There are some hard and fast rules to live by if you’re going to be able to set aside a substantial amount of money for the proverbial ‘rainy day’, for retirement, major projects like building or buying a house, education, rent, travel, investments and asset acquisition and some of life’s other necessities and luxuries alike.
Like many good things achieving a modest amount of financial security requires discipline and planning.
I find that a surprisingly large number of people who have been working for several years complain that they have barely been able to put a penny away in the bank or bury a reasonable amount aside in assets or investments, Isn’t it a sad thought that one can work for many years and not be able to boast of a respectable amount stashed away for retirement? Life should be easier!
A lot of people argue that seeing as they do not earn a lot it makes perfect sense that saving anything is close to impossible, well I think one can set aside a little money even from the most meagre of pay cheques.
Below are outlined a few practical tips that will have you smiling and giving yourself a pat on the back in the near future at what you have been able to set aside for the future :
1. YOU are number ONE: Pay yourself FIRST rather than last, it would be easy to argue “Oh, I have bills falling out of my nose and so on, designate a certain amount of your pay cheque as your ‘reward’ for earning that money and keep that amount aside religiously every month, contrary to what you might think, your family will not starve, the bills will be paid, the world will not end – try it, pay number one first – in the words of the weeknd “you earned it”, you know you deserve it!
2. Have a spending plan : Do you wing it every month and just pay the bills as they come? Stop! Map out a spending plan today, organizing your spending will do you a world of good, write down every single thing you buy or pay for every month , including money sent to family, medical bills, expenses on entertainment, food, travel and so on. Seeing where your money goes written in black and white will give you a jolt and will be the wake up call you need to cut back on expenses you really can do without. Keep luxuries to a minimum if you do not earn a lot. Itemize your spending in order of importance and try to cancel or cut back on an item or two as you go down the list, this will happen closer to the bottom of said list probably in the vicinity of money spent on phone and internet bills, entertainment, junk food and the likes.
3. Stay away from impulse buying – Ah, yes. If there’s anyone not guilty of buying items on a whim from time to time, I would like to meet that person and shake their hand, You know that item you have rotting away in the back of your closet or sitting idle in a corner of the house? It could be home appliances, furniture, clothes, anything, but they all have one thing in common – you beat yourself up mentally and ask “what on earth was I thinking when I bought this?” We’ve all been there, but never again! When you’re seized with the urge of make a major purchase on a whim, pause and whisper over and over to yourself the sum total your bank balance will come to if you channel that money to your month savings instead ( like so -1.2 million certainly sounds better than the 1 million you will be left with If you make that impulse purchase of a N200, 000 item, the ‘healthy’ jump in your bank balance will give you the courage you need to resist ‘temptation’ and keep you cautious in your spending. Just keep whispering that sum total to yourself until your legs have carried you safely away from the ‘temptation’. Good bye forever, impulse purchases!
4. Do not be Mr ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ – sometimes you have to spend money to save yourself from avoidable future expenses, what do I mean? Buy quality items ALWAYS, do not gain momentary relief by cutting corners only to end up paying through your nose in the near future. When making major purchases like home appliances, automobiles, furniture, electronics, clothes -everything really, buy durable and quality items that will save you money in the longrun rather than going for cheaper and not-so-durable options that will have you spending a ton on maintenance, repairs and replacements. I am Miss penny AND pound wise, which are you?
5. You could also save money on every day items you pay for without a thought, spending between N300 – N1500 on lunch at work everyday might not seem like a lot but add up that sum for a week, a month, then a year and you will be amazed at what it comes to, wake up early at least twice a week and make lunch for work, cut down on drinks and junk food, hitch a ride home with a colleague or a friend instead, cut down on phone and internet bills, etc and you will be saving a ton of money on junk food, transportation, entertainment and so on.
Go ahead and make that money-saving move today, Invest wisely and secure your future – You deserve it!