A lot of Nigerians believe that there is a secret towards understanding how to save money, especially in a country like Nigeria where expenses skyrocket almost every week, steadily eating into one’s monthly income. But that is a wrong notion.
Financial analysts rather argue that what is needed is an understanding of tips and strategies that make it easier to save more of what you earn.
A finance expert, Dr. Ayo Bello, said that many people consider having a well-paying job as the only opportunity to save meaningfully from their salaries. For those who belong to this school of thought, it is better to change such perception before it is too late.
He frowns at the popular belief that a good job translates into the financial capacity to plan for things like a new car, investing in a startup or even a vacation to a dream destination.
To him, all of these depend largely on how much of your monthly income you are able to set aside, and how disciplined you are towards sticking to your monthly budget.
According to him, the biggest challenge for most salary earners is sticking to the monthly plan, as it directly affects other projected plans for the month.
Here are some tips on how to save money after payday.
Write-out your goals
After the credit alert comes from the bank, there’s no better time to spell out what your saving goals are for the month. In other words, what you intend to do with your salary is just as important as the salary itself.
Track of your tickets/bills
Whatever happens, you have to keep track of your expenses. One easy way to do that is to come up with a rating system.
For instance, if you earn N100,000 monthly and plan to save 40 per cent of that, draw up a rating system. Say, at the end of the month, if you end up saving only 10 per cent of your income, be honest to scold yourself with marks like ‘FAIL’ and vice versa.
Create a Budget and Monitor it
If you are planning to save a percentage of your earnings, then you should have a budget. Bear in mind that your budget should include everything you spend money on monthly, even money spent on airtime for your mobile device and money you set aside for charity.
This is not the kind of budget that you carry around in your head— you have to write it out or have it typed out in a document where you can look through it as frequently as you need to.
Write out how much your disposable income is on a monthly basis and how much you intend to save. Also, write out every single item or service that you pay for, right from the salon to the restaurant and others. In other words, ensure everything is accounted for.
At the same time, ensure that you monitor your budget. In situations where you record expenses that were not initially included in the budget, include them under review, and make plans for such recurrence.
Do you need to change your route?
If you find yourself indulging in impulsive shopping, especially on your way from work, you may need to change your route. Where you shop is just as vital as what you are buying. A man once bought a portable wardrobe at a shop close to his work place for N11,400 and after a few months, it began to fall apart, mainly because he overloaded it. He later bought another one at N5,000 at a shop very close to his house.
Must you take your debit card out every day?
Your debit card can actually save you from being stranded, but having cards for all your accounts could tempt you to go beyond your monthly spending limit. Without caution and discipline, you will keep spending the money you have saved.
Instead of having debit cards for all your accounts, which may force you to leave far less than you planned to save at the end of the month, get a debit card for your operational account. The lesser your access to your main account, the safer your savings will be.
Buy what you need, not what you want
If someone offers to sell you a new pair of shoes or a really nice wristwatch, wait for a clear 48 hours before you make a decision on whether to buy or not. This gives you sufficient time to decide if this is something you need or something you want. If you work with this strategy, you’ll end up not buying quite a number of things you originally wanted to buy.
Savings comes before spending
One of the wrong ways to go about saving from your monthly earning is to save what is left after your spending. That is suicidal. If you truly desire to see the account balance of your savings account go up on a monthly basis, you have to save first, then spend what is left. If you insist on spending and then saving what is left, the chances of having anything left are quite slim.