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10 Clever ways to save money (must know money-hacks)

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Happy family of four saving money in clever ways

Here’s a guaranteed way to get rich.

Save more, so you can invest more, so you can earn more interest, so your money starts growing faster and faster each year.

Makes sense, right? Terrific, then you understand the importance of saving money.

Now, here are 10 clever ways for you to save more and save more effectively.


10 Clever money-saving hacks you should know

Start saving more money with 10 unique and easy-to-follow hacks.

Here’s the list:

  1. High-interest savings accounts
  2. Cancel unused subscriptions with an app
  3. Cash-back apps and credit cards
  4. Make your home energy efficient
  5. Introduce zero-dollar days
  6. Automate your savings
  7. Buy in bulk and out of season
  8. Invest in low-cost index funds
  9. Start meal planning and prep
  10. Negotiate lower bills


Keep in mind, instead of saving, you can always find ways to make more money—like starting a business to make money from home (or both).

Here are our money-saving hacks.


Hack #1: High-interest savings accounts

When your savings earn interest, it grows faster. Make your money work for you with high-interest savings accounts.

The higher the interest rate on your savings account, the more interest you will earn.

Here’s the hack:

Do your homework and find the best savings accounts in South Africa. Then, you can save a portion of your savings in an account that earns more interest (and grows faster).

With compound interest, you’ll earn interest on your initial deposit and earn interest on your interest

In other words, your money will start to multiply over time, even without any additional deposits

💡 Tip: learn more about tax-free savings accounts to find the best TFSA to add to your portfolio of savings accounts.

It’s a simple way to build real wealth and save for your future.


Hack #2: Cancel unused subscriptions with an app

Don’t let recurring bills get out of hand. You can save a lot of money by cancelling unused subscriptions.

Best of all? There are apps that can help you do it.

Here’s the hack:

Get a subscription-tracking app and track and cancel unused monthly subscriptions.

These apps highlight your active subscriptions and even show you potential savings if you cancel underutilised ones. Just link the app to your accounts and let it do the rest.

You’d be surprised how much you can save by eliminating subscriptions that you’re not actively using.


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Hack #3: Cash-back apps and credit cards

Cash-back apps and credit cards let you turn everyday purchases into savings opportunities when the app or card offers a cash back percentage (percentage of your expense that’s paid back to you).

Here’s the hack:
  1. Maximise rewards by choosing cards that offer higher cash back percentages on categories you frequently spend on, like groceries or gas.
  2. Similarly, use cash-back apps (like SnapnSave) to get cash back on various expenses.


Check this out. 2% cash-back on R10 000 monthly spending equals R2 400 in annual savings. Just remember to pay off your credit card balance each month to avoid interest charges (which cost a lot more than 2%).


A graphic that illustrated the difference between repaying credit cards before and after interest is deducted.


Hack #4: Make your home energy efficient

Energy efficient is money efficient. Electricity is a major monthly household expense that’s easy to reduce.

Here’s the hack:

Conduct a home energy audit by inspecting your home to identify areas of energy waste. Then make improvements where applicable:

  • Improve insulation
  • Replace energy-inefficient appliances
  • Add or fix timers for geysers and pumps
  • Install LED light bulbs
  • Install solar panels


Energy savings can be substantial. Some homeowners reduce their energy bills by up to 30%. Plus, this hack gets bonus points because it helps the environment too.


A graphic that illustrates and describes 5 ways to make a home more energy efficient


Hack #5: Introduce zero-dollar days

A zero-dollar day is a day where you spend absolutely nothing. In our case, it’s a zero rand day or zero ZAR day.

Here’s the hack:

Add days of the week throughout the month when you plan to spend absolutely nothing. To make things easier, do a little prep or planning beforehand, like preparing meals or scheduling free activities.

Zero-dollar days challenge you to be mindful of your spending habits and save more effectively.

Just one zero-dollar day may not seem like much (depending on your spending habits), but the days, weeks, months, and years all add up.

Try your first zero-dollar day next, or add a zero-dollar weekend to your calendar if you already have zero-dollar days.


Hack #6: Automate your savings

Automated savings apps make saving effortless. When you automate your savings, you ensure that your savings will keep growing even when you’re not as hands-on as you could be.

Here’s the hack:

Set up automated saving. 

You could use an app that links to your bank account or use your banking app to create recurring payments to your savings account.

Follow the ‘pay yourself first’ rule and set your automated savings transfers or payments for the beginning of the month so that you don’t spend before you save.


Hack #7: Buy in bulk and out of season

Buying in bulk or during season changes (seasonal buying) are practical tactics to cut costs (and consequently improve savings).

Here’s the hack:
  • Buy in bulk to get things at a lower cost per unit.; and
  • Make seasonal purchases to take advantage of reduced prices during sales or off-season periods.


A graphic that presents clever ways to save by buying in bulk or off-season


Strategize your bulk buying for non-perishable items and those you frequently use. Nowadays, you can order online from Takealot or Makro and get these items delivered to your door. Then, for seasonal purchases, plan ahead and buy things like holiday gifts or summer clothing during winter sales.

With this handy hack, you can save up to 30-50% on your shopping expenses.


Hack #8: Invest in low-cost index funds

Index funds replicate a specific market index, which makes it a diverse, low-risk, and cost-effective way to invest your money for long-term growth.

Here’s the hack:

Add index funds to your investment portfolio and long-term investment strategy.

To start investing, choose a reputable brokerage firm or download an investment app, open an account or register, and select a low-cost index fund that aligns with your financial goals.

Many of the internet’s popular money personalities like Tony Robbins or Ramit Sethi swear by ‘investing in the market’. Over time, index funds can offer serious returns that boost your savings.

Remember, it’s about time in the market, not timing the market. So be prepared to invest long-term.


Hack #9: Start meal planning and prep

Meal planning is a budget-friendly hack that reduces impulse buys, waste, and daily spending — all saving you a substantial amount of money over time.

Here’s the hack:

Create a weekly menu based on your favourite low-cost items (and meet your health or fitness goals). Then, shop once for the entire week (or month), and prep meals in advance so that you don’t need to buy food during the week when you’re away from home.

Meal planning can cut grocery costs by hundreds to thousands of Rands.

If you’re feeling extra disciplined, try coming up with one ridiculously cheap breakfast option and one low-cost lunch option that you can make and eat every day of the week.


Hack #10: Negotiate lower bills

Remember this. You have the power to negotiate. That’s right. Repeat it to yourself once more: “I have the power to negotiate”.

Here’s the hack:

Don’t take your bills at face value. Bills like utilities, credit card rates, insurance premiums, and other common costs can all be negotiated. And should be negotiated if you’re a clever money-saver.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Do your research so that you know which rates are fair
  • Be polite but persistent
  • Switch to a different provider if necessary


It’s not uncommon to shave 10-20% off your bills through effective negotiation. That money can go straight to your savings account or be used to reduce your debt faster.

So, brush up on your negotiation skills and start arranging lower bills today.

⭐ Bonus: if you’re struggling to keep up with monthly debt payments, then you could use debt counselling (debt review) to reduce monthly debt repayments.


Final thoughts

That’s the list. 10 amazing hacks that can help you save money.

Go through the list again, pick one that you want to introduce first, and start saving!

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