Guys, earlier in the year my finances were such a mess.  For someone that hates asking for help (there’s no one to ask even) it was such a struggle and an eye opening experience.

So basically I was supposed to be earning salaries from two sources; first the government that’s my monthly federal NYSC allowance and then salary from my place of work. For reasons best known to them (the government or whoever is in charge of the finance department) I didn’t get paid (my *allawee*) for 5 months, tears. It was not a fun experience believe me (I just passed out from NYSC btw).

Due to the fact that I had a source of income that I was certain of and had accounted for some expenses which had  been temporarily cut short I had to make do with less than I had planned for hence the need for a side hustle guys. Where are those writing gigs?

The one thing that this really messed with was my savings plan. I also rediscovered how much I detest living from paycheck to paycheck. Suffice to say I’ve had to practice a few tips here and there to help me stretch the very limited salary to cover my basic monthly living expenses and I want to share them with you.

Numero Uno: Make  A Budget

Firstly, make a monthly expense budget. Budgeting cannot be over emphasized, it’s very easy and quick to do. Basically all you need to do is make a list of essential expenses you have in the month (according to a scale of necessity).

Essentials should always be prioritized first. So things like transport, feeding should be at the top, then allot the expected cost for each item. Do that in line with the total amount available to you (i.e. salary). The money might not cover everything that’s why your budget list has to be prioritized based on necessity. So things that you can do without can be struck off for later if the funds can’t cover it.

Numero Deux: Substitute people, SUBSTITUTE!

Next is substitute where you can. Find areas that are taking something substantial from your budget and try to see if you can substitute it for something as good but cheaper. Do you have a colleague/neighbour that usually goes a little along your route that can save you a quick buck (even if it’s ₦50 -100), you might have to move your schedule around to work with theirs but it’s saving you cost and that adds up.

Are you constantly eating out (no time, too busy to cook meh meh), try meal prepping. Cooking ahead for each week on weekends, as a result, you can SAVE ON COST. Cooking yourself is always cheaper and healthier and if you can’t cook, YouTube is always there to guide you. Are you constantly taking cabs (Uber and Taxify guys get in here) try using ‘along ’occasionally and save cabs for special situations. If you time yourself properly you’ll always get to where you’re going on time. Plus you get to know your locality, routes and road network better. Always try to find ways to substitute.

And Finally; SAVE

Final tip is creating a savings lifestyle. If you aren’t already on it, you have to be. Don’t sleep on yourself please. I know it can be very hard especially when you’re working with a very tight budget but it can be done.

There’s nothing as relieving as having some savings especially when an emergency expense comes up and those always find a way of popping up so we need to live prepared. In regards to savings, if your budget gives room I always advise people to save 20% -30% of their salaries. Try to put it somewhere you can’t easily access to spend daily if you know you lack self control.

For those with tighter financial legroom, ‘SAVE THE PENNIES’. I got this advice in HS and bible (as the Kardashians say), it has changed my financial life. To make this easier, get a saving box locally known as Kolo and create a habit of saving all your small change. You go out you didn’t spend as much as you expected, put the ‘change’ in your saving box. You got a lift didn’t have to spend your transport, put the change in your ‘kolo’. All the little money lying around the house put it in your ‘kolo’. Someone gifted you some small money, put it in your ‘kolo’. You’ll find that at the end of the month or months, you’ve saved up quite some money and it didn’t take much from you.

You can find the local wooden or metal types in your local market very affordable or you could search social media I’m sure I have spotted some. The mall is also another place to get the piggy banks or a ton of fancy variations of it. There are apps that have been created for just that and work really great too. Two I can recommend are Cowrywise and PiggyVest app.

There you have it; these are some tips that have helped in ensuring I’m not constantly flat out broke and/or in debt. It’s still not where I want it to be but I’m working towards it, can’t just hope it into existence now, can we?  Please share any financial tips or hacks you use for savings and expenses.

 Did you find this helpful? Do you already practice any of these? Do try to implement these tips and share the results.

Tari’s Tip: Go make some money, because you need money to make money and even start fostering a healthy financial habit in the first place. So go secure the various bagssss and get ya munaayyy!

Bonus Tip: Please always practise discipline, self control and patience. Having great savings, being out of debt and in good general financial standing doesn’t happen in one day. It’s a process you constantly have to work on.

Here’s to us being strong, financially smart millennials getting and keeping the coin.

Detty December is already underway so help God to help you help yourself to avoid a bloody January.

Love, Tari.