they understand the impact savings can have on their finances.

“On the other hand, there are people who earn more but are not able to save, and this habit can be attributed to a number of reasons,” said Ochse.

“The reason most people are unable to save is because they spend first and leave nothing towards savings. This only means they have no safety net to tap into in case of an emergency. With the SA economy showing no signs of immediate revival, consumers can no longer afford to only rely on debt.”

Habits that stop you from building savings

1. Unrealistic financial goals

Having goals is crucial for your financial well-being, but you must be realistic about what you want to achieve.

For example, if you earn R5 000 a month it may be unrealistic to aim to save 100% of your income every month if that is the sole income you depend on. However, it’s certainly possible to commit to saving 10% or more, especially if you are financially disciplined.

If you have unrealistic savings goals, it will be hard to maintain momentum; very soon you will be overwhelmed, and ultimately you will give up.

Set realistic goals that are closely aligned to your personal financial circumstances.

2. Delaying saving

Never delay saving because you are waiting for the day when you will have enough money to save – that day may never come.

The solution to this is to start small and build your savings slowly over time – once you have developed a savings habit, you can build better momentum from there. The biggest excuse people make is that they don’t have enough to save. You can start saving from as little as R100 a month.

3. Spending more than you earn

Simply put, this means living beyond your means. In other words, you are spending way more than you earn and are most likely using debt to fund additional expenses that may be unnecessary.

The rule here is simple: spend carefully and on items you can afford. Spending more than you earn traps you in a cycle of debt and even if you are managing to save, you will never meet your goals because some of your money will be directed towards servicing debt.

4. Ignoring wastage

Conduct an assessment of your expenses to see where your money is being spent, and if you are getting any future benefits from what you are spending it on.

For example, you may have to relook your cellphone contract to see if you are getting your money’s worth; by taking a closer look at certain expenses, you may realise that there are leakages that can be stopped.

By paying close attention to what you spend, you will notice that over the long term you have prevented wasteful spending.

5. Not having the right savings tool

Spend some time researching different types of savings vehicles that are suited to you and can help you meet your goals over a set period of time.

The type of account you choose as a platform for saving is a big financial decision and should be given due consideration. The first step is to understand your risk appetite, and to match this with your goals before deciding where you want to save.