Saving a lot of money in Nigeria seems nearly impossible when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, especially when you’re trying to get off this cycle.
The only way to save more money is to increase your earning capacity or so it seems. Increasing your stream of income or earning capacity to save more is a good idea but it may not be the solution to the problem of saving.
Spending on a low income usually comes with a lot of consideration, hence the need for budgeting.
Let me be real with you, budgeting can be difficult. When the money comes, all of your money troubles surface, fighting for your attention.
We’re going to be focusing on the benefits of budgeting while trying to save on a low-income stream. We’re also going to be looking at tips on spending less and imbibing the habit of budgeting.
Before I go any further, I’d like to explain what budgeting entails. Budgeting simply is structuring how your money is to be spent before the money even comes. More like creating a plan in the allocation of your income.
Budgeting isn’t limited to low-income earners. High-income earners can also budget. Budgeting is being prudent with your money.
Budgeting helps you with the following:
- Gives you an idea of your current financial situation, which can help you avoid debts.
- Helps you save and guides you in your spending
- Helps you determine if you’ve got enough resources to pursue your desires
- Helps you know what your money is being used for
Budgeting can be done even if you’re on a low income and it can be a total gamechanger for your finances.
Below are few tips on how to budget on a low income:
- Monitor/track your expenses
Tracking or monitoring your expenses when you’re trying to save money on a low income cannot be overemphasised. It is an absolute necessity. You can’t save effectively if you’re unaware of where your money is going.
Start today! if you’ve never thought of tracking your expenses, then you should seriously consider it. I’d suggest you track it for a month.
If you do it for a month, you’d be able to see the direction in which your money is being channelled to. This would also give you an idea of how to effectively budget your income.
2. Analyze your expenses
First of all, you need to know how much goes into your expenses per month, then you’re going to use that information. You should pinpoint where you spent way more than you should and consciously work to cut your expenses in that area. Frugality doesn’t just start overnight, it requires one small change after another.
3. Cut off from your budget
It is possible to cut from some budgeted item without feeling it.
- Insurance providers (for those of you insured)
If you’re still stuck to one provider for years, you’ve been losing the money you should have been saving. Some of these providers provide the same service and even better for less. You should learn to explore your options. You’re can save thousands by doing this.
- Unnecessary subscriptions can be cut off e.g gym subscriptions.
- You can reduce your electricity cost by switching to LED light bulbs
- It won’t kill you to walk a little, you mustn’t always be jumping bikes, tricycles and buses
- You mustn’t do DSTV premium, how many channels can you watch at a time.
4. Set financial goals
Its easier to budget if you’ve got some goals. You may be asking; “What kind of goals can I set?” Below are a few examples
- Set aside x% into a savings account monthly
- At the end of the year, x should be saved
- Increase income by x% at the year’s end
- Save x for the new car
All of these seem vague, but you can make them unique to you. It doesn’t matter what financial goals you set for yourself. What matters is that you set a financial goal, it should be written down somewhere and it should be achievable. Don’t set a goal that’s beyond your income.
5. Develop a side hustle
Try to find another stream of income on the side. Something you can do during your free time, that doesn’t affect your full-time job. A side hustle can channel in more money to your budget and consequently increase your savings.
6. Have free fun
You can have fun without spending much. You can set up dates in your home all you need to do is get creative.
7. Your focus should be on saving not spending
One way to do this is feeding your savings account first when your income comes and let the remnant be for your monthly expenditure.