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Career tips

Strategies to Reduce Expenses and Save Money

In everyday language, consumption is nothing other than expenses. So, by reducing your expenses, you will be in a better position to save more.

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Beginners' Guide: How to compute capital gains tax in Nigeria

According to classical economics, personal disposable income is made up of savings and consumption. It says that Yd= S+C, (where Yd is disposable income, S is savings and C is consumption). It implies then that whatever is saved is your disposal income less your consumption. (S=Yd-C). This, therefore, means that in order to save more or increase S, you have to reduce your consumption, C.

In everyday language, consumption is nothing other than expenses. So, by reducing your expenses, you will be in a better position to save more.

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Why Reduce Expenses?

To attend financial freedom or independence, there is a need to increase the gap between your income and your expenses. There are two ways to do that, by increasing your income or by reducing your expenditure. Experience has shown that it is much easier to reduce your expenditure than to increase your income because, more often than not, you do not have the luxury of increasing your income at will especially when the source of the income is your salary; the incremental rate of which is determined by your boss or company.

[READ ALSO: Real estate: Declining credit reflects underlying weakness (Opens in a new browser tab)]

Therefore, because you have more control over your expenditure than your income, it is much easier to reduce your expenditure in an attempt to increase the gap between income and expenditure.

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Prioritize your Expenses

Every effort to reduce expenditures begins with analyzing your personal financial situation. It is not uncommon to see that you are overwhelmed by the number of expenses you have to make each month. By prioritizing your expenses, you will be able to see those that you really and necessarily need to incur and those that you can avoid, without having any effect on your physical or social wellbeing.

If possible, when you prioritize your expenses, assign priority ratings to them, like high priority, medium priority, and low priority. Once you do that, it becomes easy to identify those expenses you can live without and those that you cannot.

[READ ALSO: Real estate: Declining credit reflects underlying weakness (Opens in a new browser tab)]

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10 pricing strategies you need to know as a small business owner

What Should You Prioritize?

Taking a cue from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, your first consideration should always be the basics, like food, medical care, and accommodation (rent or mortgage payment). Next, consider household expenses like electricity bill and expenses relating to other necessities that you need for your day to day living. Following directly from your needs, prioritize other expenses like a car, (car loan, car insurance, car maintenance, and gas or petrol).

If you don’t need a car to go to work because of the availability of cheaper alternatives like train or bus, then give car-related expenses low priority. Walk your way down the line of needs and assign priority ratings to them as required.

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[KEEP READING: Quick take: Noninterest income lifts FBN Holdings’ pre-tax profit marginally]

Look for Savings Opportunities

In the process of prioritizing your expenses, you may discover that there are areas that you have been spending a lot on more than necessary. That discovery should not make you sad because you are not alone. There is hardly anyone that does not have an area or two in his or her life where he or she is spending more than necessary, including yours truly. The best way to find those hidden savings opportunities is to review each expense you listed while prioritizing them and find out if you have been prudent with such expenses.

Look for Cost-Saving Opportunities:

Having given priority ratings to your expenses, it is time to see which of them you can reduce or even eliminate. Here are a few ways to do that.

Mortgage: One of the major expenses relating to mortgage is mortgage interest. Interest rates are not always constant, they ebb and flow with economic events. The CBN from time to time reviews prime rates which drives other lending rates. If mortgage rates have fallen, try to refinance at a lower interest. If your mortgage is N15m, a 1% reduction in interest rate from refinancing, will save you N150,000 annually on interest expense.

Electricity Bill: There are one thousand and one ways of saving money on electricity in the home. Turn off the lights when not being used or when leaving the house. Unplug items that are not regularly in use like computers, printers, television sets etc. Use energy saving compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs. Use ceiling or standing or table fans in place of air conditioners, unless it becomes exceptionally hot. If available, use dimmers and sensors on lights to control energy use.

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Telephone: The cost of data and telephone in Nigeria is astronomical. Review your last telephone bill to determine your usage. You may be paying for more minutes than you need. If you have not been using all your monthly allotment of minutes, it is time to downgrade. Compare packages between carriers and service providers and make a switch if you find something cheaper. But bear in mind any cancellation penalty that may apply. Use internet calling facilities if applicable.

[READ FURTHER: INSIGHT: Understanding estate planning, asset protection, and asset transfer]

Groceries: Look for coupons and if the store has discounts or rewards, take advantage of those. Look for deals of the day or week. When you go grocery shopping, stick o you list. Before you leave the house for grocery shopping, take an inventory of what you have so as not to buy then when you already have them at home. My wife always makes that mistake. We have many times discovered that we had the laundry soap we just bought, but she will always say, it does not go bad, so we keep it. That is not a good cost saving mentality.

