If you are living in Nigeria you would know that it is a country with significant economic challenges, a high rate of unemployment and biting inflation. Add these to the mediocre amount most jobs pay as salary in this country you can begin to imagine how difficult it can be to save money at the end of the month.
But is the idea of cutting down on expenses and saving at least some bucks an impossible one? Not really. With proper planning and by being more organized, it is possible to save money from your income or salary.
From my research, we have discovered that the key to saving money in the Nigerian economy is the willingness to pick up the saver’s lifestyle, an understanding of the tips and strategies that make it easier to save some of what you earn, and the discipline to stick to these strategies.
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Fireproof Ways To Save Money Every Month in the Nigerian Economy
You can save if you can do away with certain poor financial habits. There could be tons of ways to achieve this, but here I want to share with you some of the most effective ways to save money and I hope you find them really helpful!
1. Have the Saver’s Mindset
My sister would always say that saving is a mindset, and if your mind is not ready to save, it would never happen. If you do not have the mindset, money-saving tips or frugal living that you read won’t work for you.
Whether you want to save money to invest in a business, or to have some money in your account in case of necessities, etc., it all begins with having the right mindset towards savings.
The first step is to learn to save and make it your principle!
2. Write Your Goals Down
“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal. You have a wish” – Steve Maraboli
The simple act of writing down a goal is a major step towards accomplishing it. When you can see what you want to accomplish, it changes how you act. You now have direction and clarity. You are more likely to be productive if you can pinpoint how achieving the goal will transform your life.
There’s no better time to write out what your saving goals are for the month than after the credit alert comes from the bank. In other words, what you want to do with your salary is just as important as the salary itself.
3. Carefully Draft Out Your Budget
“Behind every successful savings plan is a carefully outlined budget.” – Anon
Budgeting amongst a host of other benefits, helps you assess your expenditure based on the order of priority, and find the middle ground between spending and saving money across a whole year.
By going through your credit card statements, banks statements, bills, and receipts, you can list out all your regular expenses. This would include everything you spend money on monthly: your rent or home loan, insurance, electricity, transport. Even money spent on airtime for your mobile device(s) and money you’d like to set aside for charity should be accounted for.
With your developed mindset towards saving, the next step is to cut off random and unplanned expenses. Make a list of how to drastically cut down expenses and always make sure you do not exceed your budget.
This is not the kind of budget that you can (or should) carry around in your head— you would be better off writing it out or getting it typed out in a document format. This way, you can go through it as often as you would need to.
Outline how much of your disposable income is available on a monthly basis and what percentage you intend to save. You should as well, list out every single item or service that you pay for, right from the hairdresser or barber to the restaurant and others. In other words, be certain that all are accounted for.
Tip: Ensure that you monitor your budget. Also, whenever you record expenses that were not originally included in the budget, you should include them under review, and make plans for their recurrence.
4. Plan to Save
Now that you’ve made a budget, create a savings category within it. Work at saving at least 20% of your income. Consider the money you put into savings a recurring expenditure, just like groceries. This should help strengthen your resolve.
In the situation that your expenses are so high that you can’t afford to save that much, it might be time to cut back. To do this, outline the nonessentials that you can spend less on. These might include entertainment and eat out, and look out for ways to save on your fixed monthly expenses.
Want-to-have expenses are the first area to address when on the lookout for spending cuts. How about skipping movie night in favour of a movie at home with friends? Make adjustments on the numbers you’ve tracked to see how much money you’d be freeing up. If you’ve already tweaked your spending on wants, assess your spending on needs. You probably need internet at home, but would you really need the fastest available?
Savings comes before spending, not after!
A wrong way to go about saving from your monthly income is to save only what is left after your expenses. That would be suicidal! If you are truly interested in seeing your savings account’s balance rise on a monthly basis, then you would have to save first, and afterwards spend what is left. If you prefer otherwise, the chances of having anything left – especially with the current state of the Nigerian economy – are quite slim.
