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Financial Literacy

How to plug your spending leaks

How to plug your spending leaks

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Plugging your spending leaks

Do you find yourself spending more and saving very little? Are you often in need of money and wonder where your income for the previous month has gone? You are not alone. Almost everyone has been in this predicament more than a few times.

When you regularly find yourself in this situation, it means you have some spending leaks. Therefore, you will have to identify these leaks and stop them. This short piece will show you how you can do so. Keep reading.

  1. Budget your income

Splitting your income is a good way to keep track of it.  You can use the 50-30-20 rule to find out where you have a budget leak. Here’s how it works: Once you receive your income for the month, set out 50% of it for essentials like food, transport, and bills; 30% for tasks you want to achieve and debt payments.  The remaining 20% should go to your savings.

[Read Also: How young Nigerians are investing to leave the country ]

The hard part is to record what you spend each day. But nothing will get past you when it’s time to analyse your budget at the end of the month.

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  1. Monitor your spending

Most times, it’s the little things that add up to cause the greatest impact. Things like buying meals rather than cooking, and spending more than you should on snacks and internet data purchases can take up a large chunk of your income yearly.

  • Emotional spends and the latte factor: Before you spend, ask yourself if it is really worth it. We often times buy things or pay for subscriptions we never get to use or use once and abandon. Also, habits like smoking, drinking daily, or playing bets can add up to a huge expense at the end of the month. The latter is known as the latte factor, where you make seemingly small and insignificant spends every day. It is best to cut down on certain inclinations if you want to save more.
  • Wastages: you will spend more on electricity bills when you leave energy consuming gadgets on unnecessarily. Turn off the light, air conditioning, or the TV when you leave the room to save up on your bills.

Your car is another thing that can consume a large part of your income. When you keep your car in good shape through regular maintenance, you not only ensure road safety but also reduce your spending. Driving at low speeds and keeping your leg off the clutch while driving help reduce fuel usage. If you are going to stop for more than a few seconds, turn off your engine.

Find out other areas of income wastage unique to you.

[Read Also: 5 post retirement ideas you should share with your parents]

  • Make a shopping list and keep to it: To avoid spending on impulse, plan your purchases and create a shopping list before you enter the market.

3. Compare

the end of the month, compare the amount you have budgeted and the amount you have spent. If you have spent more, reanalyse and decide if you made your budget unrealistic. If not, find areas to cut back on.

In conclusion…

The road to wealth requires mindfulness. You may make a lot of money every month, but what’s the point when you don’t spend it wisely? Avoid financial leaks as much as possible. Save and invest more.

[Read Also: 9 TIPS to KNOW when NOT to INVEST]


This article was written by Tobenna Nnabeze

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Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform.To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

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Business

African leaders should support MSMEs for rapid recovery of economies – Report

African leaders would help speed up the recovery process in most African economies if they can continue to support the MSMEs.

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Development Bank of Nigeria , Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA)

African leaders have been enjoined to promote and support policies that would strategically support the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and speed up the recovery process in most African nations.

This was stated in the Foresight Africa 2021 report, a publication of African Growth Initiatives of the Brookings Institution, a non-profit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions.

According to the report:

  • “Policymakers must continue to support businesses—both smaller enterprises and larger firms—that have been disrupted by the crisis.
  • “Arguably, the greatest priority must be to bolster the micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are key to African commerce and account for 83 percent of private-sector employment in Africa.
  • “Such businesses, which number between 85 million to 95 million, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 mitigation measures given they are often characterized by person-to-person contact. By just May 2020, 75 percent saw their revenue decline by over 30 percent.
  • Finance will continue to be one of the greatest needs for African businesses; indeed, only 5 percent of MSMEs across the continent feel they have received adequate support from lenders. Provided governments navigate Africa’s fiscal challenges with skill and determination, they can continue offering suitable financial support to small enterprises; in addition to indirect support through value chains and banks, such assistance might include loans, debt forgiveness, low-interest rates, assistance with payments to suppliers, and reduction in utility costs.”

