Some of us started seeing money early in life. I mean Nigerian version of early. I made my first 2.5 million naira before age 25. I did contracts. I had money coming in but I was youthful and wasteful as well.
Designer outfits, going on vacations, flying business class, staying in very expensive hotels, getting massages, generally pampering my young self and doing lots of giveaways swallowed my money.
I never thought of investing. I was young and felt there will be better and mega contracts. I was waiting to hit it big. Being a compassionate person didn’t help me either. I gave to people, not to my family or siblings most times, I just gave to random people in need. I gave and asked them to come back for more if need be.
As I was about to clock 30, I asked myself some salient questions such as how many properties have I invested in? None. How loaded is my bank account? I was almost broke again. Do I have any investments? Nothing tangible. Is spending my whole earnings on material things that have no value and giving to others without plans not foolishness?
I was literally waiting to hit a N100million contract or hoping to get married to a rich man and my life is made. What foolishness!
That was the day I reminded myself that I wasn’t getting any younger, that my strength will fail me one day. I told myself that whatever I’m able to save no matter how little, is what will sustain me in years to come. So, I started saving. I financed my savings like it was the only thing that mattered.
I had less physical cash to throw around or do charity. I would only contribute to charity like everyone else rather than sponsoring the whole thing like I used to. And not having cash readily at hand or in my bank account helped me think straight and better. That was how I told myself the truth and faced my reality.
As a compassionate person, it is very easy to go through life always broke because you put people’s needs ahead of yours. You just want to help, but you help people at your own expense most of the time. You have little or no savings or investments. Even while you are bleeding, you still donate blood. You need a savings plan.
You need to develop a healthy savings habit. As you are making money no matter how little or trying to help people, feed your savings as well. I’m not talking about saving money in your bank accounts please. There are many ways to save money in bits. Overtime, the money saved would have accumulated into a huge sum to buy you lands in choice locations, build you a house, raise enough capital for a bigger business, come in handy in time of health emergencies etc.
You need to stand on your feet, safe guard yourself first before you can carry everyone else’s financial burden, if not you will remain financially stunted. You are a compassionate person, the more reason you should deliberately start saving so you would have less cash at hand. This also means you will only offer people what you have at hand and not quickly rush to your bank account to give your all because even your bank account is visibly empty.
Before Covid-19 lock down, life was good. You had your entire life figured out, money was never a problem but life has dealt us all a curved ball. Brace up for the coming months. Reality will hit home the hardest. We might probably go through the mother of all recessions. Many will be stranded, house rents and school fees will be due, man must eat, bills must be paid etc all these needs money and it may not be readily available.
Cutting down on some expenses will keep you afloat and even help you to save. If your body cream, perfumes, clothes, weaves etc cost much, step it down. Vaseline and less expensive perfumes and even hair cuts will keep you going. Your monthly gym subscription can be replaced with one hour evening long walks and portion control. You can subscribe for the cheapest cable network bouquet rather than the premium. Let nothing put you under any form of financial pressure when it is something you can live without.
You may consider switching your children’s school to a less expensive one without compromising standard. You can lay off some domestic staff and retain only one who doubles as nanny, chef and house keeper.
You should consider moving out of that expensive house to a decent and less expensive one when your rent is due. You can also use your car for Uber when you are less busy, or you have a reliable person who drops you off at work and uses your car for uber until you are ready to go home in the evenings. Don’t be ashamed to do whatever is legit to have food on your table. And while you are at it, don’t be greedy.
If you make a N10,000 or N50,000 profit, don’t rush off to buy drinks for friends. If you hit a N5 million or N50 million deal, don’t buy yourself a N4 million or N40 million Mercedes Benz yet. There is no return on investment on such exotic cars or lavish lifestyle. You need to throw more than half of your profit somewhere and allow it work for you.
Start working out survival plans now. Deal with your needs and forego your wants. There will be a time you shall reap in hundred folds. Until then, live cautiously and keep saving wisely.