Living on a budget is the key to financial freedom, but getting started can be frustrating. Learning to save on expenses is an important step to better financial health. When we look at our expenses and see all of those bills we’re paying every month, it’s easy to throw our hands up in frustration on how much is being spent (many times outstripping earnings). As a result savings seems hard to do. Keeping track of all those little expenses we incur might just make you surprised to find out just how much they amount to.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on little things. You might think a few naira a month won’t make a significant difference in the big picture but in reality this adds up to be significant over time. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
One of the biggest areas a family spends is on feeding. Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or buying fast-food is a great way to save money. When you do cook do not waste food by throwing it out rather freeze your leftover foods such that this can be eaten again later. Are your children spending everyday in school buying food from the cafeteria when they can take food from home, this is another area to save. Also a way to reduce costs is to buy in bulk, for example you can decide to share market runs with a friend and this reduces the cost of frequently going to the market, plus you save when you buy in bulk rather than per piece.
Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. This can be prevented in part by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs such as energy saving bulbs. Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them, and open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day.
Make Changes Yourself
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself, you’re spending money unnecessarily. This applies to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own, as well as to larger expenses such as home repairs.
Many of us buy coffee or a soft drink from a store or coffee shop and this can really add up over time. Instead, make your own coffee, or buy 2-liter bottles and pour some into a smaller bottle or cup to take with you.
There are other ways to make savings, for example buying airtime post paid can enable you get better call rates. Paying upfront for toll can save on your toll payment (saving N50 every time you pass the toll can add up). Is there a magazine that you read regularly? You can save some money by subscribing in advance.
The goal is to see areas where you can save a little here and there. When you add up the savings, little things can make a big difference to the budget. So take a close look at your budget and actual spending and see what small expenses are lurking there. If you can eliminate or reduce them, you could end up saving quite a lot.
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