The whole point of budgeting is to manage your resources and increase savings. Paying through your nose for a course, device, or material to help you properly budget your resources, makes the whole process a bit of a joke.
Also, you do not want to use a budget tool that gives absurd reports and sends you into waves of anxiety. Budgeting requires that you have a clear head; anxiety doesn’t allow that. According to Leslie Wayne, the primary and only principle of budgeting is, “do not go over budget”. Paying huge sums for a budgeting tool already flouts this rule.
Some of the most affordable forms of budgeting are the most traditional methods, the earliest forms. Using a Paper and Pen to make your scale of preference and plan your expenses solely on significance or relevance. The only shortcoming of this method is that you could lose your pen or notepad. The other method is “The Envelope Method”. Using several envelopes, you allocate your financial resources to your needs.
This helps you not to overspend.
Microsoft Excel and Spreadsheet also have templates for budget planning. That way, you get to create a database to track your expenses. Some Financial institutions also provide online tools for budgeting, check the banks within your region for options.
The best free online budgeting tools
The most credible budgeting tools in this time are those found online—some of them with AI integrations to aid you. Unlike ten years ago, there are lots of online tools in the market. Some affordable, some free, some expensive, some effective, and others total bad investments. In this list, we compile the most effective, free online budget tools you can find in any region with a good internet connection. Not only do they help you plan your budget, they’re easy to operate too.
Some of these free budgeting tools are;
Mint brought about the birth of online budget tools in 2006. Not only has Mint lasted for so long. They’ve successfully helped over 20 million users plan their financial resources, without pain or fear.
The platform links all bank accounts to your Mint account and updates your budget automatically, with every withdrawal or deposit. It has a system that helps you analyse your expenses at time intervals, based on your spending history and financial statement. There is also a menu that allows you to create a debit card bill payment plan.
MINT is an online budgeting tool and is also available on Windows, Android and iOS platforms.
PocketGuard is an online application that helps you plan your finances. It also connects your financial accounts to your budget accounts. The developers of this tool, realize the dangers associated with sharing your bank details and have created encryption that protects your data from third-party agencies. Pocket Guard analyses your bills, debts, other payments and suggests ways through which you can save more.
Personal Capital is one of the most efficient budgeting tools. It doesn’t only help you plan your budget; it helps you with investment plans and also manages your retirement account. Although registration and the use of the budgeting tools are free, the investment tracking option on Personal Capital requires users to pay a token. One per cent of every successful investment.
For individuals who would prefer a platform that grants them the opportunity to manage all their finances and investments on one page, Personal Capital is their final call.
Unsplurge, unlike the previous budgeting tools on this list, helps you to manage your finances for a particular goal, in contrast to the other general-purpose budgeting. Unsplurge helps you to save up for a specific investment, property or pleasure.
Besides helping you keep track of your savings and spending. The application also gives you viable suggestions using your finances as a yardstick, to help you boost your savings.
For those looking for a viable method to effect down-payment of debts and boost savings, SavvyMoney is the most suitable platform to aid them.
The fundamental idea is that you aim to understand your present financial situation and the deeds or misdeeds which have placed you there. After carefully analyzing your financial status, you create a plan for repaying your debts, putting into consideration your income and expenditure.
SavvyMoney helps you stay up-to-date with your progress and also keeps you from derailing. It also gives viable information and suggestions to boost your payments and ease you off the financial stress.
Read Also: Why you should invest today, not tomorrow
Wally is primarily, secondarily and ultimately a budgeting tool. The functions of this platform are solely based on financial and resource budgeting. Although the functions of Wally are limited compared to most online budgeting tools, it tracks income and expenses efficiently. Wally is completely a cost-free app, which grants users the opportunity to track their costs either by typing them into the blanks provided or taking photographs of receipts.
Wally provides notifications for bills due for payment, saving goals, and other milestones in the platform.
Similar to most online budget tools, Wally offers applications for Android, iOS and Windows users. Wally is free from all sorts of payments and allows for a wide variety of foreign currencies.
Simple is more than just another free online budgeting platform. It does more than manage your budget. It is also an electronic banking platform that can substitute for your traditional bank account. Its banking option allows for more effective interactions between your bank operations and your budget.
