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How to save money without giving up your daily latte

Whether you want to treat yourself to small indulgences or spend big during the holiday seasons, you can still keep your budget in check by following some handy tips.

13 October 2022Emma Edwards 3 min read
3 friends having latte and ice coffee
Image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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It’s the perpetual financial dilemma: can I build financial confidence while enjoying a daily latte, or any other personal indulgence for that matter? We’ve got good news. Yes, you can.

With proper planning and an appetite for self-reflection, you can align your finances in a way that allows you to enjoy life’s little luxuries, while still sticking to your goals. Here’s how:

Unfortunately, you can’t have everything you want right now as well as everything you want in the future. There has to be a boundary around what you can reasonably spend. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself while being smart with your money.

The easiest way to do this is to pull up the recent transactions on your bank statement and rank each entry by the amount of joy it brought you – excluding the essentials, of course. For example, your daily latte may bring you lots of joy because you only have instant coffee at home, while your monthly fitness membership may have lost its appeal since you started hiking Table Mountain over the weekends.

Once you’ve distinguished between the two, you can cull your low-joy-spends while holding on to your high-joy-spends. By doing this, you can both save for your future and save your daily latte (or equivalent).

You can also weigh up the benefits of your offers that are available to you on the ClearScore marketplace. Log in to find out more.

Once you’ve established your top indulgences, you need to weave them into your budget and treat them just like your other bills.

So, where you’d usually funnel money from each pay into paying your bills, you’ll do the exact same with your high-joy spends. Total up how much you need for your treats per month and allocate that amount to your budget just like you would if it were a non-negotiable bill.

From then on, whatever else happens in your day-to-day spending, your big joys are accounted for. Some people like to withdraw that money and use it specifically for those little moments, and others set up a separate account for their pre-budgeted treats. Find out what works best for you and roll with it.

Over time, you may find that you want to add more of these little luxuries into your rinse-repeat budget. If you’re lacking the financial capacity to do this, try shaving off small amounts from your regular expenses.

Whether it’s finding handy hacks to shave R100 off your weekly grocery shopping or switching to a cheaper cellphone plan, try finding extra rands hidden in your bills before you skip ahead and give up your latte.

Another way to reduce your monthly expenses is to lower your credit card fees. Through ClearScore, you can browse card offers that may provide you with better rates.

If you’re struggling to adjust your budget so that it accommodates your high-joy items, you may be tempted to use credit to supplement your expenses. However, you need to be cautious. If you’re extending your budget to the point where you’re going into debt, you may need to forgo or minimize some of your luxuries – even if they bring you joy.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing items on credit, especially when it comes to good debt, such as a home loan or finance to start your own business. These items will grow your financial future. However, you need to avoid using credit that won’t benefit you long-term, such as paying for groceries.

Log in to ClearScore to view your credit report and find out what your credit utilisation is. Ideally, it should be below 30% if you want to build a healthy credit score.

Overall, if you’re realistic with your budget and you plan ahead to purchase your absolute favourite things, you can make consistent financial progress without giving up what makes you happy.

Emma Edwards Image

Written by Emma Edwards

Financial Writer

Emma wants to help you build a life you love within your means, and teach you how to optimise your finances to ensure you’re stashing cash for the future.