The ABCs of Saving
Money is never enough. This is a sense we feel when we never get hold of money. If you don’t earn much, surviving pay check to pay check, leaves in a situation where you can barely pay your bills. Even in a situation of increased income, little seems to come out of it. Money always seem to find problems to sort.
Grasping the art of saving money not only provides a great way to build safety in one’s financial life, it also fosters dreams and plans.
Financial security. When the financial situation is tough, it causes stress, makes you wonder how many months you could survive paying bills without a steady income. It keeps you stuck in a job you hate and it steals your independence.
What happens when you or your dependent gets sick and need expensive healthcare that your insurance doesn’t cover? Your car breaks down, you lose your job; or a tremendous opportunity arises, but you cannot afford to jump in.
These are possible scenarios that can put you in a bind if you are not prepared financially.
With some simple practices and the right mindset, anybody regardless of their income, can increase their saving rate and work on their plans, be it building for retirement, starting a business, buy an asset, etc.
To most Tanzanians saving is not longed-for, this can be pinned down to social construct where little knowledge gets shared from parents, nor does it get taught in schools.
There are much better ways to save than stuffing money under a mattress or putting into a kibubu. It is important to account for value over time, a loss which comes from inflation. So, the best way to keep the value of your money to earn more money on amount saved that is at a rate higher than inflation.
The article tries to explore and share tips on ways to save money.
Break your dependency on Credit
Many people rely on simple loans to help them handle unexpected emergencies, it can be very useful if taken with a purpose. Problem with living on credit is it depletes cashflow, subsequently creating a never-ending dependency cycle on credit. It becomes expensive servicing a loan, leaving little disposable income for investment.
So, before you start saving it’s important to be credit free.
To most of us saving is the remainder after expenditure. The challenge with this is money will always find a problem to solve, you are likely to remain with nothing or rather a debt at end of the cycle.
You should set aside a certain percentage of your income for saving first before other expenditure. You can decide on the percentage depending on what’s optimal to you, or your goal objective and the time you want to have the funds in place.
For starters save at least 30% of your income, you will find it easier than you thought it would be. In scenarios where you feel you can go higher than 30%, kindly do so. But if it’s not possible, that you literally cannot save 30% of your income, start at 20% or 10%, it is better than nothing.
Benefit of saving first is it drives the right behaviour and stops you from spending. The more you save, the less you spend. You will learn to live with a little less, this makes you think more about how you spend your money and make better financial decisions. With time, you will learn that you can save more and still live comfortably, pushing you to save more and more.
Open a saving account
When you start saving, it is important to put your money somewhere safe, where you can access it right away when needed. Open a savings account with a good bank which offers good interest rates.
Even though saving accounts typically pay modest interest rates, their safety and reliability make them a great option for stashing cash you want available for short term plans. Saving accounts have some limitations on how often you can withdraw funds, better yet, you can keep it very simple with no debit card access, which makes it ideal in managing spending.
Most banks offer digital platforms where you can access numerous banking services online, one of which is a self-service opening of additional accounts. With this, you can open as many saving accounts, each for a different plan.
Another useful tool which you can use is automatic transfer of funds. When activated, it triggers self-activating regular interval sweeps from one account to intended saving account. Another good control to managing your saving.
Create an emergency buffer
Once the account is opened and starting to amass savings, your priority should be to create an emergency fund. This is funds set aside to cover unexpected expenses or keep the wheels running when things turn for the worst, thus, create a buffer that can keep you afloat in time of need without having to take a loan or incur losses.
It is advised to keep at least three to six months worth of expenses, which should never be touched in any circumstance unless there is a true emergency, or if you come across a never miss opportunity.
You can open a dedicated saving account for emergency funds, to refrain from touching the funds. This is your safety net.
Once the emergency fund target is reached, you can move on to save for something else in alignment with your goals.
Worth noting, saving accounts do not provide huge returns compared to other financial investments options. This can be explored further in other articles.
Money is never enough? Could be, without proper financial plans. Many people treat money itself as the goal, which should not be the case. When you allow money to be the goal, you allow it to get consumed superfluously.
Money is a facilitator, a tool to help you accomplish something.
What a better way to achieve your financial plans but to start with saving.