5. Find Your “Why”
“When you know your WHY, you can endure any HOW” – Viktor Frankl
One of the best techniques to saving money is to pinpoint a goal that you will love to achieve with your savings. You could always start by figuring out something you might want to save for. You may want to save for a new house, a new car, a vacation, or even for retirement.
Afterwards, decide on how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save up to the target amount. You should then make a commitment to make gradual efforts to achieve your goal.
6. Automate Your Savings
Another simple strategy you could adopt to save money is in automating your savings. Tech startups like PiggyVest and Cowrywise are at the vanguard of startups geared towards helping Nigerians (especially the millennials) save and invest their money in a comfortable and smarter fashion than the orthodox options.
7. Stop Eating Out
The amount of money that you spend buying food can be used to cook a good meal at home and leave you something to save.
The restaurant you visit to eat food makes profits off you. Therefore it means that cooking at home will save you some money. Since you have a goal to save more money, learn to cook at home.
8. Work Out at Home Sometimes
It costs a lot of money to belong to some gyms. Instead of spending a lot of money on a gym membership, you can start working out at home. Eat healthily, download a fitness app, and follow a routine, take walks too.
9. Use Public Transportation
Private cab services like Uber and Bolt are excellent, but they are not great for someone who needs to save. Using public transportation is one of the frugal ways to save money.
10. You May Have Fun at Home
This is among the best ways to save money for the future. Instead of spending every weekend chilling in the club, you can decide to have fun at home. Play music and dance your heart out, see a movie, read a book, invite your friends over, and play a game with them. Do something you love doing. You do not need to spend a lot of money to have fun.
11. Buy a Piggybank
If you check social media, especially Facebook, you will see that piggybanks works. Get one and put a little amount of money into it. Piggybanks are creative ways to save money; you will be surprised to see how much you will have by the end of the year.
12. Do Not Jump on Trends
Trends will go the same way they came. Hair, shoes, etc. all trend and die down quickly. So, why are you wasting the money you should be saving to buy the trendiest things?
13. Cut Down on Social Media
Do you have apps or social media habits that cost you several gigabytes of data in one day? It is time to cut down on data expenses! Cut down the time you spend on Instagram, YouTube videos, Tiktok, etc.
Uncontrolled use of social media can waste some would have been fruitful time and the data drain your money. Except you have a business you are promoting on social media, there is nothing extraordinary that you will miss if you take a break from it sometimes.
14. Cut Down on Asoebi
If you do not know what asoebi means, it is the outfits for weddings, burials and other celebrations. If you keep on buying every asoebi that comes along because you want people to see you in a particular light, you are not doing yourself any good.
15. Do Your Chores Yourself
If you are someone that pays people to do your chores for you, you will have to start doing some of your tasks yourself. That little addition to your savings matters.
16. Track your expenses
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin
A major step towards saving money in the Nigerian Economy is to assess just how much you spend. You should be able to track all of your expenses – both personal and business-oriented.
Maintaining a detailed record of your expenses over time will help you monitor your spending habits and cut down on unnecessary expenses that could be eating at your finances.
Regardless of what happens, you should keep track of your expenses.
As an example, if you make N150,000 monthly and plan to save 40% of that, but, at the end of the month, you end up saving only 10% of your income, be honest enough to scold yourself with grades like ‘FAIL’ and vice versa. But most importantly, find out what caused you not to meet your target and see ways to cut down on those expenses.
Mobile apps like Reach are also available to help you track your expenses in an easier, smarter fashion.
How Automatic Savings Works
The concept of automatic savings using any of these apps is simple; the app automatically deducts a fixed amount from your main account as scheduled. It then transfers it to a savings account that you cannot withdraw from until a set time has elapsed.
17. Take a List to The Market
If you’re fund of indulging in impulse shopping, try to take a list to the market always. It helps you stay in check. Try not to buy what is not on your list.
18. Create a Fixed Deposit Account
By locking up your funds for a fixed period of time (determined by you), fixed deposit bank accounts can give you a higher interest rate than basic savings or transactional accounts can.
