Register to comment and receive news in your inboxRegister or Log in

Small changes that make a big impact 

Many people dream of changing their lives, their homes or their surroundings.

But the enormity of the task at hand can often prove to be overwhelming, so we freeze and don’t accomplish anything at all. But small steps can lead to great things. And small changes every day or every once in a while can make a big impact on your life, the lives of others and on your home or surroundings. Here are small changes that you can make immediately that will make a big impact. 

Small savings

According to financial experts, we’re supposed to save around 20% of our salary. Other than high-net-worth individuals, who can save even 5%, never mind 20%? Not many people. So, start small. While we often think we need to have a lot of money to start saving, just a small savings each month can make a big impact. 

Micro investing involves allocating small amounts of money into a market or cryptocurrency portfolio. “Micro investing is a good way of embarking on an investment journey,” says Tony Mallam, MD of upnup. “One of the many benefits of micro investing is that you don’t need much capital to get started. But you do need to be consistent.” 

The upnup app allows you to save small amounts, based upon your daily purchases and personal in-app settings, through a method of rounding up (roundup) or adding a fixed amount (addup) to transactions. “Through the act of passively setting aside small amounts every day, you have the ability to automatically invest the micro-savings into cryptocurrency and other investment options. 

Small updates

A big home renovation or big garden project would be lovely, but it’s very costly. If you don’t have the funds for anything major or you’re a renter so you can’t make changes anyway, there are a number of little things you could do around your home to make big changes. In your garden, you could create a nook or zone where you can sit and have a coffee or read a book. Alen Ribic of SweepSouth, a home services company, recommends removing some shrubbery or adding a few paving blocks to the ground to create that zone. You could also string lights to add to the ambience. If you need help with this, SweepSouth has outdoor services listed on the platform. For the interior of your home, a new lick of paint can make a world of difference. Consider an accent wall if you can’t do the whole space. And don’t be afraid to move your furniture around into a different set-up. Or you could introduce new items of furniture into your home, says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy. “Switch up your kitchen by introducing a stylish kettle and toaster from Smeg’s Retro range. The best thing about renting these appliances is that you can easily change appliances in a few months when you feel like a new look.”

Small holidays

We’re sure you’re imagining a big international trip, but if you can’t do that right now, consider a smaller holiday, close to home. Hotel groups such as Radisson Hotels currently have discounted offers that will make a holiday easier on the pocket. You could look for one in your area and treat yourself and your family to a staycation. If an overnight stay isn’t on the cards, try a daycation. Get out of the house for a day and see what your city has to offer. Be a tourist in your area and explore as though you were, in fact, overseas. Book tours and experiences, eat at restaurants you’ve never tried before and take loads of photos to remember the day by. A simple change of scenery can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. 

Small switches

As electricity costs increase and load shedding intensifies, many homeowners are considering solar power as an alternative to Eskom. Making a few small changes at home – such as installing a battery that can store power from Eskom to use when there is load shedding – will go a long way to providing some relief from ongoing disruptions. “It’s not necessary to invest in a full solar and battery installation that will enable you to operate completely off-grid,” explains Matthew Cruise, lead campaign manager of Hohm Energy. “You can start with just a battery and add some solar panels later, or start with solar panels only. You don’t have to pay for a full system upfront. Build it up gradually. Taking a staggered approach like this makes it more affordable.” 

Small shows of support

The average South African worker, StatsSA says, has monthly earnings of around R24 051 a month. For the average South African artist, that number is drastically lower, at less than R10 000 a month. PopSpot CEO, Erki Koldits comments that “Fortunately, technology is changing that reality. By allowing creators to interact with, and get support directly from, their fans, they also get a much better shot at increasing their earnings through small shows of support. Using platforms like PopSpot, creators can pursue multiple revenue streams in one place, including subscriptions, once-off NFTs, and merchandising sales. Crucially, creators can also provide fans with incentives for promoting them, including rewards and payment.” Technology is also changing the way that South Africans can support the less fortunate and those without any means of income. Platforms like Quicket allow for anyone to purchase tickets for night shelters on behalf of a person in need. A ticket for the Haven Night Shelter, for example, provides a meal, shower and overnight stay for one for a week for R60. 

Make use of these small changes or contributions as soon as possible and you will find that you’re making a big difference to your home, the lives of others, and to your finances.