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In my first personal finance column for the FM I want to focus on one of the most important, but mostly overlooked, aspects of personal finance and, truthfully, life: habits. We’re human, and habits are hard, as proved every January. We promise ourselves we’ll save more, drink less and exercise, but these lofty goals seldom make it into February.

But a good habit over a lifetime can make a real difference. One of the oft-repeated personal finance ideas is to buy one fewer cappuccino a day or a week, and rather save the money. But is anybody really getting rich by saving R30 a day or a week, especially if you keep the habit for only a few months — or worse, spend the money saved?..

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