Fixed deposit accounts make provision for a bank’s customers to keep their money in the bank and earn off the original amount at a significant rate per year. The process of creating a fixed deposit account differs slightly from one bank to another. However, opening a fixed deposit account is still very easy to do.
19. You can do without all those debit cards
Although your debit card can actually save you from getting stranded, having cards for all your accounts could lure you into exceeding your monthly spending limit. And without discipline and caution, you will end up spending the money you have so painstakingly saved up.
Avoid holding a debit card for each account you have. You would be forced into saving far less than you intended to at the end of the month. You could, instead, get one debit card that serves your operational account. The less access you have to your main account, the more insured your savings will be. Talk about safer savings.
20. Pay Yourself Every Month
Like the book, The Richest Man In Babylon suggested, 1/10 of what you earn is yours to keep. So, while you are making that money-saving tips list, do not forget to include the money that should be sent to your savings account every month. But of course, you can save much more than 1/10.
21. Spend Less Than You Earn
Simple login! I don’t think there is any justifiable reason to spend up to what you earn let alone more than that! If you want to have a healthy saving habit, make sure you spend less than you earn.
22. Do Not Borrow to Spend
Try as much as possible not to borrow money to take care of your expenses. If you are trying to save, borrowing is not a smart choice at all because when you get your salary it will be used to settle debts instead of saving.
23. Use Cheaper Data/Airtime Plans
As regards making calls migrate to a cheaper plan. So, you can talk more and spend less. You can also consider WhatsApp calls instead of regular calls. It helps save money.
24. Become a Better Negotiator
The ability to negotiate effectively will save you much money and be worthwhile to you throughout your life.
Learn the art of negotiation. This, in the long run, save you thousands of Naira per month. You can start your training on negotiation by using books about negotiations and deal-making.
25. Always Buy Things in Bulk
This one’s quite easy. If you have any items that you use often, then find out if you can buy them in bulk and in so doing, get a discount from the seller.
If you are thinking of how to save money from your salary, buying things in bulk is tested and trusted. It is easier to save when you shop for stuff in large quantities because things are cheaper when you buy in bulk.
You’ll often find that you get a much better price per unit and rarely have to worry about running out of that item again. This is definitely a quite easy way to save money on your basic monthly needs.
26. Master the 30-Day Rule
Steering clear of instant gratification is one of the most essential rules guiding personal finance, and waiting 30 days to decide on a major purchase is an excellent way to apply that rule.
Usually, after a month has passed, you will discover that the eagerness to make that purchase has passed as well. You would have saved yourself some money by the simple act of waiting.
Whenever you’re undecided about making a purchase, waiting a while can help you see better whether making the purchase is truly the wise thing to do.
For minor purchases, if someone offers to sell you a new pair of shoes or some other item, give it a clear 48 hours before you decide on whether or not you are going to make the purchase. This allows you enough time to decide if it is something you actually need or just something you want. If you could implement this strategy, you’ll most likely end up not buying a lot of things you originally intended to buy.
27. Take action
A lot of people don’t take action even if the desire is there. This does not only apply to saving money but to most other things.
But if you want to save money you have to make conscious efforts towards it. Make saving a habit today!
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour” – James Clear.
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Even with the Nigerian economy, little savings can increase, especially if you can be consistent over time. Several little drops still make an ocean, which means you could save significantly every month if you apply the right mix of several little actions. Sometimes all it does to get things moving for you is the first step in the right direction.
Building a healthy savings culture in the Nigerian economy takes time and planning. You will find that discipline and consistency are essential to success in this venture.
Whenever you find that you are spending more than you earn, you should ask yourself what you could cut down on or cut off to save some money.
Of course, not every tip listed here will apply to everyone. All you have to do is go through the list and pick out the ones that do apply to you and use them in your life.
Which of these tips did you find most helpful? Which tip(s) do you think should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments section.