I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but never got around to it until I was reminded this past weekend, when a group of us where talking about the savings culture in Rwanda. Thanks to the national savings week and ongoing cashless payments awareness, we are having these discussions.
Some of us thought Rwandans don’t save, others believed many do we just don’t put it in the bank. Some said they’d rather save in property than the bank. We discussed interest rates, and distrust in banks. Some said many don’t have enough to save, which may indeed be true. Whatever the case, I think these are good discussions we should have at dinner tables with our family, especially the majority youth among us.
Growing up is great and something to look forward to. And at 38 (yes, it has taken me that long), I can comfortably speak about financial discipline, after making countless financial blunders and now finally getting it together. So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Growing up is great and something to look forward to. And at 38 (yes, it has taken me that long), I can comfortably speak about financial discipline, after making countless financial blunders and now finally getting it together. So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way
1. Know your numbers aka budget: How much do you earn? How much do you spend? Write it ALL down so you can visualize your money matters. This can be shocking at first when you’ve been spending all willy-neely. But it is a necessary exercise if you want to live WITHIN your means, i.e. spend less than you earn, not more and plan for the future. If you can read this, you can definitely use excel – time to get real 🙂
2. How much do you spend on needs (life essentials) and how much on wants (things you can do without)? Next time you want to buy something, ask yourself is it a need or want? Could you save that money instead? Believe me, I battle this many a time and do waste sometimes, but getting better at being disciplined.
3. Savings: This is money we put in an account for a rainy day. It is imperative that you save, no matter how small. This builds discipline and will eventually become second nature. How do you measure your savings? When done with number 1, hopefully there’s a savings line, you will know how much you spend. Now multiply this by at least 6 months and begin to work towards having enough savings to cover you for at least 6 months should anything happen to stop you from working. My target is savings of at least 1.5 years worth of expenditures. Set a goal and diligently work to achieve it and even if you don’t fully, at least you can avoid being stranded on a rainy day. Please note a house, land, car are NOT savings because you can’t liquidate them at a moments notice when you urgently need funds to pay your bills when temporarily unemployed.
4. Investments: This is money we put in assets which can bring us a good return in the future, especially when not working. You want invest in assets, which can bring returns enough to cover your basic needs in the long run. Assets are property such as land, property or equity in a company. Please note, a car is Not an asset because it depreciates the second you drive off into the sunset with your new ride.
If we want to achieve financial freedom, discipline to manage monies effectively is the surest way to succeed. What better time to start than today. See you here????.