From my last post on the Barclays Africa Savings Challenge, I shared how I was overcoming the hurdles to saving. If you missed that post, you can find it here.
It’s good to know the hurdles that stop us from saving, but taking little steps towards overcoming those hurdles is what really matters. We all have those every day habits that seem little, but add up and increase our expenses and decrease our ability to save.
As I keep trudging on to do better at savings, I realized that a large portion of my expenses was going into Dining/Eating Out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat out all the time. I am talking about sandwiches from a local patisserie, buying waakye and impulse buying of snacks. All these purchases I classify under eating out. They might seem small, but trust me, at the end of the month I could be spending more than 100 cedis on eating out.
To reduce this and other similar tiny ones, I’ve been implementing some new habits.
I have strengthened my resolve to cook at home more even if it’s just a craving for a salmon sandwich. Food can really eat into your expenses if you aren’t careful. I buy local food ingredients, which are healthier than snacks and sandwiches bought in shops. I am able to vary these meals with rice, yam, gari etc. I have also resolved to eat out once a month if it’s coming out of my purse. You can call that my heuristic technique.
Writing out a financial plan. This doesn’t sound like fun, does it? I remember creating a 20-year development plan using the guidelines provided by Dr. Mensa Otabil and it had my financial goals in there as well. It’s time I go back to that. Having such a plan is like having a treasure map with lines pointing to the X spot – where the treasure lies.
Tackle retirement now! Will I ever retire? Yes. That’s when my money should be doing all the hard work. Even though I currently work for myself, I’ve been tackling my retirement by putting away a certain amount every month. I need to do this for the next 30 years – the earlier I start, the better.
I have set reminders on my phone to remind me to do my expenses. It takes a lot of mind strength to put down what I am doing and focus on just working on my expenses for the week. But it’s a great feeling to see a well organized chart of my income and expenses.
I am cutting back on expenses on lunch at the office by taking my own packed lunch and breakfast. Lunch can cost between 9cedis for half-plate and 12 cedis for a full-plate. So that can be 45cedis or 60cedis saved for the week, assuming I eat in the office every day. That’s almost 200 cedis a month.
I ask myself hard questions before buying anything. Do I need this? Why am I buying it? Is it to please other people? These are behavioral habits which prevent me from impulse buying.
What little habits are you inculcating to save more? Do share in the comments below and let’s build each other up towards saving more!
This article is the third in a series of sponsored posts for the Barclays Savings Challenge. Follow the discussion on Twitter and Facebook and share your own experience by using #AfricaSaves. Visit the Barclays website for more information about their savings account .