Simple offers a safe-to-spend feature that lets users know when they can make extra expenditures asides from the ones previously included in the budget. Also, it contains a savings feature that encourages users to continue saving.
Simple is an all-around financial management app, that allows you to track your bank account, budget and savings on the same platform.
It is free to use and available for all digital devices.
In conclusion, regardless of what budgeting tool or platform you decide to use, the main principle of budgeting remains, “do not go over your budget”. Effective budgeting and savings is a step forward to financial independence.
When sourcing for budgeting aid, look for the ones which suit your planning style and provides you with seamless service.
FG to support MSME contribution to economy to boost development – Minister
The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for SMEs in Nigeria.
The Federal Government declared that it is working with stakeholders to improve MSME participation in the economy through improving the business climate which will create jobs.
This was disclosed by Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit, on Tuesday, themed “The Role of Entrepreneurship, MSME and EMPRETEC in post-COVID-19 Resurgence.”
The Minister stated that the MSME sector of the economy is the growth engine of any economy which contributes to its development, job creation and export, amongst others.
“An MSMEs survey indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth, including reducing poverty and unemployment levels.
It has, therefore, become more apparent that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.
This is why the Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors, to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure that they grow now and into the future,” she stated.
On economic sustainability
The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for SMEs in Nigeria. She also disclosed that the FG launched the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a framework for the resolution of the challenges faced by the sector.
The programmes launched by the FG includes the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes, operated by a Steering Committee in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“The Government of Nigeria had, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, initiated the MSMEs Clinics scheme as a strategy, aimed at providing support for the MSMEs in the country.
At the clinics, operators in the MSMEs space are engaged by regulators and business advisory experts, on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, skill development, finance, quality & standards, and on how to facilitate and grow their businesses and enterprises,” she added.
What you should know
Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.
A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1%. This means that 33.3% of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.
How to move from a decent salary to a lucrative income (Part 1)
First, create an anchor position for your decent lifestyle; next, increase your earning capacity; third, earn a lucrative income and lastly, preserve the income that you have earned.
There is a common element that is present among all working professionals that achieve financial freedom. This element is their ability to move from earning a decent salary to earning a lucrative income. A decent salary is an income that gives you a decent lifestyle, and a decent lifestyle is any lifestyle that is comfortable in the present.
So, when you hear working professionals talk about having a decent income, what they mean is that their present life is working. And that they can pay their bills without financial stress. A decent salary is thus heavily invested in maintaining life today. This means that income from a decent salary is invested in income-consuming activities more than income-preserving activities. While it is good to maintain life today. It is even better to secure life tomorrow.
This is because life is advancing towards the future and the future will soon be here. Also, jobs don’t last forever and when they go away, they take all the decent salary that is funding your current decent lifestyle. Thus, if maintaining a decent lifestyle throughout life is your goal, you must move from income that is heavily invested in making today comfortable to income that is invested in maintaining comfort throughout life. This is where having a lucrative income comes in.
A lucrative income is an income that is heavily invested in preserving life today and in the future. Lucrative income is more focused on keeping and growing income for the days when salary is no more. This is because only preserved income will matter in those days. And those days are already upon us. So, if you are looking for the best time to prepare, today is the day. As the worst time to prepare is when you are already in the future. Becoming wise in the future will not do you any good. Thus, a well-structured lucrative income helps you prepare in three ways. First, it buys you financial freedom. Secondly, it expands your options and opportunities, and thirdly, it gives you financial peace of mind.
So, if your goal is to achieve financial freedom someday and maintain the decent lifestyle that you have become so accustomed to over the years, you must build income for the future by converting your decent salary to a lucrative income. The purpose of this article is to show you exactly how you can achieve that.
So how do you create your own lucrative income?
There are four steps to follow and each step must follow in the right order. The first step is to create an anchor position for your decent lifestyle. The second is to increase your earning capacity. The third step is to earn a lucrative income. And the fourth step is to preserve the income that you have earned.
Step 1. Create an anchor position for a decent lifestyle
You need to define what a decent lifestyle is for you and there are two kinds of decent lifestyles. The first is the financial freedom decent lifestyle and the second is the financial slavery decent lifestyle. The financial freedom decent lifestyle is the lifestyle that meets your basic needs and yet preserves a big part of your income. And financial slavery decent lifestyle is the lifestyle that sacrifices your savings.
