It is not a secret that being Nigerian is already a minus for anyone in life. It’s almost like the hardships and lack of economic growth sets you up for failure. You finally get a job with a lot of responsibilities yet you are paid the most basic salary.
You find that you have very little after rent, transportation and feeding. Worse, the work is so stressful you necessarily have to unwind. But the moment you let yourself unwind, you find yourself living paycheque to paycheque – with no savings.
Even when they follow the best financial advice, it really is a struggle to save and pursue your dream for the future. But…truth be told, saving money doesn’t happen by accident. Rather, it takes effort, practice, and the mastery of some slightly unconventional yet practical money-saving skills to help you get there. These skills can help you track your money, save more, and spend less – and who doesn’t want that?
First, cut down on eating out. Nigerians love to eat out. Yes, your social life doesn’t have to suffer for you to save money. But eating out every day will deal a major blow to your bank account. It could be as simple as the Moi-Moi woman down the street or the local Mama Put behind your office.
Yes, you want to join in on the Sunday brunches with colleagues; you want to prove to your Nigerian girlfriend, who loves fancy food, that you are enough for her. You also want to order from ‘The Place’ like your colleagues; instead of bringing something homemade or buying from the lady across the road and being “stingy” or “low-class”.
But if you are concerned with upgrading your financial status, you will have to skip these splurges. They seem small, but actually, they accumulate and take a toll on your finances. You will be surprised to find out that sometimes, the cost of the daily take-out is what; over time, separates the rich dude from another dude on the wrong side of the thin money line.
Another thing you have to be wary about as a Nigerian is shopping. When shopping – whether online or in-store, apply a 30-day rule. The rule simply implies that you wait 30 days after your first serious impulse before buying the expensive item; no matter how essential you think it is.
Waiting 30-days give you enough time for research and to ascertain the impact it could have on you financially; and whether you even really want it or not. Sometimes we are deluded by brief fascination. Thereafter, we end up spending a lot of money on something that we will never use; and which may not improve our lives in any way.
The 30-day rule gives you the time to come back to reality and make a sane decision.
Basically, track your sending and take manual savings actions. Get a true picture of where your money goes every day by keeping track of your monthly cash flow. This is basically your income minus your expenditures. This will also make it easier to mark progress toward your saving goal.
Next, try to empty your pockets each day and start collecting that extra change. Then take your collection to the bank and put it directly into your savings account instead of your checking account. When you want to watch your spending, use Naira cash instead of credit cards. Trust me, it is harder to part with cold, hard cash.
Finally, as impossible as it may seem, try and set a practical monthly budget. Try the 50/30/20 budget for smart money management. Devote 50% of your income to necessities, 30% to wants and 20% to savings. If you find one of your allocations exceeds these percentages, make some adjustments to fit the formula.
Can you think of other practical ways to save while being a Nigerian in Nigeria?