9 money-saving tips to help crush your budget goals.
While you may not have control over the economy, you do have control over the money decisions that you take. In this article, financial therapist, Tolu Eweniyi shares tips on how to make smart money choices and crush your budget goals. Tolulope Eweniyi is an Investment Expert, Forex Trader and a Chartered Accountant. IG & Twitter Handle: @nictees Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The present state of the economy is a loud wakeup call for you to change your money habits, cut back on unnecessary expenses wherever possible, and save more. Saving money can aid your decision to start investing, save for personal development, build your emergency funds, or even save for a vacation. For example, simply saving as low as N5000 in a week from your salary or businesses adds up to N260,000 in a year. It’s incredible how few simple and effective changes you make to your finances can lead to big savings. The best time to start saving is now, and it gets easier (or addictive). “Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffet Tips: #1 Create/Rearrange your budget Begin by asking yourself these questions: ● What have I been spending on recently? ● Can I account for or track all my expenses? ● Have I been living up to my budget? ● Can I show evidence of what I have been spending on? ● Have I been saving? ● What do I need to improve on? Take a few minutes to answer these questions! If you’ve been able to truthfully answer the questions above and it’s not satisfying, then you need a game plan – to rearrange your budget or create a new one. With budgeting, it’s easier to keep track of and categorize your spending so you know where you can make adjustments. This will help you identify what you are spending on the most and where it might be easiest to cut back to save. #2 Automate Your Savings Automating Savings is a type of personal savings system in which the plan contributor (eg. PiggyVest) automatically deposits a fixed amount of your funds/money at specified intervals (daily, weekly or monthly) into a largely inaccessible account. Think about how it would feel if you woke up every day knowing that your money is automatically going where it’s supposed to, while you spend less time managing your finances but still dominating it! Is it time to automate? Yes. Especially if: ● the manual way of saving is not of much help to you ● you are an entrepreneur or on a monthly salary ● your saving contributions can be a bit unpredictable ● you are extravagant and lack savings discipline ● you are constantly tempted to take your savings out of your bank account By automating your savings, you can make money management and reaching your savings target much easier. #3 Move Any Unspent Money to Your Savings The whole point of budgeting is to avoid living from salary to salary. You need to understand how much you can survive on, monthly or weekly, try to cut your expenses, stick to it, and hopefully have something extra at the end. Any extra income you have before your payday should be moved to your savings account. Then, you start another cycle of budgeting. It might sound boring, but this trick not only shows how better you are at budgeting but it better motivates you to keep the numbers increasing and manage your expenses. #4 Buy in Bulk Another simple and effective way to save is to buy some items in bulk. Buying in bulk is a great money-saving strategy that you should factor into your budgeting and spending if you can. Items like your toothpaste, tissue towels, stationaries, diapers, cleaning materials and some non-perishable food items can be bought in bulk, making them relatively cheaper. To save more doing this, you can also pay attention to discounts or compare prices when shopping to increase long-term savings. #5 Use a Spending Journal “Give every Naira a name on paper before you get your salary, so it won’t all be gone in a week”. There’s something about writing down each of your expenses or income. It gives you a wider perspective around your spending and income. Trust me, it works. A spending journal or diary can be a book or an app you have with you always to document every single expenditure you make daily over a period, say a month. This will help you figure out where your money is going and where to cut back on excess spending because you will be documenting every transaction. The more you do this, the more you’re able to save each month. #6 Pay Off Your Debt I think everyone at one point or the other has found themselves in either small or big debts; it’s not uncommon. But to hack the trick of saving, you need to pay up those debts. The interest on debt can compound to thousands or millions of Naira, so paying off the debt will save you so much because you aren’t wasting money on interest. A quick approach to getting out of debt is to cut your spending. This seems hard but it’s inevitable. #7 Cancel Subscriptions This is quite hard, but it’s amazing how quickly few subscriptions can add up. From Netflix to HBO to Spotify/Apple Music and so many others; and before you know it, you’ve built up so many expenses. The key to saving better is cutting your budget wherever possible, no matter how small the amount. You find out these expenses you’re cutting back on can help build your emergency fund. #8 Hangout on a Budget or For Free I understand how important socializing is but is it possible to spend less money, save and still see your friends? Yes, it is. You can enjoy your hangouts while still maintaining a budget. You need to find fun budget-friendly activities to do, and this can save you quite a bit of cash. Examples of cost-saving activities are games/movie night, indoor lunch or dinner, fun events like karaoke, truth or dare, card games, concentration-concentration, charades, etc. You can also Google fun things to do and input whatever city you are in, and you’ll have all kinds of suggestions. #9 Zero your Money out Every Evening This is quite interesting and can sound elementary, but it works and it’s also easy. Every evening, you must decide to zero out your unspent money. So, let’s assume after a days’ work, you end your account balance with: ₦42,600 available on your bank account. What you should do: Deduct the last three or four digits from each number to get a zero at the end. It’s easier to zero out your balance into your savings account. For example: N42,600 — N2,600 = 42,000 — → N2,600 goes to your savings account. As simple as this trick might be, it helps you to control your spending and save. Give it a try! Your truly, Happy Economist. About the author: Hope Ibiale is a creative writer, poet and editor. She loves reading and listening to music. When she is not day dreaming about getting married to Johnny Drille, you will find her watching her favorite horror movies. You can reach out to her on IG and Twitter @hopeibiale