To achieve financial freedom, you must choose the financial freedom decent lifestyle. This is the only lifestyle that can lead to financial freedom. The reason is that only saving a big part of your income can give you financial freedom. And You can’t out-earn extravagant living. Thus, you must anchor spending while you work on savings. To save a big part of your income you must save between 25-60% of your income. This means that you must anchor your decent lifestyle between 70 to 40% of your current income.
When you decide which anchor position is suitable for you, fix your expenses at this point and channel all extra income towards your savings. These include your bonuses, allowances, investment returns, and side incomes. Savings and expenses cannot grow at the same time. You must decide which one of them grows and which of them is anchored to a fixed position. Anchoring your expenses while growing your savings is thus, crucial to creating a lucrative income and achieving financial freedom. When you decide what a suitable anchor position is for you, you must stay anchored at this position until you achieve financial freedom.
So how do you anchor your spending?
To anchor your spending, you must first know how much you spend each month. If you are already within the 70-40% expense bracket you may want to look for other ways to push your savings beyond where you are. The key is to work towards saving more than you spend. But if you are outside the range, you are in a financial bondage position and are heading towards financial pain.
A financial bondage position is any position that puts your savings below 25% of your income. Most people are in this position and sadly they are anchoring their savings at a meagre 5-10% and growing their expenses. Saving under a quarter of your income is potential pain because you cannot maintain your current lifestyle at less than a quarter of your income. To maintain a decent lifestyle throughout life, you must save more than you spend and keep your spending anchored while growing your savings.
There are three savings positions to choose from if you want to speed up financial success. The first is called the quarter plus savings position. This is where you save a quarter or more of your income each month. The second position is called the mid-point savings position. This is where you save half of your income (50%) each month. The third savings position is the supreme position. This is where you save more than you spend, that is, above 50% of your income. To achieve financial freedom, you must decide whether you want to work hard on your freedom or do so on your expenses. Whichever you decide, it will be reflected in your report card at the end of your career.
Step 2. Increase your Earning Capacity
The fastest way to create a lucrative income is to earn more income. To earn more income, you must increase your earning capacity beyond what it is right now. Increasing your earning capacity means increasing your ability to solve high-income problems because money is made when you solve problems for other people. To solve high-income problems, you need four key elements. You need knowledge. You need skills. You need Productivity. And you need Relationships.
Knowledge is information that helps you see how things work. It is different from understanding. Understanding is derived from the application of knowledge. And from converting knowledge into skills and experiences. Productivity is getting more work done within a shorter time and creating more free time for yourself. When you produce more, you’re worth more. So, the key to productivity is to increase the quantity and quality of work that you do.
Relationships are also critical because income is produced within the context of a relationship. If you want to earn more, you must be worth more in knowledge, skills, productivity, and relationships. The sad news is most people only focus on acquiring knowledge. And knowledge may be power but it is the least income-producing element among the four. In fact, knowledge is useless until applied. To focus your savings on acquiring knowledge that has low-income value is not wise. Rather focus your savings on acquiring knowledge that can produce high and almost instant income.
The second mistake I see people make when they want to increase their income is investing in the wrong skills. They invest in skills that have little relevance outside the career world. And lose all their investment once they are out of a job or in retirement. They also invest in low-income skills. A low-income skill is any skill that does not add any specific and measurable value to company profits and revenue.
The problem with low-income skills is that they produce low income no matter how hard you work or how much it cost you to get them. And the problem with career-related skills is that they can only be applied in the career world. In the career world, you have zero control over your income and the value that is placed on your skills. So, developing low-income skills or career-related skills does not only limit your income, it makes your life miserable at the end of your career.
To achieve financial freedom, you must focus on acquiring high-income skills. And there are three high-income skills to acquire. The first is creativity – the ability to produce wealth-creating ideas. The second is relationship building – the ability to meet new people, engage in meaningful conversations and build trusted relationships. The third is marketing – the ability to convince customers that you and your product are worth more than the price tag on them. Without these three skills, you can’t create a lucrative income.