 Ways Governments can provide financial support to MSMEs

  • There are several steps that governments can take to provide financial support to MSMEs. One option is to assist MSMEs through larger firms in their value chains, which might include upstream suppliers and downstream buyers.
  • “Governments can provide easier liquidity and working-capital terms to these larger players, and they can make such support conditional upon these firms’ providing favourable financial terms to MSMEs.
  • “Governments can also consider providing risk guarantees or first-loss mechanisms while requiring banks to on-lend under the chosen set of criteria and guidelines in order to encourage banks to lend to MSMEs.
  • “Policymakers must not lose sight of the region’s informal sector, as 84 percent of African MSMEs are unregistered. Policymakers can take advantage of the opportunity created by the crisis to convince larger numbers of informal enterprises to register, and thus gain better access to finance and markets. Moreover, to promote registration, governments could shape bold campaigns and attractive packages, potentially including multi-year tax holidays and capacity building for MSMEs.”

Why this matters

  • Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are widely recognized for the important contributions they make to sustainable development, in terms of contributions to economic growth, creation of jobs, provision of public goods and services, as well as poverty alleviation and reduced inequality.
  • The pandemic has seriously impacted the MSMEs in all African nations as it has exacerbated economic hardship and may have pushed more than 40 million Africans into extreme poverty.
  • It is imperative that the African leaders focus on enabling businesses to respond effectively to these new and unfavourable conditions to which most MSMEs have been exposed to.

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Personal Finance

How to fund your business without a debt sentence

The lack of funding is a great excuse for people who are not really ready to start a business. 

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5 things you can do to attract equity funding for your business

According to Mark Cuban, one of American’s entrepreneurs, owner of Dallas Mavericks, and TV Personality, the biggest mistake most people make is to think that they have to raise money to start a business.

As a financial advisor, I totally agree with Mark. There is no such thing as a successful business that became successful because of funding. Yet every week I receive tons of emails asking for advice on how to raise money or if I would invest in their businesses.

The answer always is “No” and you will discover the reason at the end of this article.

While I understand that certain businesses genuinely do need funding, and while funding is necessary at certain stages in a business, I do not think that every business needs funding to get started. And in fact, the majority of funding needs are not real funding needs, but the lack of ability to create money from thin air.

Most Funding requests are disguised gap in creativity and sales skills. Because with the right sales and creative skills, you can create the amount of money that you want. And you can also break down your business into the version that you can fund with your own money.

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Thus funding problem is majorly disguised creativity and sales problems. And quite frankly the lack of funding is a great excuse for people who are not really ready to start a business.

I know this because great entrepreneurs are not stopped by funding challenges. And the greatest entrepreneurs in the world all started in spite of funding challenges.

Amazon started out from the garage of Bezos’ in Bellevue, Washington. He started out with funding of almost $250,000 from his parents.

Facemash now Facebook started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and a group of friends. They started out with sweat equity, technical skills, and the ability to sell their idea and build a solid community.

Apple started out in Jobs’ garage on April 1, 1976, by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They started their business with sweat equity, technical skills, and the ability to sell a not so perfect Apple 1 product without a monitor, keyboard, or casing.

Bill Gates and his business partner Paul Allen built the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, from technological innovation, keen business strategy, and aggressive business tactics.

You will find a similar story for Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Dangote, and so on.

These men built their businesses from the ground up with sweat equity, the right attitude, personal savings, or support from families. Funding did not stop them and funding will not stop you if you are serious about entrepreneurship. Quite frankly funding at the early stage of a business increases business stress, dilutes control, and expands leadership complexity.

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So while you may fantasize about some strange investor sent by God coming along. To lift your business off the ground. In reality, this rarely happens. You must find ways to fund your way to a proven business model. Investors rarely fund ordinary ideas or struggling businesses. They fund businesses that are already succeeding but need funding to expand that success. This is why banks rarely lend to SMEs but do so easily to successful businesses. And why the majority of successful business owners started off on their own

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So why do people still waste time looking for funding?

People gravitate towards funding for three reasons. The first is the Fantasy of overnight success. The second is the desire to use another person’s money to fix fundamental problems. That can only be solved through discipline and hard work. And the third is to make an already successful business even more successful.

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Among these three reasons, only one is of interest to the investor.  Investors are not on a mission to rescue your business or make you rich. They are on a mission to increase their wealth and achieve more financial success. They will only invest in businesses that can help them achieve their goals. And until your business develops this capacity you are not yet funding worthy.

Thus the only purpose for funding is to transfer investor’s idle funds or funds that are less optimized to a profitable business vehicle. That has the capacity to generate higher profits. This means that your business must have the capacity to turnaround investors’ money very quickly. If your business is not yet at this stage. You should focus on bringing it up to this stage and then attracting investor’s funding can become easy for you.