Personal Care Cost Savings: From clothing to personal hygiene to hair care, you may be able to find ways of saving on expenses. Review your clothing expenses, if you are in the habit of purchasing new clothes every month, think of cutting back on that. Look for where they have sales and take advantage of the price reductions that come with them. Buy cloths in styles and colours that are less trendy and use accessories to create a new look for yourself. Get yourself a home manicure and pedicure and cut back on patronizing professional manicurists.

Take HomeMade Lunch to Work: The money we spend at lunchtime in the office adds up especially if you work in expensive cities. When a friend saw that a lunch of $6 per slice of pizza or $10 per lunch pack of Chinese food was digging a hole in his pocket, he resorted to going to work with homemade food of rice and assorted vegetables like sweet corn, diced carrots, green peas, lettuce,  asparagus and broccoli, He discovered that the cost of buying packs of vegetables that lasted him two weeks was the cost of two day lunch packs of Chinese food. Not only has he been eating healthy, but he has also saved money.

[READ THIS: This Is the Portion of Your Salary Exempted/Deductible from Tax]

All Said and Done: The above list is just a tip of the iceberg, you know what you spend money on, take a critical look at them and find out how you can save a penny here and there. As the Jews always say, “every penny counts”, and the Ibo man says that “get and throway no dey make man a millionaire” so make your penny count by saving it and not throwing it away through avoidable and unnecessary expenses.

Patricia

Uchenna Ndimele is the President of Quantitative Financial Analytics Ltd. MutualfundsAfrica.com and mutualfundsnigeria.com (both Quantitative Financial Analytics company website) is a leader in supplying mutual fund information, analysis, and commentary on African mutual funds. We provide reliable fund data; and ratings information that will add value to fund managers, the media, individual investors and investment clubs.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Simple Strategies To Reduce Expenses And Save Money - Loan Hub

  2. Aku

    January 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Nice piece. However it is very important to seek ways of increasing income from other sources irrespective of whether you’re an employee or otherwise. There are so many things one can do to make additional income. Just search yourself and you will come up with super money making ideas

  3. ONIPEDE OLADAPO AJOSE

    January 21, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Very educative,thanks

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Career tips

Great tips for landing a job during this lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has had its impact on job opportunities, but here are some tips for landing jobs.

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Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

The economic lockdown and movement restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on job opportunities. Some of them could be in the form of job losses, getting new jobs, or even changing the way we work.

Given the unemployment numbers especially in these challenging times, it might be hard not to be apprehensive.

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According to a report from Bloomberg, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com, said, “It’s important to remember that there is hiring happening. There’s always attrition and individuals leaving for other jobs.”

Robin Ryan, a career counsellor, said that just a few unemployed people are job hunting at the moment. Most believe that there are no jobs, they can’t be hired, or that only lower-level jobs are available.

Here are some tips for landing jobs during this lockdown.

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Beat the system: Make a list of your recent jobs and your top accomplishments at each of them. Those are the items that should be on your résumé. To get past automated applicant vetting systems, enter your work tasks—budgeting, project management, graphic design, team leadership, etc.—in the first bullet point under each job. Don’t include extraneous formatting, such as text boxes, tables, footers, or headers, because application software can’t recognize it.

(READ MORE:Skills Africa needs for sustainable development)

Assess your prospects: You have to find out if the opportunities in your industry are shrinking. According to Hamrick, “many people fail to see that their skills might apply to a variety of settings.” Consider some of the sectors that have stayed open in the lockdown—finance, real estate, food and other consumer goods, technology, and retail, plus suppliers and distributors for each. If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. “There’s a need for people to help facilitate digital transformation,” Hamrick says.

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Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

Hit up recruiters (Recruiting agency firms): Let them help you with your resume and offer suggestions about things you might do to stand out.

Use your resources: Companies are filling positions needed to support virtual workers as part of their pandemic strategies. Many company websites might not yet reflect these changes, so try popular online job search websites, type in a company and your city, and you’ll get a better sense of what kind of hiring is going on.

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Network: That friend-of-a-friend who previously ignored you. He’s home now and might be up for a quick Zoom coffee date. Connect with everyone you know in your field. (LinkedIn is good for this.). Those connections build on each other. You can ask mutual acquaintances to introduce you to people who can help and once that happens, you can fix a virtual coffee date. If that goes well, ask for an introduction to a hiring manager or supervisor. You’ve got nothing to lose.

 

Patricia
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Career tips

Millennials changing the definition of work; doing the most with freelancing

Given the numerous number of changes in today’s world, millennials are gradually changing the definition of work, and beginning to embrace freelancing.

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Millenials, Freelancing

Given the numerous changes in today’s world, millennials are beginning to embrace freelancing. It is not just about thinking outside the 9-5 work hours, they are gradually changing the definition of work. This signals a new relationship between the worker and the economy; it is not just where they are working. It is what they are working for.

