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I culled this article from Jobberman’s website and it contains a lot of helpful tips that will be useful for salary earners, who live from paycheck to paycheck. Y’all know how difficult it is living that way especially when you don’t have a side business. So please do read and act accordingly.
It is not a coincidence that most individuals equate having a good job with an opportunity to save more of their earnings. For those who belong to this school of thought, a good job is also expected to translate into the ability to transit into an improved lifestyle and of course, the financial capacity to plan for things like a new car, investing in a startup or even a vacation to a dream destination.
Sadly, all of these depend largely on how much of your monthly income you are able to set aside as an employee and how disciplined you are towards sticking to your monthly budget.
The biggest challenge for most salary earners is sticking to the monthly plan as it directly affects other projected plans for the month.
In this article, we will focus on specific things you need to do to successfully save more of your earnings on a monthly basis.
Steps to Saving More of Your Salary After Payday
- Draw out clear goals
- Understand that one bank account will not work
- Keep track of your expenses
- Build a budget and monitor it
- Where have you been shopping
- Acknowledge the H2O rule
- Exercise caution when using your ATM card
- Put a cost to your time
- Pick four banks
- Embrace Delayed Gratification
- Avoid impulsive online purchase
- Place Savings Before Spending
- Eat More Home-Made Meals
- Review your housing plan
- Consider Buying Used Items
- Find Something on the Side
- Slash Cable TV Budget
- Spend less on Transportation
Draw Out Clear Goals
There’s no better time to spell out what your saving goals are for the month than the beginning of the month. It is crucial to understand that the how you intend to spend your salary is as important as the salary itself.
Also, ask yourself realistic questions. What are you saving for? Is it achievable? It is also important to put actual timelines to these targets you have set. These would serve as a source of motivation.
Understand that one Bank Account Will Not Work
As clearly as you know that holding your breath under water for 10 minutes will not work, running one bank account as a means of saving more of your income will not be a wise move. The biggest threat to money saved is the temptation to spend it.
Therefore, if for instance, you have a salary account, you would be able to save more after pay day if you open a separate account. This is the point where you decide which of the accounts you want to use for your daily transactions and which you want to set aside for your savings.
In a situation where you find yourself dipping your hands into your savings for emergencies, then you might want to get a third account and keep it strictly for emergencies. That way, your savings enjoys the peace it deserves.
Keep Track of Your Expenses
Whatever happens, you have to keep track of your expenses. One easy way to that is to come up with a rating system. For instance, if you earn N100,000 monthly and plan to save 60% of your salary monthly, draw up a rating system. Say, at the end of the month, you end up saving only 10% of your income, be honest enough to score yourself an F9. However, if at the end of the month, you discover that you have saved 60% or even 65% of your earnings, then you deserve an A1 rating. So, what’s your rating for this month going to read – A1 or F9?
Build a Budget and Monitor it
If you are planning to save a percentage of your earning, then you should have a budget and please bear in mind that your budget should include everything you spend money on monthly; even money spent on airtime for your mobile device and money you set aside for charity.
This is not the kind of budget that you carry around in your head; you have to write it out or have it typed out in a document where you can look through it as frequently as you need to. Write out how much your disposable income is on a monthly basis and how much you intend to save. Also write out every single item or service that you pay for; right from the salon to the restaurant and others. In other words, ensure everything is covered; every single thing.
It is however, crucial that you monitor your budget. In situations where you record expenses that were not initially included in the budget, include them in the budget under review and make plans for such recurrence. Regardless of what comes up, a portion of your salary needs to be saved.
Where Have You Been Shopping?
Do you find yourself indulging in impulsive shopping? Well, now is the time to put a stop to it. Where you shop is just as vital as what you are buying. I once bought a portable wardrobe at a shop close to my residence at N11,400 and after a few months, it began to fall apart mainly because I overloaded it. So, I needed to get a new one and decided to go to a wholesale store where I could get it cheaper as I was working on saving more money. I found a store about an hour drive from where I reside and got the same wardrobe for N4,000. Lesson learnt.
Acknowledge the H2O Rule
How much water do you drink? Truth is, water remains one of the healthiest fluids on the planet. Even better, it helps you save quite a lot more money than you would have believed was possible.
For instance, if you gulp down a big cup of water before a meal, it helps you eat less and keeps you fuller for a longer spell of time. You want to know the best part? It’s free or very affordable (as the case may be) if you’re not into drinking water from the tap.
