Going through the cycle of earning yet battling with financial struggles is an encounter a lot of people fear, but they are often faced with it due to the financial lifestyle they uphold. A lot of individuals experience financial strains because they lack the knowledge to plan their spending which usually lands them in a situation of amassing debts that get difficult to manage. Strategizing your spending is not an easy stride, yet it is not impossible. To live a happy and debt-free life, some strategies have to be put in to achieve such.
Here are spending strategies to help you live within your budget:
A sound financial mindset is essential: The opinion or belief people hold about their finance exerts a great influence on how they utilize it. Your money mindset or the value you place on your finance will boost your habit of evaluating your income and investing in worthwhile expenses. It is important that you have a clear understanding of your earning status and what it can be used to achieve.
Set goals: To avoid impulsive spending, you should have spending goals or budget put in place for your income. Setting goals come in handy to check how and what should be spent on. It helps one to know the exact things to spend on and to differentiate between wants and needs i.e. things that can be laid aside and those that are really needful and pressing. Cultivate the habit of writing down your goals and following them by the script. A good trick to use is dividing your expenses into sections and allocating a percentage of your income to them.
Needs or Wants: Many people constantly struggle with the pressure to live up to a particular standard that is way beyond their income, which eventually leads to a financial disaster. For someone willing to live within your budget, you should always evaluate your lifestyle by asking if the things you spend your money on are really needful. Ask yourself if you really have to buy the things you buy or you can do without them. On the other hand, you can save a particular percentage of your income for some other luxuries, but bear in mind that it should in no way affect your important expenses. Instead of accumulating massive bills because of your desires, you have to weigh your wants and needs and strive to spend more on needful and essential things.
Set Limits: Of course, if you don’t need it, you can do without it. Set spending boundaries to curtail some of your wants. Your spending rate should align with your earnings. You risk placing yourself in huge financial stress if you spend more than you earn.
Boost your income: To spend more comfortably, you need to earn more. One of the best strategies to live within your means is to look for other sources of income. Some ways to increase your income include doing extra jobs, monetizing your skills and starting a new business.
Save up: The journey to financial stability cannot be achieved if saving is neglected. In addition to storing up for future possible emergency, nurturing a habit of saving also instils a sense of discipline. One of the ways to practice saving is to cut down on avoidable expenses and save instead.
Living within your budget connotes having a sense of financial stability and learning to cut your coat according to your size. To avoid running into debts, one has to be mindful of how they spend and uphold it as an important habit that needs planning and evaluation. The secret to living comfortably within your budget revolves around planning, proper spending, and saving.
How to improve your investing habit
Valuable tips to help you improve your investing habit and make more money.
The best route to financial freedom and wealth is by saving and investing your funds. With the rising inflation rate in the country, money saved in the bank is useless and would depreciate with time. The best thing to do as a smart person is to invest your money and sleep while your money works for you. Investment entails more than just knowing about the stock market and investing, it involves having a healthy investing habit. It takes a lot of study and growth to imbibe these habits. Keep reading for tips on how to improve your investing habit and make more money.
Keep at it
A good investor doesn’t start today and stop tomorrow. You have to be consistent with your investment plan and learn not to eat all your returns. Reinvest your interest and keep investing till your last breath, that is how you make more money. When Albert Einstein was asked what man’s greatest invention was, he said ‘compound interest’. According to him, “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world, he who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t pay it.” Imbibe the art of reinvesting today and keep at it.
Have a plan
‘A goal without a plan is a wish.’ Having defined your financial goals, you should come up with a plan on how to achieve your goals. Gone are the days when you just invest blindly. To improve your investing habits, learn to plan ahead. Decide what to invest in, look out for the risks involved in your investment, calculate your interest rates and see if it would benefit you, and track your investment.
Spend more time on research
“It has long been the prevalent view that the art of successful investment lies first in the choice of those industries that are most likely to grow in the future and then in identifying the most promising companies in these industries”
An excerpt from the book, “The Intelligent Investor; The Definitive Book on Value Investing” by Benjamin Graham, updated by Jason Zweig.
The importance of research cannot be overemphasized. As a smart investor, you should do thorough research on the industries that have great potential and would give you better results. You should also do in-depth research on the risks involved in investing in specific industries. Arm yourself with enough data before investing.
Learn from your mistakes
There is no successful investor that has not made a financial mistake or lost money due to some sloppiness. However, what makes you a better investor is the ability to learn from your mistakes and move on. This rule applies to all facet of life so it shouldn’t be new to you. If you make an error in your numbers or make some huge mistakes, pick yourself up and try again.
