With fuel and commodity prices going up across the world due to different factors, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and volatility of markets, saving money has become an uphill task. For many, even what you earn is not enough to meet your expenses but experts say saving is a culture, a practice one engages in without necessarily having a lot to save from. You don’t have to have everything you need to save. Most people will argue that how can I save before I even meet all my needs? Well, as money saving expert Martin Lewis puts it, if you want to first meet all your needs to save, you will never save. More than ever, today it is even more important to save a bit more money here and there, considering what the Covid-19 pandemic taught us. Many people were caught off guard when the pandemic broke out and we all had to go into lockdown and endless curfews. Only those who had managed to save a bit managed to pull through while millions across the world lost their jobs and means of survival. Who knows when the next pandemic will show up? Financial experts say having an emergency fund can give you peace of mind, especially during tough times, so if you want to stop losing track of your spending and start saving up for your own future, here are a few tips to follow. Opening an Individual Savings Account The most obvious way to start saving is by opening an Individual Savings Account (ISA). They say it is easier said than done but the most important step you need to take is opening it. Just approach your bank and ask to open one. Psychologically, it will trigger the need to start saving. It doesn’t matter how much you put there but take the initiative to start by opening it. There are many different types of ISAs and your bank can advise what best suits you. Some banks have incentives to save and you can set the terms. Most times there is no limit as to what you can save but you can agree with your bank on the restrictions limiting withdrawals. Some banks offer good interest on savings. Give it a shot, you will be surprised by the difference it will make. For married or dating couples, your partner doesn’t necessarily have to know. Surprise them later with the savings as you plan to achieve whatever you were saving for. Draw a budget If you want to save, budgeting is an essential part of whatever you want to achieve. It starts with being conscious of how you spend your money. If you always seem to overspend on payday and leave too little money for the rest of the month, then creating a budget could be especially helpful for you. Before you call your friends for a drink, look at your expenditures, do the necessary budgeting and see what the surplus is before you head to Gisimenti to buy your friends drinks. According to experts, a simple budgeting trick is the 50/30/20 approach, where you spend 50% of your money on necessities, use 30% for fun purchases and entertainment, and save the remaining 20%. If these ratios aren’t possible for you, then you can always adjust them to reflect your current financial situation. Set a monthly target Saving requires you to have a monthly target. Whatever ratio you use for your budget, it’s important to get into the habit of setting aside a particular amount of money each month if possible. This will allow you to steadily build up your savings in a sustainable way. Try moving this money into your savings account right after your salary comes through if you are a salary earner or from collecting your payment for a service, if you’re worried that you’ll be tempted to spend all the money. Don’t spend money on fancy things The influence of brands and celebrities is one of the things that stop us from saving. The moment you get your pay, you think of that Nike Jordan pair, Gucci T-shirt and Chanel handbag. Well, they say drip is for forever but also broke can be for forever. If your earnings are not enough to buy you the renowned brands, it is advisable to settle for normal brands to serve the same purpose. There is an alternative for everything. You can find alternative goods that are just as good as the branded ones. After all, most of the branded products you will find in most African countries could be good replicas from Turkey or China. Why waste your money on a Gucci product locally when Gucci says they don’t officially distribute their products on the continent? The best thing to do is cut out fancy things and focus on good products that serve the same purpose. Walk where necessary With the fuel prices going up month in, month out and cost of electricity similarly going up, you can save on how much you spend on transport or driving by walking where necessary. It is possible to save a lot more money each month by cutting out unnecessary car journeys and cab by walking instead, if you have time. It is true not every journey can be accomplished without a car, but for shorter trips, you should resist the temptation to take the easy option. Plan out your journey early so that you reserve time to walk. You are not only saving you are also fending off non-communicable diseases. Try these tips out.