The third mistake I see most people make when they want to increase their income is to focus too much on investing as the means for earning extra income. While investing is great and can grow your income. Investing is NOT an income-producing activity and cannot make up for the gap in your own personal ability to produce or earn a high income. If it could, successful business owners would have closed their businesses and faced investing full-time. But they don’t because they know that the only powerful way to produce income is through your own personal ability to produce and solve problems. They use investing as a means to preserve and grow earned income and this is what you must do.
Depending on investment income to make up for your own low ability to earn income is a loser’s game. And there are three reasons why. Most people do not even have the size of cash reserves that can produce the amount of passive income they can depend on. What they then do is demand more than a safe return from their meagre investments and lose their money. And then they repeat the process all over again or are scared to death to invest which is even worse. There is a limit beyond which investing becomes harmful and not beneficial.
The second reason is that growing income through investing is a slower process and there is a limit to how much growth you can achieve. While a person can earn N500 million in a day through their own personal ability to produce and solve problems. They cannot push the same results out of their investments without losing it. The only way to still earn high income today is to use your personal ability to solve high-income problems.
Growing money and earning money are two different activities, and earning money is more powerful than growing money. The third and final reason why focusing on investing may not work for you is that it takes money to make investment money. Once you have the money it’s easy to find someone that can guide you to invest it. And money only comes when you have a personal ability to produce and solve problems.
So, while you can use your personal ability to earn income from scratch, it takes a lot of money to achieve investing success. I know this because 80% of people end up broke and resentful in retirement despite years of investing. The problem is not that they did not invest. The problem is that they were focusing on the slowest path to achieving financial freedom. The fastest path is always and would always be through your own personal ability to earn income. To earn a lucrative income you must become an expert at solving high-income problems.
Step 3. Earn a Lucrative Income
A lucrative income is any income that is bigger than the workload. It is income you can earn part-time working less and earning more. You need this kind of income to supplement your already heavy workload. To earn a lucrative income there are six things that must do.
The first thing is to learn sales. You must be able to sell yourself, sell your message and sell your ideas to other people. The second thing you must do is choose the right industry. Not all industries are created equal or have the same capacity to produce millionaires. To earn a lucrative income, you must work for industries that sell high ticket products and can pay high sales commission.
The next thing you must do is choose the right company. Not all companies within an industry offer the same benefits. Some companies are more reputable than others and have strengths that others do not have. So, you must choose wisely.
Next, you must choose the right products and services. Your success in earning a high income is dependent on your ability to sell. Do not make sales harder by selling difficult to sell products. You will not only delay your income you will be frustrated to quit.
Next is to look for and join a platform that offers a diverse range of lucrative income-earning opportunities. If you cannot create these opportunities on your own. And finally, you must take action and engage in income-producing activities in your spare time. These are the five things to do if you want to earn a lucrative income.
To succeed even further, you must follow the lucrative income guiding principles. There are four income principles to live by if you want to earn a lucrative income fast. The first is the funding principle and it states – if it would take money to get started, make the money elsewhere in sources that do not require money to start. The second is the freedom principle and it states – if you can only gain financial freedom by building solid cash reserves, better add a lucrative income to your main income and speed up the process. The third principle is the time principle. It states that if it would take a long time to earn income in a particular path, better get started now. The fourth is the people principle and it states that – if it will take knowing people to earn a high income, better become the person that other people want to know.
If you live by these principles and do the six things stated above you would increase your income dramatically.
Watch out for the concluding part of this series…
About the author
Grace Agada is a recognized leading Financial Expert on Nigerian Soil. She is a Renowned Speaker, Author, and Column Contributor in Punch Newspaper, This Day Newspaper, Vanguard newspaper, Business Day Newspaper, Leadership Newspaper, The Tribune Newspaper, and Online Platforms like Nairametrics, Proshare, and Bellanaija. Grace is the author of “The Financial Freedom MBA Program, “The Passive Income Retirement Blueprint” and “The Wealthy Business Blueprint” for Advisors, Consultants, and Coaches who want to get off the roller coaster of irregular income. Grace is on a mission to shrink the middle class and populate the upper class. Her ultimate goal is to create a tribe of professionals that are thriving in any economy. Grace has been featured on BBC Africa. Business Day TV. Inspiration FM. and inside Naijatv. She has consulted for Numerous Top Organizations, Company Directors, Senior Executives, and Top performing Professionals.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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