Wait on it
You can not be an investor and not know how to be patient, disciplined and eager to learn. One of the habits of successful investors is patience. You have to learn how to let go of your funds and let it come back to you when it is ready. Also, the market won’t always be proposing huge returns or favourable investment plans; your patience will go a long way in helping you survive situations like this.
Be a copycat but also think for yourself
Do research on successful investors, find the ones that have the philosophy that aligns with you and follow their steps. You cannot know it all. You should also learn from their mistakes along the line; that is the key to becoming better than them. You must also be able to harness your emotions and think for yourself as an investor. Don’t underestimate the power of your intuition.
In addition to the tips listed above, below is the Buffet approach to investment, extracted from “The Warren Buffet Way: Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investors” by Robert G. Hagstrom.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
- Never follow the day to day fluctuations of the stock market.
- Don’t try and analyze or worry about the general economy.
- Buy a business, not its stock.
- Manage a portfolio of businesses: Intelligent investing means having the priorities of a business owner (focused on long-term value) rather than a stock trader (focused on short-term gains and losses).
We wish you well on your investing journey.
6 things you must not do with your money
Money can go as fast as it comes, but you might just get to keep it for a long time if you follow these tips.
Coming across this, you probably thought to yourself “what an interesting topic, I wonder what it has to say”. Well, we are right there with you. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t do with your money and even without reading further, you can probably outline about 20 things, (go ahead if you’d like to).
Trust me you’d have fun doing that because it was quite fun coming up with this list and we’d like to present to you the top 6 things we believe you must not do with your money. Have a fun read.
DO NOT BE UNINTENTIONAL WITH YOUR MONEY
Intentional living is important and it is something that has caught on over the years. To be intentional means to be deliberate in your actions and decisions. Basically, what you must understand from this is that you should not be impulsive with your money, whether in your spending, savings, and investment decisions, you must be deliberate. There is a popular saying that goes “failure to plan is planning to fail”.
It is necessary to always have a plan/budget for your money. Never leave your money to chance. Be intentional, be deliberate, and do not be passive with your money plans. To get started, you can focus on three steps; have a vision, create a plan, set limits. You can decide to be intentional with your impulse buying as well. When you create a plan and set limits and you do not go over that limit, even when you decide to splurge, you would still be on track to achieving your goals.
DO NOT MAKE LARGE PURCHASES WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE FULL COST
Part of being intentional with your money is to avoid large purchases if possible. Things like buying a car or land/homeownership should not be taken lightly. Even if you can afford the down-payment at that time, you have to consider the other charges and fees attached. If you can meet up with maintenance and servicing then, by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, it’d be best to review that decision. One way to achieve such purchase though, if your current earnings aren’t sufficient to support an extravagant purchase is to have a savings or budget plan for it.
Even if you cannot afford a financial advisor, there is a good number of mobile apps that would help you make such a savings plan. If you are the type of person that whenever you come upon ‘windfall’ or unexpected income, you’re already thinking of how to spend it extravagantly, you need to have a change of perspective. Before you think of buying that private jet or getting that car, you need to ask yourself if you are fully capable of maintaining it. Making rash purchase decisions can lead to regrets later.
DO NOT CASH YOUR PAYCHECK RIGHT AWAY
With the advancement in technology, most employees have the option to have their earnings paid directly into their bank accounts, rather than collecting cheques or cash. But no matter the form you collect your money; you must make provision for part of that money to be saved. Do not spend it immediately. You can automate payments such that a percentage of your monthly income goes directly into your savings account.
This helps to avoid the temptation of dipping into that fund because, “if you don’t see it, you won’t spend it”. Some companies provide retirement savings plans for their employees, a system whereby a portion of their salaries are deducted and paid directly into their retirement account. One such plan is the 401k, of which the Nigerian alternative is the Nigerian Pension Scheme, governed by the National Pension Committee (PENCOM).
(READ MORE: Cashless goes nationwide)
DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN ILLIQUID INVESTMENTS
While investments are fun, and a good way to build wealth, it is important to diversify and have variety. Remember the saying, “do not put all your eggs in one basket?”. The difference between liquid and illiquid investments is simply this; the ability to exchange something for cash. So the rate of liquidity is determined by how easily an investment can be converted to cash. Do not tie up your money by investing in illiquid investments. Your investment portfolio should be diversified.
