Ideally, you should pay yourself at least 10% of your monthly income first and foremost, then live off the remaining 90%. These accumulated savings should then be invested in earning assets that will form another brick in your pillars of financial freedom. I use the phrase “pay yourself” deliberately by the way because, when you spend, what you are doing is paying other people with your hard earned cash; powering their dreams. Now, unless you are selling a product or service to make a living, then no one is paying you. The very least you should do is pay yourself so you can also grow financially.
You might think it’s impossible for you to save because the money you make now is not even enough to live on but trust me, this is the precise reason you need to start saving. If you don’t, nothing about your situation will change and the chances of some billionaire dropping a pile of cash on your lap are next to zero.
If saving at least 10% of your income on a consistent basis is hard for you, here are 4 ways you can save without feeling the pain upfront.
If you don’t save, nothing about your situation will change and the chances of some billionaire dropping a pile of cash on your lap are next to zero.
Save The Change In Your Pocket
Someone said to me a many, many years ago, that he disliked breaking his big notes because once he had smaller notes, he spent them easier or with less restraint. That may be true for most of us but the change in our pockets can be a tool that moves us towards a positive future.
At the end of every day, when I get home, I empty my wallet and pockets and take out any note from N100 and below. It has just become a habit. I use the money mostly to pay for the shoemaker who comes on Sundays and for other domestic expenses like buying CWAY water or plantain. Every now and then, when I’m feeling flush, I chuck in a N200 or N500 note. I recall my kids adding up all the notes one day and it was over N11,000. Granted, this was accumulated over a number of months but it’s definitely one painless way to accumulate cash if traditional saving is difficult.
Round Down Your Cash
A more effective way of saving daily is to round down your cash everyday. Let’s say you have N16, 790 in your wallet when you get home tonight. What you do is round down to the nearest hundred. Which means that you would save N90 and keep N16, 700 to spend tomorrow. If that is too small for you, then you can choose to round down to the nearest thousand meaning that you would save N790 and keep N16,000.
To get real momentum, you can round down to the nearest five thousand meaning that in this instance, you would save N1,6790 and hold on to N15,000. Do this consistently and you will soon have a nest egg. A small one, but a nest egg all the same.
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Save Half Of Every Cash Windfall
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A windfall is any unexpected amount of money that you get. It might be an inheritance, a bonus from work or even money you unexpectedly find in your jacket pocket that you forgot about. Save exactly half every time and keep ina separate account. Enough said really.
Bargain Hunt And Save The Difference
If you’ve learnt one thing from reading my posts, it should be that, unless it’s absolutely impossible, don’t just pay the asking price for anything. Negotiate everything! There are of course times when this is impractical or unproductive; I wouldn’t recommend that you try haggling with your bus conductor for example.
At other times, when practical, after you make cash savings, what you need to do after congratulating yourself is to work out how much you saved and actually save that money. Spending the savings on something frivolous as most of us might do, means you haven’t really saved anything. Putting the money away and accumulating it, that’s the real savings.
Enough Talk, Act Now
With these techniques, you can start saving today. Don’t wait till the end of the month or after your brother’s wedding or anything like that, start right now. Your future self will thank you for it.
Follow Tunde via his blog on Talking Money