You see, I am a frugal person, but that doesn’t mean I have always had control over where my money goes. It got so bad in 2015 that I knew I had to change something in 2016.!
I noticed this after I calculated how much my company was paying me every year, how much I thought I was spending and how much I was actually saving and I couldn’t account for the difference. My finances were not making sense.
That was when I realized I had to take some basic financial steps to correct this. This is a pretty long list and i had a longer one but i decided to blog about the steps i actually took so I can proudly say I learned from experience. I didn’t do every activity at once o.. but I tried most of it in 2016 and will retry it in 2017.
Let’s get to it:
- Getting some Financial education. I took courses on Coursera and skillshare on personal finance which really helped me to plan and budget.
- Getting a financial journal.: There are finance journals in the market but I’m writing a post soon on how to create one from a blank book which is what I did.
- Sowing: this works, whether you are religious or not. When you give you tend to get back. The universe always rewards. I don’t understand how and why this works but it does…
- Read books: I purchased a-z of personal finance by Mrs Nimi Akinkugbe, read a friends copy of Smart Money woman by Arese Ugu, rules of wealth, pocketbook for believers etc. I got more practical education from these.
- Read Articles and watched videos online: I scoured the internet to find as many articles and blogs on personal finance as I could find. Arese had videos on Ndani Tv, and Guardian Life, Mrs. Akinkugbe has a radio show on Smooth FM and was very active online. Gary talks about business and marketing, Ted talks, Interviews with successful people, etc… I did it all.
- Invest: I never understood investing until finished smart money woman by Arese and I started asking people questions. I met QueenAnne on a Tour organized by Social prefect and step obi and she graciously added me to an accountability WhatsApp group, now I have multiple streams of investments. She told me about a company called farmcrowdy. I am also investing in livestock at a family members farm (use what you have) I just pay the farm keeper and visit once in a while to check. I decided to research more and ask more questions, and now I have some other investment options that you can start even if you earn only minimum wage, see some more ideas here .. 🙂 I really recommend this post about investing no matter what you have in Nigeria.
- Have a Passive source of income or a side hustle I serve as a creative director/ financer/ executor with some of my friend’s companies, I run Ybarn and YS as my side hustles. You can create a side hustle by selling products, your skills or just monetizing your hobbies small scale. It helps with so many things apart from your finances. You gain skills, better self-esteem and who knows a new job.
- Separate your accounts: I actively use 2 bank accounts 1 connected to an Atm the other to a mobile App. I also have accounts I cant withdraw from except its an emergency. This means I don’t have access to all my money at once.
- Savings: I save in 2 ways.
- PiggyBank.ng: I use Piggybank.ng to save. and I recommend it. Piggy bank is just an online kolo. Find a separate post on this here.
- Target Accounts: If you stay in Nigeria and you have a GTB account, you can save using a target account. A target account is basically an account that is connected to your name but not connected to your ATM. You have to go to the bank or go through the web version of the internet banking platform to withdraw from that account into your main account before you can spend the money. Most banks have this option now so you can just ask your account officer.
10) Mutual Funds and Investment Solutions: these are financial services that help you invest your money in other things like bonds, stocks etc. at very little risks to you. I used the GTB Investment 1 at some point, I have also tried solutions from First Bank and Stanbic IBTC (Nigeria). There are different packages and the ones I have tried are the myPass and Medview scheme. you can look here for more details and select what suits you best.
11. Use your smart Phone to document. I mean actually use it for the smart things its able to do. Take pictures of your receipts. Download finance apps and apps that help you save. I use over 5 finance apps that do different things and I try as much as possible to document my purchases and take pictures of my receipts using these apps. Documenting your purchase ensures you are not broke by Mistake as you can see how your account balance is reducing and what is reducing it. I haven’t found an app I especially prefer but would do a review of the ones I have tried.
12) Take advantage of Deals, group buying, coupons, and discounts. There’s almost no good that’s sold in retail that never goes on sale. why pay full price now when you can pay half later. search Dealdey and online stores regularly for deals. If you are a corper or Government worker, you have access to low-cost goods and services and can even pay in installments. However, you should be careful of installment payments as that can be a form of bondage if you buy the wrong product.
13) do you know about PVC: it’s your pensions voluntary contribution. This is kinda exclusive to Nigeria and I don’t know how it works in other countries but its similar to a tax rebate. This is my best tip so far so stay with me. You know if you work a 9-5, your employer is mandated to pay tax and a pension contribution from your salary on your behalf, whether you like it or not. Do you also know that your pension contribution may not be taxed? How can you take advantage of this? You can ask your finance guy/lady in the office to take part of your salary, just a little bit more say 30% and add to your pension fund. That 30% taken out of your salary isn’t taxed. If you do this for a while, you get to save money FOR YOUR RETIREMENT or for when you become unemployed and get to earn part of your tax back. It’s an easy way to earn more and save more at once and don’t give me the side eye, you are not cheating the government it is perfectly legal. Ask your PFA. (Pension Fund Administrator)
14) save in Forex: as much as you can. I remember early last year when the black market rate of the dollar to Naira went up to 270 from 200 and I was almost in tears. Someone told me to still exchange my money at that rate and I refused. After some weeks I went to the bank and the rate was 310 and I grudgingly exchanged most of my savings. It was honestly very painful and I didn’t want to do it. In my mind then, I thought the exchange rate was still going to stabilize. Thank God for wise counsel. At the time of this post, the black market rate is 500 Naira to a dollar and it is still going up.
I think what helped me best was asking questions, I asked and I received. I asked the most unusual people, experts, church members, hairdressers etc. and I was able to pick out different things from different people.
So if you have money issues or even any issues, just ask.
I might even do a part 2 of this post with more things I plan to do this year. Let me know if you want a Part 2.
What Financial goals are you setting for yourself this year? How do you plan to save? How do you plan to make more money?
Do you have any ideas that have worked for you?
Why don’t you share in the comment section below…