DO NOT SHOP EMOTIONALLY
The fact that we are biological beings does not mean we should not make logical decisions. Do not fall prey to ‘retail therapy’. Retail therapy is a term that is used to describe the action of shopping to improve one’s mood. It is also referred to as “comfort buys”, often acquainted with individuals who buy during periods of depression and stress. You are allowed to get emotional and you are also allowed to deal with that emotion, but talking to a sales representative or clerk just to make you feel better is not healthy.
Their job is to make sales, not your welfare. This is not intended to paint anyone in any sort of way but rather, to educate you. Instead of making that trip to the store or browsing that online catalogue, it would be better for you to call up a trusted friend or family member and talk with them. You’ll thank me for it.
DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT YOU DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND
A contract is an agreement between two people that is legally binding. Four essential elements that make a document legally binding are; an offer, an acceptance, an intention to form a partnership, and a consideration that usually involves money. It can be oral or written. When it is oral unless recorded, there is no solid proof that an agreement was made, but, once it is written there is enough proof.
So before you go ahead and sign that piece of document, you must be fully aware of the terms and conditions of your agreement. Yes, a contract may, however, be considered invalid for specific reasons, but the bottom line is that you should avoid any situation that would put you in any money problem. It is more rewarding to get professional advice than implicate yourself unknowingly.
With all that’s been said, the crux of the matter is that you must be intentional with your money. Only then, can you plan, only then can you learn from your mistake, only then can you track your money movements, be deliberate, make decisions and take actions with a purpose. Develop a relationship with it (a healthy one of course), get to know your money, go on money dates and your financial health will bless you for it.
Up for a raise? Use these 5 strategies to make it happen
To avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise.
Requesting a raise is an important conversation that you should have with your employer, particularly if you believe your salary does not measure up with the value you bring to the company or the duties for which you are assigned.
In a bid to avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, many people shy away from this. They continue to expect the day the company will announce a raise or promotion for the employees. Although in some workplaces this sometimes plays out as expected, many other businesses seldom revisit the salary specifics and performance evaluation document of their employee to evaluate and conduct a correlation in order to make recommendations for a raise to those who merit it.
Demanding a raise does not entail asking for a favor from the company, it simply means asking for suitable market value for your job roles and responsibilities. In as much as this might be the right of an employee, it is necessary to know how to go about it appropriately in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
Here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise:
1. Evaluate your contributions and performance
To ask for a raise, you need to have a well-grounded knowledge of the positive contributions you have made to the company. Create a list or record of your discharge obligations or duties, as well as significant achievements that you made on the job. This will give you insight as to the value you bring to the company and what you get in return. Evaluating your results will provide you with a sound understanding of your efforts, achievements, and will also increase your confidence to demand a pay raise. This will help your boss realize that you know your worth.
2. Boost your negotiation power
Negotiation is the process of reaching a fair agreement for the parties involved by means of meaningful conversations. Most employees cower in the face of salary negotiation because of the impression this may create about them to their employers. Others who are brave enough to take the step lack the skillfulness to achieve or reach a handy result.
Negotiation is an art that should be learnt. Employees should improve on their negotiation skills if they intend to get a fair bargain for their efforts. One of the negotiation techniques that can be incorporated when asking for a raise in pay is to layout specific options from which the employer is to choose. This will offer both parties substantial choices to make a decision from.
3. Right timing matters
There is a time for everything. As cliché as this may sound, it is a fact you should accept and work with. You have to assess the company’s financial position to ascertain if asking for a raise will be feasible. When this is done, you can proceed to arrange a meeting to discuss it with your employer. Find out from your employer when it is convenient to discuss issues of concern that you have.
4. Present cogent reasons
When demanding a raise, one of the strategies to achieve this is to tender reports or proof of your achievements or efforts that have contributed to the development of the company in some way. You can request for a raise on the grounds of the length of service, duties, or performance. Your motives should reflect the principles of the company and they should be objectively stated.
5. Express gratitude
Appreciate the employer for the ability to work for the company and show a sense of appreciation for their service. Let the employer know that your demand for a raise does not mean that you are dissatisfied with the employer or the work, but rather that it is a request for what suits the specified roles you play.
For a variety of reasons, many organizations give an employee a raise based on different factors that range from efficiency, motivation, length of service, promotion, and a few other factors. If you are assured that you have fulfilled the requirements for a raise, the methods mentioned can be used to improve the chances of having a raise.