Millennials do not see companies as salary machines and do not also see themselves as ‘another chair-filler’. They actually see themselves as having the power to make choices, and their decision to work in one place or another is about finding value, not just the luxurious life attached to a conventional job.

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[READ ALSO: Nigerian Millennials have figured where to invest their money]

How Millennials make the most of freelancing

Skills over degree

Nearly half of millennials have tried freelancing, and nearly three-quarters of freelancers say it is getting easier to find work. Most millennials begin their journey into freelancing by discovering their passion and finessing their skills in order to look unique. They often find time to develop themselves outside the scope of their disciplines by attributing more values to skill acquisition than conventional degrees. With unique skills like photography, graphic design, content creation, etc. millennials are able to make enough money to pay their bills and afford their lifestyles.

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Working Remotely

Millennials are taking advantage of working remotely. Working remotely affords millennials the much-needed flexibility they need in their daily routines. Working remotely also helps improve the productivity of millennials, unlike conventional workers. This way, they are free from distractions that cannot be taken care of. It is amazing that working remotely can have millennials working straight for 8 hours without thinking of food or break.

READ ALSO: Tech Startups should emulate Konga – EX Unilag VC

Gigs rather than restrictive job functions

Millennials use freelancing as an opportunity to harness their creative abilities rather than focusing on restrictive job functions. Millennials get certain jobs called side gigs which can help them explore their creativity. They figure out who their clients really are and what they want from them. More importantly, is that millennials find an untapped market and then quickly build a huge customer base on it which will be making enough cash in short notice.

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Networking for Growth

Gone are the days when business cards were fashionable. This is because people do not really remember business cards. Millennials use networking as a way of getting to know the persons behind the business. They look for a spark in any conversation that a relationship can be built upon. Also, through the use of social media platforms, millennials are also able to collaborate to ensure the growth of the freelance economy.

Millenials, Freelancing

[READ ALSO: Millennials are becoming parents and school fees are getting more expensive]

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Conclusion

Finding a freelance platform that affords skilled professionals flexibility and opportunities to grow is a concern for millennials. TERAWORK is a highly recommended freelancing platform that provides freelancers with an opportunity to work on flexible schedules, get rid of the daily commute process and have a perfect balance between work and professional life; not only because it affords local and international millennials opportunities to harness their skills, but the platform also allows these skilled individuals to showcase their past work experience and provide them with the access to new jobs every day.

Patricia
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Career tips

12 lessons on business strategy from the game of Chess

Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.

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game of Chess

Are you a chess player? Well, not a lot of people are. Therefore, if your answer is no, you really need to try it. After all, it is called “the game of kings and queens” for a reason.

Chess is a board game that has been around for centuries. It has to do with the art of war. It’s all about strategy, tactics, and the ability to outmaneuver your opponent; the final aim being to checkmate them (that is, capture their king). Once that happens, the game is over.

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Chess has been shown to:

  • Improve IQ
  • Build confidence
  • Improve problem-solving skills
  • Teach planning and foresight
  • Improve concentration
  • Exercise both sides of the brain
  • Improve memory
  • Enhance creativity

It’s quite obvious that these benefits are indispensable when it comes to successfully running a business; especially if you are in a highly competitive market.

What goes on in the game is the perfect metaphor for business competition. In fact, you can learn a thing or two by playing chess. These lessons will prove very useful to you if you are an entrepreneur trying to plant your feet and control considerable market share. It will surely improve your ability to make sound business decisions.

[Read Also: CWG confirms Adeyipo’s appointment as MD]

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No wonder you can find a Chessboard in the home or office of top CEOs (Bill Gates, Peter Thiel), world leaders (Barack Obama, Bill Clinton) and even famous TV personalities (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julia Roberts of Pretty Woman).

How does playing chess relate to running a business?

The parallels between chess and business are clearly evident. The game is about war; specifically about protecting the invaluable piece (the king), and outthinking the opponent who’s trying to defeat you.

There are different strategies for both offensive and defensive play, and the best chess players should have experience with both. As a business person, you need to successfully navigate defensive and offensive positions in your industry.

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If you’ve seen people play chess, or maybe you play, you’ll notice that the opponents patiently wait their turn, study the board, anticipate their next move, and go through potential scenarios in their head. This is not so different from what is obtainable in the business world.

Both are based on SWOT analysis. That is, recognizing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Chess also involves an opening, a middle game, and an endgame. This is quite similar to the business cycle (expansion, peak, contraction, and trough).

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What lessons does chess teach?

To play the game you first have to master the rules, understand the players, and ultimately, play to win.

  1. Master the rules

Before you can take part, you have to learn the rules. That’s also the way it is in business.

If you jump in without first understanding the dynamics of how things work, including consumer demand, market regulations, pricing techniques, and what have you, you are most likely headed for failure. That is why it’s important to start small and grow gradually, expanding your reach as you get more experienced.

