What is saving? Saving is simply the act of keeping some parts, or all of your money, for future or specific reasons. It’s denying yourself some pleasures to meet a target. The easiest and most convenient way to achieve this is to gradually cultivate the habit of saving money. The Oxford Dictionary defines savings as “an amount of something such as time or money that you do not need to use or spend.”
This article is a gentle reminder of why you should start saving money. It also contains 10 simple ways to get into the habit of saving money in Nigeria, and some methods you use to start saving money today.
Saving as a Core Principle of Success
Saving is one of the principles of success a man needs to cultivate. It requires discipline as well as determination. A person who cultivates the habit of saving money is said to be one who can manage resources. You’ll notice that successful folks like Bill Gates, Dangote, and Mark Zuckerberg, always have great testimonies to share about saving.
According to Brian Tracy, in his book: No Excuses! The power of self-discipline, saving requires you to delay gratification, have self-discipline, self-mastery, self-denial, and self-control. He stated that when you cultivate the habit of saving money, you take control of your financial life. It makes you feel happy about yourself, and you develop an improved character.
The importance of money-saving habits cannot be overemphasized. In a country where the economy is unpredictable, these habits will benefit you more than you can imagine.
Why You Need to Get into the Habit of Saving Money
There are several reasons why you need to start saving money. Whether you are a low-salary earner or a Royce Rolls owner. Whether you’re a student or an employee, a father or a single man, this applies to you. Below are some of the reasons why you need to cultivate the habit of saving money.
Human beings have always found themselves as victims of circumstances. We can never tell what will happen to us in the next moment. People do not pray they get involved in accidents or encounter any harm. But if it happens, they would need to take responsibility and get themselves out of the mess.
Having a certain amount of money segmented as savings gives you a blanket of protection. It also provides the ability to save lives and properties during emergencies.
There is a need for us to save because of retirement. One of the reasons why old people still work today is because most or some of them did not cultivate the habit of saving money during their youth. And as you know, my fellow Nigerians that relying on the government is a recipe for disappointment. These older generations are not catered for after serving their country for decades.
The habit of saving money will allow you to enjoy life after retirement. At that age, you’ll spend less time worrying about a source of income and more time thinking of the next place to invest your money.
As an entrepreneur or salesman, one of the secrets to financial security is to make money-saving a habit. Just because you’re making a huge income doesn’t mean you don’t need to save. In reality, it’s a good reason to save even more. I doubt Bill Gates would still be ranked as one of the richest men in the world if he spends every of his income extravagantly.
10 Effective Ways to Cultivate the Habit of Saving Money
Cultivating the habit of saving money requires discipline. You have to conquer yourself. This means denying yourself some pleasures and having the mindset that you can’t always get what you want. Also, you must wear the garment of determination. You must resolve in your heart that no matter what, the habit of saving money will become an intrinsic part of your life.
Here are the best 10 ways to cultivate the habit of saving money:
Set a realistic goal
The first step to take in cultivating the habit of saving money is to set a target. Not just any target, but a target with purpose. Be specific about how much you want to save and know the purpose of saving. Don’t say, “I’ll keep saving till the end of this year.” That’s bland and not interesting or motivating.
Be specific and say, “I’ll save $500 before the end of this month so that I can pay for my monthly medical checkup”. Being specific keeps you focused.
Avoid friends that make you spend extravagantly
Sometimes we intend to start saving money, but the company we find ourselves in makes it difficult. Friends are good but don’t allow them to cage your financial independence. Trying to prove that you’re financially buoyant to your friends sometimes throws you into a pool of debts. This will not only leave you unprepared for rainy days but might also lead to depression.
Pretend you are paying a loan
When you’re in (a huge) debt, how do you pay it? The most realistic method is to pay in instalments, right? You can adapt this method when you’re trying to develop the habit of saving money. Imagine yourself as someone who has a deadline to settle his debts. Then, decide on how much you’ll pay and at what rate. This curbs your irrelevant expenses and keeps you determined to “pay off your debt”.
You can even make it more interesting by giving a name to the person you’re owing, and giving a reason why you borrowed the money in the first place.