The key to successful funding is to answer the three funding questions. First, is my business fundable? Second, do I need funding for wealth-creating purposes? And third is my business at the stage where it can turn around investors’ money without losing it? Answering these questions is key to funding your business.

A business is ready for funding when it has certain key attributes. There are seven key attributes that attract investors and make a business funding worthy.

 

Watch out for the next part of this interesting series


About author

Grace Agada is The Senior Financial Happiness Director @ Create Solid Wealth. She is an Author and Column Contributor in Six National Newspaper. She is a contributor at BellaNaija, Nairametrics and Proshare and she is on a mission to help working-class professionals and CEOs become more financially successful. To learn more about Grace and how she can help you send an email to [email protected]

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Personal Finance

How to reduce your electricity bill in Lagos

Find out a few tips on how you can reduce your electricity bill.

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With the recent hike in electricity tariff, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, especially if you already have a prepaid meter installed at home. Currently, the new tariff increase since October 2020 is over 100%, meaning everyone would start paying twice what they previously paid.

Things are hard enough as it is especially in a place like Lagos, and if you don’t plan to pay double, you have to adjust accordingly. Although you would certainly pay more, but knowing how to reduce your electricity usage in Lagos would do you a lot of good. Read on to find out a few tips on how you can reduce your electricity bill.

READ: How to own your home in 5 years without a mortgage

How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill in Lagos

To start with, you should know that for these tips to work for you; you need a prepaid meter installed. Without a prepaid meter, your bill pretty much runs on estimates and leaves you with little room to contest its accuracy. If you want to save power, start by getting a prepaid meter installed at home.

After that, here are a few tips on how to reduce your electricity bill in Lagos:

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READ: Buhari moves against DISCOs that collect money for prepaid meters

1. Sniff out background power consumption:

Many don’t know this, but turning off a device while leaving it plugged in does not cut off the power supply. The device still consumes residue energy called vampire or stand by power. To avoid this, cut off power to a device by turning off the socket and the device’s power switch.

2. Replace all your bulbs at home with energy-efficient models:

Although non-energy-efficient bulbs are cheaper to purchase, they become more expensive in the long run to use. This is because they consume far more power than energy-saving bulbs. For example, the average wattage of an ordinary bulb is around 60 to 200. However, energy-saving bulbs are as low as 7 to 11 watts. This means that one would consume more than ten times the other’s power; the choice is yours. Also, it would help if you become more cautious with how long you leave your bulb on. Turn them off during the day, and when you want to sleep at night; especially your kitchen, toilet and bathroom lights. Only leave security lights on.

READ: Eden Life set out to automate domestic chores for busy people – CEO

3. Limit your fan and Air conditioner’s runtime:

The ceiling fan is one of the home’s highest passive power consumers. You might not know it, but your fan practically runs all day and night, which significantly impacts your power bills. One thing you can do is replace all your fans with energy-efficient models if you have the means. However, if you don’t have the energy-efficient model, simply regulate how long the fan runs. The energy-consuming capacity of an air conditioner is well known. Keep it running for a day, and it would make a telling impact on your bills. A 1.5hp (1119watts) Ac running for 10 hours at a rate of N60 per kilowatt would cost you well over N30,000 alone. You can shuffle run time between your fan and air conditioner, depending on how many units you purchase per month. Limiting your fan to running only about 8 hours a day can save you hundreds of naira.

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READ: FG to revive 3 power projects in Abia by first quarter 2021

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4. Revisit your refrigerator:

This is another appliance that consumes the most power at home. The average watt consumption of a refrigerator is 1200 watts per day (depending on the model), which means they consume one of, if not the highest power at home. You can reduce consumption by purchasing a smaller freezer, which is the more expensive approach or doing the following:

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  • Move the refrigerator to an area with adequate air circulation, as it helps it become more power-efficient.
  • Your fridge should also be at least 2 inches away from the wall and not stand directly exposed to sunlight.
  • Another thing you should do is not stuff up your refrigerator. This reduces the overall efficiency of the unit because of the lesser space available for air circulation. It also means that the unit would draw more power to meet the demand. Ensure you defrost the fridge regularly too

READ: Strategies to Reduce Expenses and Save Money

Asides from the tips mentioned in this article, you should also sit down to study your home. If possible, create a list of all your appliances and their watt rating. Start trimming down consumption by replacing the device with a more energy-efficient model, or reducing its use.

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