In essence, drinking more water means you’ll be spending less or alcohol, juice and beverages in general. To make things even more interesting, you’ll find yourself saving more as you’ll be eating less.
By drinking more water, you flush out toxins, get rid of waste via sweat and urination, removes by-products of fat, raise your metabolism and helps fight against colds, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks. The point is that you are healthier and you are able to save more of your salary.
Did you know that water has zero calories?
Exercise caution when using your ATM card
Your debit card or ATM card (Automated Teller Machine) could prove to be a lifesaver in more than a few situations. However, without caution and discipline, it ensures you stay poor. Why? Simple! You keep spending the money you have saved. Be reminded that getting a debit card costs money. I received a N1,000 debit alert from my bank last week for requesting for an ATM card.
Carrying an ATM card has a strong potential to leave you with far less than you planned to save at the end of the month. Here’s what you should do – Get an ATM card for your operational account; the one with your disposable income. For your savings account, avoid the debit card as much as you can. The stronger you can resist the urge to get one, the safer your savings will be.
Carrying an ATM card for your savings account is a bad idea.
A study has shown that by carrying a debit card, you are likely to spend 12% more on average. Reason is simple. It is an easier way to spend money.
Put a Cost to Your Time
If you have never had to calculate your hourly rate, then now is the time to do it. Break it down. For instance, if your net salary is N80,000 and you work from 9:00am to 5:00pm between Mondays and Fridays, this means you work for 8 hours daily, 40 hours weekly and roughly 160 hours monthly. Going by this figure, the hard fact is that you earn N500 for every hour you work. So, if for instance, you want to see a movie in Lagos, let’s break it down – A ticket costs N1,500. Popcorn costs N600. A drink costs N300 while a cup of ice cream is pegged at N600. All together, seeing a movie would cost you N3,000, which translates into 6 hours of work. At this point, you then decide if you still want to go ahead with the movie. If you feel it is worth it, feel free to proceed. If however, you think otherwise, take a walk knowing you made a sound financial decision within your monthly budget.
Pick Four Banks
At a glance, this sounds like a lot of work; having four bank accounts. However, it’s a strategy that will work if you have extremely long term plans for your savings and this is how it will work.
First of all, pick four banks that you really like and open four bank accounts. Next step is to break them down into A, B, C and D. Below is the breakdown:
“A” represents Activities: This account is dedicated to things I want and not necessarily things need. This account fuels things like shopping or hanging out with friends. This is the account that you should link your debit card to help you fight the urge to overshoot your monthly budget for this. When you think about having fun, this is the account that should come to mind to take care of that. Any unspent money in this account at the end of the month should be transferred to another account. Endeavour to check this account from time to time to see how much you have left for fun at any given time of the month. The golden rule to this is to never overshoot this budget. If you exhaust the budget for fun, turn your attention to either indoor or outdoor games. Did you know that you can cut back on your fun expenses if you ever feel more aggressive about saving more of your salary.
“B” represents Bills: Regardless of your lifestyle, you will have bills to pay and this is the account that should be dedicated to that. Without mincing words, this account is all about business. You use this to take care of recurring bills like airtime, rent, electricity bills, refilling the gas. If you can, this should be the account tied to your salary account to enable you transfer to other accounts based on your budget and savings plan.
“C” represents Crisis: We all have that moment when something suddenly pops up that we didn’t pop up. They are called emergencies and this is precisely what this account should be created for. You can start with 5% of your income and gradually add a percentage or two over the next few months. Basically, it is for things you didn’t plan for; like a money gift for your sibling who just had a baby or money spend to get a police report and affidavit after getting robbed on your way to work. There is a need to spell out a primary savings goal for your crisis account. For instance, you can set a primary target of 60% of your monthly income and spread it over three months. This means if you earn N200,000, you save N40,000 monthly. In three months, you would have N120,000. You can pedal down afterwards and shift your attention to another savings account; like the one discussed in subsequent lines.
“D” represents Dream: This account should be tied to things like a dream vacation, your plan to pamper yourself with an affordable SUV or a long term plan to buy a house in Nigeria; especially one that you want to save towards. You should bear in mind that this is not an account for emergencies of any kind. It is simply an account where you want to keep your money for important things. The secret to this strategy is to split your major savings between the Crisis Account and the Dream Account to help you monitor your savings efficiently.
Another advantage of the crisis and Dream accounts is that they motivate you to save more every month. As explained earlier, after you meet your primary target for the Crisis Account, you can channel more of your savings here. However, bear in mind that you still have to save into the Crisis Account; maybe not as aggressively until there is a need to. Also, if you have a situation that sees you dipping into the Crisis Account, you must build it back to the primary target.
