The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, self denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains the forethought, and in so doing broaden the mind” Saving is not a new practice in short it has existed as long as man. Since the beginning of time men have always stored extra food, money or clothes for the rainy days. But in this article we will look at savings from the monetary aspect.
How then do we define savings? Since we will be talking about monetary savings, I will like to limit the definition to cash and solid funds. Savings therefore can be seen as a reserved amount of money kept and regularly added on to aid in solving unforeseen situations or aid in financing future dealings and projects. Savings entails sacrifice and maybe that is why it brings rewards. Those that save always have. If tomorrow you lose your job or business you know you can survive until the situation improves or you start another business. However, those that do not save… You are going to learn about this as you continue reading.
It is quite unfortunate how some people complain about being financially unstable, yet they use their last savings to acquire meaningless material things. As Nigerians, there are certain factors that make people not to save and these factors are born out of poor financial attitudes and characters. Some of which are explained below:
Saving what is left after spending: Most Nigerians save what is left after they have finished their shopping, grocery buying and luxury getting. This attitude encourages little or no saving at all. It is only proper as a principle of saving to spend what is left after saving and not the other way round. Discipline yourself and live strictly on a budget if you want to save diligently.
Always saying yes to lending money: We are humans and are emotionally moved by pity to help people who come begging for monetary help. That in itself is not bad but to be able to save diligently and consistently, you must place a limit to the monetary help you offer to people. You may be wondering what you are saving for if you cannot be a help to people around you. Look at it from this perspective; you will be able to help the people around you better when you have gathered enough and have gotten a way to get it multiplied. To save, you have to make decisions that will hurt you and the people around you. Remember the popular quote that states “no pain no gain”
Spending your income and salary before it even gets to you: Most Nigerians make a full salary spending budget even before they are paid and thus when they eventually get paid they use the money to settle debts or pay for already budgeted items which most of the times are totally useless and serves only momentary pleasures. These among others are the attitude behind the poor saving character in Nigeria. Others include Lack of contentment thereby spending more to get less, fake living and excess debt.
After seeing the attitudes that dampens saving spirit what then are the do’s to maintain a consistent and diligent saving practice?
The first and most important thing to do is to eliminate your debts: When you are trying to save money but still owe a large debt burden, you need to start by paying off your debts. Add up your debt and the interest you pay on the debt each month when you do the math you discover that the money you pay on the interest each month if it were saved it would have amounted to a lot of cash.
Set your goals: Intuitively we all will agree that saving is good but most of us do not tie our savings to big goals. If you don’t set goals to achieve with your savings, you will continue to be a consumer of every product in the market. Every restaurant, clothing, accessories and food store out there is trying to have a slice of your pocket to fulfill their own dreams.
Become a good negotiator: No skillin the world will save you money as the power of negotiation. Most atimes we call it pricing. Learning this skill in the economical world saves you more cash and in the long run make you spend less buying more.
Consider opening a fixed deposit account: Most Nigerians are operating a savings account and this account has been given a free access to the money stored therein and by so doing encourages much more spending rather than saving. Therefore if you want to be a consistent and a disciplined fund saver, you are advised to open a fixed deposit account so as to restrict easy access to your money and in addition give you a higher interest rate than the basic savings or transactional account.
It will take us a long while to exhaust the right attitudes to adopt for efficient saving but basically the ones enlisted above are the most essential of them all. Other attitudes to adopt for efficient saving includes: recording your expenses so as to curtail unnecessary spending, choose something to save for don’t save blindly and importantly buy your goods and needful items in bulk as this will help you potentially save money on your essential needs every month.
Let us then take a ride into the beautiful world that saving creates. The practice of saving has saved a lot of people embarrassment and made a lot of people optimistic about the future when it comes to matters relating to funds. Saving provides a financial “backstop” for life uncertainties and thereby creating self reliance. Let us then look at the blessings associated with saving:
Gives financial freedom: Accumulated savings gives you peace of mind and helps one to enjoy financial freedom because you will become a reservoir of yourself knowing that there is a buffer that can be used if you need funds urgently unlike those that do not save they become stuck financially when any unexpected event arises.
Saving definitely serves as a cushion against lost of job or in a situation where there is a halt in economic activities: Taking as illustration the pandemic the world is going through, many workers have lost their jobs and some workers losing their place in the labor market. Saving therefore serves as a great cushion of comfort to those who have been wise to save.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to teach their children from a very tender age the life changing practice of saving by so doing, it will foster self reliance and independence in teenagers and by the time they become fully grown adults, they will be consistent in saving. Matt Becker penned “saving gives you an opportunity to live your life on your own terms”.
What then happens when you choose not to save money? Choosing not to save money is a dangerous road full of financial regrettable consequences some of which are:
You become a slave to debt: When you refuse to save, you will always borrow to solve unexpected events when they arise and by so doing drowning in debt instead of planning for the future. At a point people will get tired of always lending you money and then you are back to the root of pain and depression.
You need to keep working till you die: Failure to save drafts your life as a worker for life to survive. You will not be able to stop working because you have no funds to survive on when you retire or leave work in your old age. Make a life changing decision to start saving today so your future self will thank the sacrifices you made now.
You reach retirement age with no reasonable money in the bank: When you fail to save, you retire from a well paid job with little or no money to sustain you even a year not to mention through your remaining life a retiree. This therefore leaves you stranded and still working small jobs to survive even during your retirement period.
Unprepared for financial emergencies and major life events: Financial emergencies are a fact of life. One moment you think everything is great and then, boom, your car breaks down or someone falls ill. When you don’t make it a point of duty to save, you are setting yourself for a rough financial regret.
The ugly fact remains that once you refuse to safe, you become financially dependent, always depending on someone to lend you help to solve your financial problems. Borrowing money to solve your problems does not actually solve them but puts you in a position where you always borrow to solve your monetary issues thereby leaving you swimming in circles in the pool of debt. The reality is that saving is very hard. The art is not making money but in keeping it. Saving is an essential part of planning a prosperous future. Prioritize saving before spending. Never buy what you don’t need because it is cheap it will cost you more than you know. Remember that rich people stay rich by living like they are broke and broke people stay broke by living like they are rich.
Do the math and see how much even a little amount of money will sum up to when you save:
N100 daily=N36,000 N1,500 daily=N549,000
N200 daily=N73,200 N2,000 daily=N732,000
N300 daily=N109,800 N2,500 daily=N915,000
N500 daily=N183,000 N3,000 daily=N1,095,000
Close with this: Until you are in the habit of it, saving money is easier said than done. But as you begin to grow in your habit of saving, you will find an improvement in your overall self-discipline. Its not how much you make each month that matters it is how much you save along with the flexibility and time outside work that you have.
Save diligently today and spend lavishly in the future.
Written by – Sanity Rex (Writer with 4wardwego)