“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving” –Warren Buffet
The country is hard, the economy is bad and the little salary you earn has the same effect on your life as a cup of water to the Sahara desert. Savings? Who dash monkey banana, the salary finishes even before 15th day of the month, so where will the money for the savings come from? Think about all the responsibilities you have, the challenges of daily living, then the usual – transportation cost, feeding, rent, clothing and other miscellaneous expenses. After all these, you are left with little or nothing. How could it be possible for one to save in this scenario? The only way one can save is probably when you get that salary raise or get a better job opportunity, or is it not?
I started work after my youth service from the lowest possible rung of the ladder. In fact, when I was in school, had anyone told me I would ever work for such peanut, I would not have believed it, in fact, I know I would have thought twice about ‘wasting’ that money acquiring the degree. The initial salary was nothing to write home about, the money was spent primarily on transportation and other basic necessities I just could not do without. It was not enough to solve half my personal needs, talk more of reaching out to my family and friends. Saving was the last thing on my mind at that time. But one good day, as I was listening to the radio, one guy who seemed to have read my situation like a book phoned in on the programme.
His advice and comments made a great impact in my life. It was there I learnt from his life experiences, that one can save from any amount, even if you are earning as little as N15, 000. Before you scoff just as I scoffed then, exercise a little patience and read on. On second thoughts, I decided to give it a trial; there was nothing to lose in trying. I was not able to save much the first few months, but at least, I stopped spending my whole salary in the month but started leaving a little in the account. That was a big step and I felt happy with myself for that little effort.
With time, I began to ask people who seemed to be achieving more on their petty salary and they taught me what they do which we are going to share now.
- CHANGE YOUR MIND SET: The fact that your salary is still under N30, 000 does not mean you must spend it all within the month. Do not believe that it is only when you start earning above hundred that you can save for the rainy day because if you cannot save from this little, it might prove very difficult to save from the millions. There will still be responsibilities to be catered for; new and bigger ones will even crop up. Start with what is in your hands; nothing is too little to start with.
- PROPER PLANNING/ BUDGETING: Life is all about planning thus that popular saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You know how much you earn in a month, plan with that amount. Do not just collect the money and start spending. Have a plan, a budget of what and what you want to achieve or buy in that particular month. Be sure to follow that budget to the latter, not forgetting to include savings in it. As you spend, write down how much has been spent and on what.
- SET GOALS/TARGET: Setting goals for yourself will help you a lot in planning and carrying out those plans to the latter. The urge to achieve and accomplish will drive you to success most times. In the last quarter of 2014 for instance, you may decide to save N50, 000 to purchase equipment that you need or invest it. You may decide that every month, you will save ten percent of your salary (economists say that is the standard percentage to save by the way).
- AVOID UNPLANNED AND FRIVOLOUS SPENDING:
“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need” – Warren Buffet. The ladies are the biggest culprits here. All those beautiful clothes, jewelries, cosmetics are alluring; pulling you towards them when what you really want to do is run the other way. Then you tell yourself, let me just take a closer look and have a feel of it, may be know the price, then move on. But it catches you immediately you get closer and before you know it, the credit card or the cash is out! Guys too, they must have the newest toys – cars, gadgets and such, then the beers and wines. Curtail your spending. Buy only what you need and do not buy just because you have the craving to buy or because others are buying.
- DISCIPLINE: None of these points mentioned above can be achieved without discipline. Self-discipline is the key to success in life. What’s the need of making all the money, going through all that hassles if you cannot be disciplined enough to use it judiciously? A person without self-control would find it harder to grow and prosper than a person who practices it. Without discipline, you cannot be consistent in saving. It takes a lot of effort to save, especially when the income is small but with self-discipline, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.
- APPRECIATE YOURSELF: As you succeed at each stage, pat yourself on the back, appreciate your efforts. Feel good about your achievement and celebrate it. This will help spur you to greater achievement.
Friends, we cannot afford to sit cross legged waiting for things to improve, we should make them improve and improve ourselves too. It is when you must have surprised yourself at the amount you have been able to save overtime and what you can achieve with that money that you will realize that indeed nothing is impossible. With plans, goals and determination, we achieve a lot.
So yes, you can save from that meager salary you earn.