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Get your cash together

Go carless

The idea of the first challenge – to ‘go carless’ – was to walk/cycle/use the bus or Gautrain or a service like Uber to get to work instead of driving.

I took Uber to work for a week and each trip cost me about R130 one way. If I extended this over a month, this ended up being more than my average spend spend on petrol per month, which is about R100 per day. What worked better was carpooling with a colleague, allowing us to both save money on petrol.

As a young adult I have not been responsible for a lot of my transport costs and one of the things I realised is just how expensive it is to move around a city like Johannesburg. Transport costs add up quickly, and if you can do a bit of planning in advance, you can save a fair amount of your disposable income.

Subscription subtraction

This was the next challenge and I was asked to cancel or reduce a subscription such as DStv, gym, magazines or data.

When my mother was picking up the bill, it was easy to start a whole lot of hobbies but as soon as I realised how much it costs to fund these activities, I had to rethink my existing subscriptions.

I don’t go to gym as often as I would like to and if I was honest with myself, I wasn’t getting my full value out of this contract. Dancing was a better form of exercise for my health, so I prioritised what I got the most value out of.

Decelerate

This challenge helped me the most and I recommend it to anybody struggling with their cell phone or data bill. I was on contract and my data bill came to R2 000 in June, this was not the first time that happened, and my parents were less-than-impressed.

How did it get to R2 000 you ask? Well my data for that month would run out but wouldn’t cut me off… it allowed me to use data just at double the price.

I am now on pay-as-you-go and able to limit the amount I spend on my data every month and with the 22Seven app, it is easy to monitor.

When I run out of data it is cheaper to top up than it would have been on my contract. It has also made me a lot more conscious of my daily data usage.

Lunch de-loaded

When you start earning your first salary you start spending money on things like Woolworths sandwiches and fast food.

In this challenge you had to pack lunches for a week instead of buying them and then compare that cost with what you normally spend on food. I started tracking the spend on the app and found I was often spending R50 per day on lunch. And on an interns salary, that adds up pretty quickly.

I found this challenge difficult because I didn’t have a lot of time in the morning, but on the days I was able to do it, I could save between R30 and R50.

Find something free

As I’m still young, I do want to go out and have fun but unfortunately that comes at a cost.

This challenge was to find something free (or very cheap) for entertainment and compare that to what a meal or night out would have cost.

This month I was fortunate enough to have received a two-for-one ticket to Parker’s Comedy and Jive at Montecasino. I went with a friend and I now aim to find more things like this where I can socialise smartly.

Have a no-spend Sunday

If I have money I will spend it. By picking one day in the week where I tell myself that I am not spending any money, I can immediately take some pressure off my budget.

For this challenge, I chose a Sunday and packed a picnic basket from groceries we had at home and then enjoyed a great day in Delta Park with the family.

Pay yourself first on payday

This challenge meant I had to put a few hundred bucks into a loan or savings account or investment and see if I even felt the loss of that money later in the month.

This helped me create a habit of putting R200 away in a small investment account and I will be able to monitor how much I save with this monthly task through the app.

By doing this I discovered an interesting calculation using one of the online savings calculators. If I take the R200 per month and save it for the next 20 years, and increase it by 10% each year, I will have saved about R258 000 just through this habit.

Overall the 22 days were a success and while I did have a few bumps in the road it pushed me to break those bad spending habit that I have adopted and helped me to implement some good habits that I will be able to use in the future.