For the Dream Account, spend some time to seek out banks with higher interest rates.
Embrace Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification refers to when you resist a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later. So, for instance, if someone offers to sell you a new pair of shoes or a really nice wristwatch, wait for a clear 48 hours before you make a decision on whether to buy or not. This gives you sufficient time to decide if this is something you need or something you want. If you work with this strategy, you’ll end up not buying quite a number of things you originally wanted to buy. There’s always something to buy. The TV and internet are riddled with advertisements of products and services we love.
Avoid impulsive online purchase
It’s getting easier to buy things you want online compared to making the money needed to buy them. Online stores like Konga and Jumia being two of the biggest culprits here. To shop online, the best way to go about it is to save your money from the beginning of the year till the end of the year, which coincides with time of the year when stores commence their annual discounted sales; especially the Black Friday Sales. If you have to shop, plan your shopping online and ahead of time. Impulsive shopping should be considered a glaring threat to your ability to save.
Place Savings before Spending
One of the wrong ways to go about saving from your monthly earning is to save what is left after your spending. No! That won’t work. If you truly desire to see the account balance of your savings account going up on a monthly basis, you have to save first and then spend what is left after you have saved. If you insist on spending and then saving what is left, the chances of having anything left are quite slim.
Eat More Home-Made Meals
Eating home-made meals helps you save more money. Dining out is one of the biggest pitfalls to saving for people. With some level of planning and discipline, it’s a habit that will yield results and save you more money. You can start by buying affordable foodstuff at home. If you have a refrigerator, possibilities get even more exciting for your dining habits.
Come up with a weekly plan for your meals and remember that eating well shouldn’t be limited to eating at restaurants all week long. It’s actually fine to eat out occasionally but when it becomes a daily habit, the figures begin to build up much faster than you would have thought was possible.
Researchhas shown that meals sold at restaurants cost at more than what a meal cooked at home would have cost. In a studyconducted by the University of California, it was found that individuals making $60,000 (not the poor) are most likely to visit fast food chains. The more expensive the restaurant, the higher the figure shoots up.
Review your housing plan
The truth is that the rules of saving must be modified based on your lifestyle. For instance, where do you reside? Let’s take a closer look at this. Let us assume that you reside in a 2 bedroom flat that costs you N300,000 annually, the next question is how much is your monthly income? Let us put your net at N160,000. For accommodation, the best saving plan is that which revolves around saving 25% of your income or less. Back to our example, if you save 25% of your income, that would be N40,000 on a monthly basis. If you save this for a year, that’s N480,000, which covers your next rent; with a clear N180,000 extra. This helps put the percentage of your saving that should be saved for rent in proper perspective.
If you own a home, you might consider saving for other purposes like investments; depending largely on what your needs are.
Consider Buying Used Items
You would be amazed how much you are able to save when you buy used items instead of new ones and there are several places to get these in Nigeria. We are talking about used furniture, electronics, fashion items and accessories and even cars. If you’re buying a used car, ensure you get a mechanic to inspect the vehicle before you pay for it. Same goes for electronics and other items that can be tested.
Find Something on the Side
Not a lot of people would say no to an opportunity to make extra money. Multiple streams of income help you plan better as this translates into income and as you might have guessed, more money to save.
Slash Cable TV Budget
Rather than budgeting a chunk of your income on expensive cable TV subscriptions, you can actually seek out alternatives. At the moment, DSTV premium package goes for N13,980 while its Access (over 45 channels) and Family packages (over 55 digital TV channels) go for N1,800 and N3,600 respectively per month each.
However, if you spend less time watching TV, you could free up the money you allocate to cable TV subscription. Also, you could put the free time to better use by acquiring skills that propel you closer to a promotion at work or even a salary raise.
Spend less on Transportation
Did you know that by referring your friends to take Uber rides in Nigeria, you get free rides. I have a friend who have taken over N50,000 worth of Uber rides. Of course, she has saved a whole lot of money that would have been spent on commercial cabs. Also, those short distances that you can cover with a stroll should not be replaced with a ride in a tricycle. If you take a tricycle worth N100 to a salon and back home three times a week like me, then you would have spent N1,200 in a month and N14,400 in a year. You could have saved that with a stroll.
To master the art of saving more of your salary after payday, you need to draw up a budget. This helps you control what you spend.
Thank you for reading; Kindly let me know which of these strategies work for you.