Saturday, 11 June 2016

Money saving tips

In our current economic situation it is necessary to demonstrate financial intelligence and responsibility. I'm a saver thanks to the early intervention by my good friend and pseudo mother Spanky. So today our conversation is going to be on money smartness. You know, some simple ways to help you get started or make a difference. Maybe you have thought of some already, maybe not, but if this helps anyone out even a little, then it is worth my time to talk to you via my hands.

I switched to a savings bank account at Ecobank and that pays some small interest. So I save money, and I make a little extra from the interest. Though I pay a monthly charge of 5gh for the use of my atm card. I got my first checkbook for free. Every cedi counts. I used to have a current account where I had the dubious honor of having to pay bank to store my money for them to make even more money. No interest paid. And I was charged for everything. I was even charged  for checks. With my savings account I'm not sure what the interest will be but I do know it would be more than 0gh so it is good.

I cook more. Look it's not that hard. It is so much less expensive. Buying and cooking raw ingredients are much cheaper and healthier than prepared meals from a restaurant. I can make many delicious meals. If you don't know how to cook ... LEARN. You have the internet if you are reading this, meaning you have access to countless sources of knowledge. You also tend to spend less going out to eat because there aren't as many options. This is a good thing. Good for your health and your wallet. No fast food. You save so much money. If you work away from home a packed meal from home is a cash saver. If everyday you spend at least 10gh on food. That's 50gh weekly and 200gh monthly and 2400gh a year. Think what that money could buy. For me that would be a nice amount to vacation with, whether in another region or a neighboring country.

Sell items I don't need or want. That's what tonaton.com and olx is for. I've sold all sorts of things there. From electronic products I no longer use to footwear. Caveat here is to always ensure your safety by meeting up in a public place like a police station and not going alone. Personally I like to upgrade my mobile phone yearly so what I do is to take really good care of the present one so that I can sell it for as close to the price I bought it for as possible. I can then purchase the next phone of my dreams. So you may see me with a top level phone and think me either rich or with a sugar daddy. Nope. I'm a queen of bargain hunting and you can contact me for all sorts of deals.

Get a cheaper cell phone plan! I use Vodafone and I love Vodafone but the data plans on Vodafone are seriously killing me. They're so expensive and they run so fast. Currently 1.6 gigabytes of data on Vodafone which costs 26gh runs like water and finishes in 4 days just like magic. I have neither Instagram nor Snapchat. Even YouTube videos I seldom watch.Or someone has cursed me? Or it's my house people who are doing me?😅. Anyway I'm trying out glo and 2 gigabytes costs 25gh there. I'm using it on another device and using it as a hotspot to serve my phone as well. It's been 3 days so far and we're still going strong so I'll probably stick with it. The takeaway here is to always evaluate your internet data consumption and take appropriate measures.

This one may not be for everyone but my brother needed a bed frame and did a lot of research. He ended up buying a bed frame on tonaton.com for 150gh instead of the 400gh the carpenter was quoting him. So apart from selling stuff online, buying online is another option for bargains. Try aliexpress.com for all kinds of stuff. Some items on there are real crap but there are also some great finds. I love the prices there and I always make sure to read customer reviews before I purchase anything.

Please stay away from shopping malls and TV. Malls make you want to spend money. Buy your foodstuff from the market and put money into the hands of a hardworking woman or man instead of some foreign conglomerate. Don't go places where the temptation will be great. TV commercials make you want to spend money. They are designed to do so. You don't need any of that crap. It is not as important as what you are saving and working so hard for. Opening your own business, further education, Going on a trip, owing nobody, not even your friends. All of these things are more important than a new shirt or the latest shoes or KFC or the latest cell phone (which I have just shown you how to get for cheaper😀).
Walk more. You may own a car or have access to one. Save fuel and enjoy yourself in the process by taking a trotro or taxi. Trotros can be so interesting. The conductor's interactions with the driver and the passengers can be extremely amusing. As for taxis I take them when I absolutely have to and only after I have bargained to at least half of the taxi driver's initial quote. Save the wear & tear on your car.

Dates. So you have a partner and you'd like to step out on the town from time to time for date night. Do you know it is possible to do free or very cheap dates? Have a cook-off. Go for a walk where 1 of you is blindfolded and the other one has to guide you over obstacles. Read aloud on the beach. Go for a drive somewhere to watch the sun set. Write down your goals and then burn them off a candle flame into the wind. You know just think outside of the box.

Thrift shopping. There is so much money to be saved by thrifting. Kantamanto is your friend. Especially since the stuff that passes for brand new in our stores tend to be of poor quality. Fabric is flimsy and clothing is so expensive. Forget about one of a kind clothing. Before going thrifting you should do your best to go with a friend who's a pro at it. In my circle of friends I'm the thrift shopping star. Also know what kind of clothing you would want to purchase. Do your best to try on clothing before purchase, this is why it's imperative to wear close fitting clothing like leggings and a tshirt. This helps you try on clothing as hygienically as possible under the circumstances. Always keep in mind the power of alterations. Which can be done right there before leaving; lost buttons, hemmings, sizing down and so on.
The best advice however is not to give up. Keep making changes in small ways and you will get there. I was so hopeless a year ago and now I am starting to feel better. Things are starting to look up. I am able to sleep better at night knowing I am really doing everything I can think of to make my situation better and I am constantly looking for new ways and new ideas. Like I said not everyone can do all of these things but everyone can do at least 1 or 2 of these things, even right now, today, after reading this, you can do some of these things right away. Don't procrastinate. It's doable.
Let me know in the comments what you're doing with respect to budgeting.