Start with little contribution
Mark earns $40 per month. He decides to save $30 out of the money. When he realizes he is caught in debt and seriously broke, he withdraws all the money he has saved, paid the debts he owed and was left with little.
To develop the habit of saving money, you need to start with small contributions first, to get familiar with the process. Saving money in bits will encourage you to start saving in large amounts as time goes on. You can start by saving 10% of your weekly or monthly earnings and then advance to 15 or 20. Slow and steady still wins the race.
Cut down your expenses
The key to this is differentiating between your NEEDS and WANTS. “Needs” are things necessary for your survival while “Wants” are desires that you can certainly live without. Learn to spend your money on important things. Don’t spend on things that won’t affect you if you delay them.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but make sure that you’ve really earned that fun and you’re not just spending for show-off.
Having a budget spells out your NEEDS and WANTS. In other words, it guides you on what you should spend on and what you shouldn’t. Draw a scale of preference to know the things that need urgent attention and what do not. With a budget, you would know how to cut down the expenses of your wants, and the temptation to over-indulge.
Read also: How to avoid billing as a Nigerian
Be contented with what you have
If you want to cultivate the habit of saving money, you must be contented. Contentment is one of the factors that aid saving. Just because your friend buys a Gucci wristwatch doesn’t mean you also have to. What happened to your previous watch? Did it stop working? Sounds funny, but it’s true. Don’t task yourself based on someone else’s standard.
Save the excess
Your boss has just increased your salary and your first thought was to lavish the bonus? Be careful. You shouldn’t embrace such thoughts. Instead, decide to save some of it, if not all. At the end of the day, if your savings increases, that’s a good thing for you.
Let’s say you earn $50 as your salary and you normally save $10, by the end of the year, the total contribution would be $120. If your boss increases the pay by $20, (which becomes $70), you can start saving $20. By saving $20 for a year, that amounts to $240. You can see a significant increase in your savings compared to $120. You easily doubled the number.
Pay yourself first
As a salary earner, there is always the urge to settle some of your demands first. Although it might be difficult at first, you should cultivate the habit of saving money before attending to those things. Whenever you receive your salary, first set aside the money for your savings. Problems, commitments, and expenses never end. Save first, then split what’s left to settle yourself.
Saving is not what you do today and shun tomorrow. It is better as a habit than a one-time thing. And by this definition, it means you have to be consistent, doing it repeatedly till it becomes a part and parcel of you. This is also why it’s better to start small so it doesn’t feel like an unbearable burden.
4 Best Methods You Can Use to Save Money in Nigeria
There are several methods you can use to build a culture of saving money. As a Nigerian, these four money-saving methods are accessible and effective.
This is a small wooden box with a small opening where you can insert the money you want to save. This method has been in existence for centuries; used in storing coins for months and years. You can get a piggy bank for yourself. Engage in daily contribution, use a calendar to mark the days, and be disciplined enough not to break the box on a whim.
The obvious disadvantage of this is that it can be tempting to you, and it can easily be stolen. But for those that have used it, it works.
This is the modern way of saving. It’s by far the most adopted means of saving. It’s an institution where one can place and borrow money and take care of financial affairs. All you need to do is select a bank of your choice, provide the necessary documents, and register. It’s not a herculean task.
This is another popular method of saving in Nigeria. A thrift collector is an individual whose primary job is to collect thrifts, that is, people’s savings. They are mostly found or seen in the market. You can register with a thrift collector. All you need is to get a card, fill in your details, and start contributing as little or much as you can. You get your payment on a rotational basis.
These are mobile applications created to save money and are also the latest method of saving. Saving applications such as PiggyVest, Cowrywise, Jumia Pay, Chipper, etc., are best used to save. You can download them from the Playstore or Appstore, and start making your contribution. Find out more about the Best Money-saving apps in Nigeria, and choose anyone that best suits your needs.
It takes discipline and determination to cultivate the habit of saving money. If you want to secure your financial life, you need to work, save, and save! Not only for yourself but also the generations you’ll give life to. The actions you take to secure your financial life will determine if they’ll live in poverty or swim in wealth.
Samuel Olasubomi is a student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, pursuing a degree in Dramatic Arts.
He's a poet, freelance content and copywriter. He sees as writing as a valuable tool to change the world, hence his works has been published on several websites, including this.