If you feel worried about how to save money, you’re not alone. While some may think saving money is relatively straightforward and easy, one in five Nigerians have nothing saved at all. So even though spending money is arguably more exciting, you should consider saving money a priority. And there are plenty of ways to save money that don’t involve making sacrifices, either. Sometimes the best way to start saving money is simply to become more aware of your finances and spending habits. With an understanding of your budget and your true needs, you may start putting aside more money than you ever expected.
To effectively save money, you should consider both long-term strategies like paying down debt, and short-term strategies like skipping the drinks at the bar. While you may not be able to change all your spending habits overnight, with time and consistency anyone can learn how to put some money aside. Whether you’re looking to start saving for the future or you’re just looking to be financially stable right now, there are many reasons that you may struggle with saving.
Why Saving Is Very Important?
Unless you’re very rich, it’s likely that large expenses in your life will require planning in order to purchase. Define what you’re saving for to help keep you on track when it comes to avoiding unnecessary purchases. For example, if you remember that your goal is to save 2 Million Naira over the next ten years in your child’s college fund, it will be a lot easier to stay out of the drive-thru line.
Consider that you may need to save up for pricey necessities like a car and a home. The average Nigerian will own a total of five cars in their lifetime, so it may be a good idea to start saving for your next vehicle now, even if you don’t currently need one.
Also, it’s important to save for retirement from your first job to your last. According to a research, most Nigerians near retirement have only saved twelve percent of the recommended amount for retirement. That may be because getting to a place where you have extra income to save takes time, but may also be because many people don’t practice good money-saving techniques from an early age.
To help you learn how to save money and achieve your financial goals we’ve compiled a list of effective ways to save money:
Save Money on Necessary Expenses:
The least fun things to spend money on are the ones you actually have to pay for. But you may be surprised how simple and fun it is to find a little extra cash in your bills. Here are some easy ways to reduce your expenses each month:
Switch to a Cheaper Cell-Phone Plan
With the prevalence of wifi hotspots, the standard smartphone owner today only uses an average 1.6 gigabytes of data per month. Interestingly, most service providers’ cheapest data plan provides more than that. Track how much data you’re actually using and stop paying for more than you need.
Lower Your Utility Bills
Evaluate whether or not you’re being as conservative as you can with your utilities. Some quick tips to save money on your bills include: Unplugging appliances you’re not using, turning the tap off when you brush your teeth, etc.
Cancel Your Gym Membership
Many of the exercises you do at the gym can be done at home with a bit of creativity. You can watch YouTube tutorials for ideas about home workouts, go for a run in your neighborhood, or swim laps at your community pool.
Not just in newspapers and junk ads anymore, coupons are available on company websites, apps like SnipSnap, and online. Before you go out shopping, check your phone or computer and increase your savings.
Plan Your Groceries
Make a list of what food you’ll need for the week, keeping in mind what meals can be made from the ingredients, and don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. Meal planning is another great option that can help you save time and money while making it easier for you to eat healthily.
Save Money by Spending Less:
If your needs are a little more short-term, here are some ideas to keep from spending the money you already have, and make what you do spend go farther:
Try Envelope Budgeting
Credit cards help you avoid the pain of purchase, which may allow you to spend more. With cash you become more aware of what you’re spending. In addition, you can divide your cash into envelopes with allowances for different purchases, which will ensure you don’t spend too much in one area.
Calculate by Hours
When trying to decide if something is worth buying, try thinking of the cost in terms of how long it takes you to make that money. This can help you get a sense of the true value of your money.
Think Twice About Sales
While some sales are good deals, there’s no sale that’s going to cost you less than not buying the item at all. When purchasing an item on sale, ask yourself if you would have bought the item if it were full price, and if the answer is no, skip it.
Local thrift stores and online auction sites like eBay offer everything from clothes to electronics at stellar discounts. You can get slightly used high quality items at a fraction of the cost of their newer counterparts.
Use the 24 Hour Rule
This is similar to the 30 day rule, but for less expensive purchases. Wait a day before buying a small item and you may find you didn’t want it after all.
Designate No-Spend Days
Challenge yourself and your family to go one day a week without buying anything, from your morning coffee to a movie ticket. You’ll reduce your spending and become more aware of how mindlessly you make small purchases.
Take Public Transportation
Try replacing your drive to work one day a week. This can save you both money and time because you can get other things done on the bus while saving money on gas and wear and tear on your car.
Save Money by Creating Extra Income:
According to a survey, 35% of Nigerians say lack of income is the main reason they aren’t saving money. So If you’re already living frugally but are struggling to save, here are some easy ways to add income without adding too much work:
Sell Your Extra Stuff
Save money on your new clothes, housewares, and electronics you purchase by selling your old ones. Check your closet for clothes you haven’t worn in months and for old electronics. There are many places to sell unwanted items online, including eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also hold a traditional yard sale if you want to sell in bulk.
Rent Out Equipment
Why pay for your tools or equipment when they can pay for themselves? Apps like ToolRent or PeerRenters let you get paid for sharing items like drills, whiskers, and cameras with the community. Consider listing anything you have that has a specialty use.
Monetize Your Passion
Make your free time earn you money as well. If there’s a hobby or skill you do for fun, consider selling the fruits of your labor. If you love photography, try selling photos on stock websites, or if you find yourself writing at the end of the day, try starting a blog.
Work at Your Favorite Place
If you already spend a lot of time at soccer games or at the bar down the street, become a referee or bartender on the weekends and you will save money on game tickets and drinks. Plus, it won’t won’t feel like work.
Save Money With Easy Hacks:
No matter your stage in your money-saving journey, these hacks are easy and interesting, so there’s no reason not to try them out:
Use a Savings Calculator
Putting money away consistently is hard enough as it is, so utilize an easy online tool that can calculate interest over years and help you determine how much your savings may grow in the years to come.
Purchase Discounted Gift Cards
Websites like CardPool allow users to sell gift cards they’ll never use, for slightly lower than their values. Consider buying gift cards to places you frequently shop to save instantly on everything you buy there.
Teach Yourself Skills You Would Otherwise Pay For
Take advantage of online tutorials and articles that can teach you to do small things you would otherwise pay for. You can learn anything online from how to create a website to how to make a pancake.
Utilize Your Savings Account
Your current bank may offer a savings account with interest that can make your deposits easy to make and retrieve. Some even offer the ability to divide up the money in your savings account by what it’s for. Help motivate yourself to save by watching your funds for your specific goals grow.
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