Financial experts recommend that we keep the equivalent of three months’ salary in a savings account as a buffer against uncertainty. What your Gran would call “saving for a rainy day”. Unfortunately, saving money is not always easy, particularly when prices and interest rates seem to increase every day.
The good news is that saving money is not difficult – all it takes is discipline and routine. Make saving money a habit and you won’t even notice you’re doing it. Here are a few money saving ideas to get you started.
How will you save your money?
Physically, that is. Many people find the best way to save their cash is never to see it. “Pay yourself first” is a mantra that you’ll hear a lot of money experts use over and over again. Do a budget (find out how here). Work out how much you can put aside – even if it’s just N10,000 a month, that’s N120,000 a year. Then, put it aside by having it directly debited out of your bank account each month, into a separate savings accounts. Shop around with the banks to see who can give you the best interest rates, and look for investment opportunities.
Where to find the savings
If you’re serious about saving money, there are several places to turn for help. You don’t need to be re-using tea bags to save a few Naira. The first place to look when you’re trying to save money is at your spending patterns. Yes, this is where we talk about the price of eating out
Whenever someone starts offering savings tips, one of the first things they say is to reduce eating out. But the key to building savings is being realistic. Chances are you will not cut out eating out entirely. So perhaps begin with preparing breakfast and taking it with you – saving N500 to N1,200, and ensuring you put that money aside – and see how the money begins to add up.
Some simple savings ideas
Pay off your debts early and save on interest repayments
Buy Groceries in bulk at wholesale prices and save .
Turn off the lights. We are all aware of the power situation and its ensuing high cost. It’s not just the environment that benefits when you save energy by turning off lights when you’re not using them – your wallet will too. Don’t forget to switch computers and televisions off, rather than leaving them on stand-by. A plasma screen on stand-by draws as much power as your fridge! And speaking of fridges, if you’re running a second, old one in the garage, switch if off when you don’t need it. You’ll notice the difference in your power bills.
Check your bank statements. Nobody said this saving money thing would be exciting, but the few boring minutes you spend going over your bank statements can find you some cash. Check your fees . Every time you pay with your credit or debit card you are also charged a fee. Did you pay your credit card late last month? You are paying a late fee! We spend a lot of money simply through disorganisation. Getting on top of our paperwork can really add up. Also check which banks will give you the best rates – some don’t charge you for every transaction and only charge you a monthly fee.
Save money each month. Earmark some money for your savings account. A big lump sum can really help if you are saving for a home.