Are you that African woman who is responsible for her money but somehow you always wonder where your money disappears to? Read on.
One of the major aspects that motivated me to start African Woman 101 was my finances. For the better part of my employment, I have earned a good salary but somehow my money has never seemed to be enough, especially in these tough economic times. So over time I have changed various things to enable me spend less and save more. Sometimes it is not even about saving but reducing expenses to live within the budget or reduce on debts.
Since I am sure I am not alone in this struggle, I thought I could share these 11 hacks that you could apply in your own finances too to help you spend less and hopefully save more.
- Save money on food: Food is the number one area of waste I would want you to check on, especially if you are a family woman like me. Ask yourself these questions: Do I plan my meals for at least a week in advance? How much excess food do we pour out? Do I or my family members just serve enough to finish? Where do I buy my groceries or other food stuffs from? Now apply these specific saving tips on food and see the difference in costs:
- Make weekly (or monthly) meal plans: This simply means, plan in advance what you and your family members are going to eat throughout the week/month. This planning enables you know what foodstuffs to stock for the entire month hence you buy them in bulk at wholesale price. It also avoids impromptu decisions which can be costly e.g. deciding to go out for dinner as a family yet this was not planned for.
- Buy groceries (and other foodstuffs) in bulk from a food market: Look for a food market near you and buy items like tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, fruits, potatoes, green bananas, etc in bulk. If you feel they are being abused by family members or domestic manager, give clear instructions on how much or what to be used on a given day.
- Cook and serve just enough food: Ensure you cook only what you and your family needs to eat or what can be kept to be used later. No consistent pouring out of excess food gone stale. Make a habit of checking your dustbin/dust bag and keep improving.
- Carry your packed lunch to work/school: Try this and encourage your other family members to do the same.
- Reduce eating out in restaurants or hotels: If it is a habit you must eat out every often yet you are struggling financially, cut out on this. Carry your packed lunch even when going to a park.
- Eat healthy: Eating healthy saves you on money. Check how much you spend unnecessarily on junk food.
- Have a medical insurance cover: If you have no medical cover provided by an employer, source around for one and pick what you can comfortably afford even if it is just a national fund. This not only reduces your stress on medical uncertainties but can also save you a lot in case of emergencies.
- Compare prices and know what to buy where: Thanks to the Internet, you can now easily check prices of the same item in different shops/stores. Compare and buy same quality cheapest. Try this on items like clothes, jewellery, handbags, electronics, toys, cars, etc.
- Save on travel/commuting costs: Do you have a car and you are struggling to fuel it every day to work? Drop it and use public means. You can use the car occasionally or over the weekends. When traveling long distances alone, use a train or bus instead of driving yourself to save on fuel and also avoid tear and wear of your car.
- Save on your cellphone/TV/Internet costs: Compare network services available and pick what suits you. Also make use of offers such as bulk sms, flexy bundles. Reducing the time you spend on social media/Tv can save you a lot. Switching to a free digital box or cancelling some subscriptions e.g. Netflix will not kill you. If you use Internet a lot in your work at home, consider installing wifi with a friendly package.
- Save on water and energy bills: Monitor and reduce on these two continually e.g. switching off all lights during day.
- Have fun in a cheaper way: Think of frugal fun e.g. going for a picnic at a free park, taking your children to a cheaper place for fun (e.g. a not so-famous mall), celebrating birthdays at home in a simple way, etc.
- Buy refurbished items rather than new: Some items like electronics, cars, toys can be very expensive when new so depending on your budget, there is no harm going for second-hand ones still in good condition.
- Live in a cheaper house: Check how much you are spending on your rent in relation to your income. If it is more than 10% of your income, consider adjusting downwards.
- Check which causes you are giving to: Are you donating too much at your own expense? Are you giving towards your pastor’s buying of an expensive car when you can’t afford your rent? Are you rescuing your entire village? I am not saying giving is bad, just saying: give wisely.
- Most important: Save before you start spending: Transfer the amount you intend to save to an ‘inaccessible’ savings account as soon as you get your income. You will be forced to live within what remains.
The above are some of the money-saving hacks working for me. Maybe not everything will be applicable to you but I hope one or two will. You can also let me know what is working for you in the Comments Section below.
Key words: money, finances, save, spend less, hacks, food, economic, bills, African woman, prices, budget, debt