Making the best of your finances



Ayotamuno Ibifiri, Udoh Abigail

That Nigeria is a difficult place to live in is something we can collectively agree on. The weather can be village people oriented and the economy seems to always be at odds with everyone. It is no wonder that folks are usually at logger heads with each other. Perhaps the greatest cause of disagreements and countless “God-when’s” is finances. The nation might be out of an economic recession on paper, but that doesn't mean things are okay.

It is therefore important that students begin to consider their financial status and look at the benefits of saving whatever little income comes their way. It's not that we don't want to save money, it's that we just don't know how to. And some of us may already know how to save our funds, but you may be saving for all the wrong reasons. And some of us don't even understand why we should save. These are six reasons why students should save:

1.    For Financial Independence and Security

Nowadays, no one wants to dash anybody their hard-earned money. People that are usually generous don't have as much money to give anymore. Now, most of the courses in UNILAG are four to five years long, except medicine. There's a certain amount of charity that comes with being an undergraduate. Once you've graduated, the world sees you as an adult, and all the benefits associated with being a student are gone. But the fact that you need money will remain.

Saving helps avoid the problem of being out of school without a kobo to your name and no one to ask for some cash. You can save and sort yourself out, whether you're still in school or you've graduated. It's not every time beggy beggy. 

2.    To Inculcate Savings Habit

There's no supersaver that hasn't experienced the pain of self-denial. It's this pain that makes some people stop saving and just tell themselves "if I perish, I perish."  It's not an easy thing to get over. However, it might be easier in school. Living as a working person is much harder than being a student. It follows that it's also harder for most working people to save in today's Nigeria because the money they earn isn't enough to cover their own needs.

You can still have a bit of extra cash on you as a student. It's best to start learning how to save now because while having accumulated cash on hand will always be essential, the discipline to do it may not always be there.

3.    Unforeseen Emergencies

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines an emergency as "an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action." A crisis doesn't have to be life-threatening. Some emergencies threaten your education and your future.


Sometimes, there are unexpected costs associated with being a student. These costs may spring up suddenly, without any warning and they must be resolved immediately. With a bit of saving, you can easily solve problems like that, without a worry. There's no need to wait on somebody's goodwill for money.

4.    Helps you cover increased expenses

You may think that you're spending a lot of money as a student. Things may seem expensive right now. However, the money you're spending now can't be compared to the expenses you'll incur once you graduate and enter the working world.

Students get many things at a subsidized rate. The most important of all these freebies is accommodation. Those who stay in hostels have the advantage of cheap housing for a full session. There's nothing of the sort when you graduate (except in your parents or relative's home). That's why you must save while you have an advantage. 

5.    For Bigger Dreams

School is just a stepping stone for most students. It's a landmark on the path to bigger and better things to be achieved after graduation. Most times, the factor that's not considered when planning for these goals is money. Even if it's recognized, it may be underestimated.

If you plan to start your career after school, then you need money. You should know that the funds you've been receiving while in school will stop or slow once you've graduated. Because, to people, you're old enough to fend for yourself. 

If you have a business idea that you need capital for, you need to start saving for it. Capital that you gather yourself doesn't accrue interest. If you want to further your education after school, you need to save for it. Your parent or relative might not be open to paying for your continuing education. Even surviving well after you graduate, before you get a job, requires cash. It's best to start gathering it up now. 

6.    To Survive Bouts of Unemployment

If you don't already have a job waiting for you after school, you probably may not get a job as soon as you graduate. It's hard to live comfortably as a new graduate with savings talk less of being a fresh graduate without savings. Your savings can keep you afloat while you hunt for a job.


How to Save as a Student

We've analyzed the most important reasons for saving as students. You can start saving as your alerts come. Or you can choose a more focused, dedicated way of saving. Whichever way you choose, it's hard for people who've never saved to start saved to begin conserving their money. To ease your way into saving culture, here are a few methods to save more money as a student.

1.      Create a Budget

At the beginning of the month, you are getting alerts, feeling great and thinking of how the money would be spent. That's all well and good until it's the sixteenth, you're broke, and you have no recollection of how all that money was spent. You need a budget.

A budget will help you plan your money better and make sure you still have money left over to save. Write down all the essential things you'll need to buy in a week or month. Give yourself a bit of extra spending money. Saving shouldn't choke you or make you go hungry. To help you stay on track, you can even download an app that'll help you keep track of how much you're spending.

 

2.    Take Up a Side Job or Hustle

Some people don't get enough money to live on, talk less of save. These people live on what some of us buy data with. If you're not making enough, even though you desperately want to keep the money for your future, you might not be able to. The only way out is to get a side hustle.

Luckily, you're in a university environment. There are always several events going on. You can become an usher. If that doesn't work, you can become a brand influencer, hypeman (or woman) or even sell something. There are opportunities.  You just have to keep your eyes open and your ears keen.

3.    Open a Savings Account

This seems like a no-brainer, but some people prefer to keep their savings with them or in a traditional savings box, “kolo”. The worst method of saving is giving someone your money to save for you. It's a dangerous practice because that person can quickly disappear and the chances of finding him/her even with the interference of police are meagre.

It's better to simply save in a known financial institution. These institutions have rules, and they have properties invested in Nigeria. They do business based on people's trust, so per chance that something happens to your money because of them, they'll reimburse you because any whiff of a scandal can damage their business.

You can save in any bank or even a savings app.  There are many safe savings applications you can engage to store your savings. You can even lock your savings away so you won't be able to spend it impulsively. You also get paid interest that increases as your savings swell.
 


4.    Spend Responsibly

If you plan to start saving, unnecessary spending must stop. This is directly related to budgeting. You have to plan where your money goes or else, it will disappear, and you won't even remember how it got finished.

5.    Set Financial Goals

It's important to have a finish line. Whatever you're saving for, estimate the amount you'll need and then plan how you'll meet that goal. It's always easier to keep going when you can see the finish line.

6.    Establish an Emergency Fund

Life is unpredictable. It's best to have a small emergency fund for any surprise bills or payments. You can even open a separate account for it. If an unexpected incident occurs and money is needed, you'll be able to supply it without delay.

Conclusion

No matter who you are, student, graduate or worker, it's not easy to save. Like with all things, if you save too much money to live, then you'll suffer. Save for the future, yes, but in amounts, that'll allow you to live today.

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