  1. Understand the players

Just like in chess, you need to understand your competition if you want to succeed in business.

Chess players spend time studying how their opponents think. This way, they can device countermeasures that will enable them to stay ahead, withstand an attack, and make a counter-attack.

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That’s exactly what you need to do as an entrepreneur. Learn what your competitors are doing. Who are they? What are they offering consumers that you are not? How can you make your products, services, and marketing efforts better? These and many more are important questions you have to ask yourself.

  1. Play to win

In chess, you have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. If you play emotionally or succumb at the first signs of hardship, you won’t win. You have to be ready to make tough choices.

[Read Also: 46-years after, Mr. Bigg’s is not so big anymore]

Some people play conservatively. They hang on tight to their pieces and refuse to make sacrifices. That’s also the way it is in business. To achieve your goals, you have to stay flexible. Know when to make adjustments, whether in your product combinations, management techniques, or marketing efforts.

Always keep your eyes on the big picture.

  1. Don’t rush to make a move; there might be a better one.

Inexperienced players stop searching for a move once they’ve located a good one. They forget there might be a better one.

In business, you have to make sure you make choices based on the complete set of information from the whole landscape. Don’t jump into the first option that looks good. Consider all your options.

  1. Plan several moves ahead

Chess players plan their moves and consider potential responses to those moves. Experienced players foresee moves several turns ahead. That’s how they manage to outwit their opponent.

[Read Also: Entrepreneurship isn’t all that glamorous – Jason Njoku]

This is what you must do as an entrepreneur. Making a good forecast is crucial to business success.

You also need to device contingency plans for situations that may arise in the future. “We’ll figure it out when we get there” might be a risky proposition you won’t be able to afford.

  1. Don’t play the plan; play the board

When playing chess, your opponent constantly devices measures to undermine your plans.

While it is important to make plans, it’s even more so to know when to abandon them or simply make adjustments.

While you have your business strategies in place, competitors are also applying their own to capture more market share than you do. Your aim should not be to follow a rigid set of plans. What determines your success or failure is your ability to adapt well and on time and respond effectively to counter what your competitors are doing.

  1. Know the value of the pieces

Each chess piece has a specific value. By knowing them, you are better suited to make decisions on how to place them across the board.

Similarly, when you know the value of your employees, customers, and associates, it will be easier to make wise decisions regarding job responsibilities, consumer targeting, and many more.

[Read Also: It’s time to break Nescafe’s two-decade grip on Nigeria’s coffee market]

  1. Manage your resources

To win, learn how to manage your resources.

In business, this applies to cash. If you run out of cash, you are done. You need to make sure you are not overspending. Every single expense you make should earn profit. Nothing should be wasted. You also need to ensure you are raising money appropriately as you go. Your expenses should never exceed your revenue.

  1. Keep an eye on the clock

“Time is material” – this is a common saying in chess.

You not only have to manage your pieces, you also have to manage time.

In a tournament setting, the games are timed so you have a limited period to make a number of moves.

It doesn’t matter if you are beating your opponent on the board, once you run out of time, you lose and your opponent takes the game, although you were doing exceptionally well on the board.

To prepare, players spend months or even years memorizing potential strategies and moves. This way, they can recall at a moment’s notice the move they have to make so they won’t spend too much time thinking.

This is why it is important to prepare in advance. A wise entrepreneur can make decisions which appear to be quick, but in reality, are a result of months of study and preparation.

  1. Make sacrifices

In chess, you learn to make necessary sacrifices that will give you the upper hand, or enable you to capture the king (Checkmate!). There are situations where you have to offer up a piece with intentions of gaining an advantage later on.

  1. Learn the value of patience

Before you can attack effectively, you have to take time to place your pieces in effective positions. A premature attack might backfire. The same idea is obtainable in business. Avoid making rash moves. Only make a move when everything is in place. For instance, don’t be in a hurry to start a business or launch a new product before conducting market research, no matter how excited you are about it.

  1. Create a balance between skill and intuition

There’s a balance in chess between intuition and analysis. There is always a human element that can’t be replaced by months or years of study and preparation. Chess is an infinite game with millions of possible moves. Therefore, it’s not possible to know and plan for every contingency. There are moments when you have to make a move based on intuition.

Once a player finds the balance between intuition and skill, their game improves remarkably. Many great chess players have come out on top a number of times when they went with their gut rather than their skills.

As an entrepreneur, you need to find this balance. It is what thinking outside the box is all about. It is also the key to creativity and great achievements and may be the difference between success and failure. Be it unique marketing campaigns, new and unique products and services, and other products of intuition.

In conclusion,

If you want to succeed in business, you have to be ruthless. This is exactly what chess is about.

Patricia
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