The first quarter of the year is over. It is now prudent to review the goals you set in the new year about your financial status in 2016.
Are you on the right track? If you have backslid, look for ways to get yourself back on the road to success.
For those who have exceeded their projections, give yourself a pat on the back then set even higher goals for the next quarter. Higher targets will make you work harder to prove to yourself that you can actually do it. For example, if you decided to cut down unnecessary expenses by Sh15,000 a month and you have managed Sh18,000 push your figure to say Sh25,000.
An example will be carrying lunch to work three times a week instead of just twice. On average, a meal in a restaurant costs Sh300 minus a soft drink. Sh300 times four weeks, that is already Sh1,200 saved.
You can also cut on the number of times you go drinking with your friends. If you go out every evening for a drink, you can reduce that to four times and eventually to once a week or thereabouts. You will be surprised at how much you save.
Assuming you are now able to have an extra Sh25,000 a month and your plan was a challenge to yourself to see if you can achieve such a feat, what will you do with the money?
• Save it in a sacco: The good thing about this savings scheme is that it is your money and once you have an idea about what you want to do with the savings, you can take a loan and still maintain your initial investment or get your money back if you so wish. You also get dividends every year which become part of your budgeting.
• Buy shares: The share market fluctuates often. But there are companies that are solid where you can buy shares and ‘forget’ about them for years. If you buy many shares, the annual dividends will sort out any financial hiccups you may be having then.
• Get a loan: You only take a loan if you have a plan. What do you want to do with the money? Definitely not to treat yourself in a five-star hotel. Not that it is wrong to do so, but the money for such must be planned for and saved towards this end. With Sh25,000 you can comfortably repay a loan without straining your daily life’s comfort.
• Get more shares in your chama: When you take two or three shares, it means you save more and get lump sum three times more than the others. This money, in lump sum, will take care of a project you are struggling with and move it to another level.
• Pay debts: When you know you owe someone money it derails your efforts to move smoothly in your activities. Therefore, this extra money can take care of that.
Now back to those who did not meet their plan. While you can borrow some tips above to grow your finances in the next quarter, first recover the lost ground.
Start by going through your books. Find out where you went wrong. What made you unable to fulfill your goal or what ate into your budget? Find ways to seal this hole so that for the next quarter you start on a clean slate, keeping to your plan on how to save and raise money for the particular projects you have set out to undertake this year. Remember to stick to the timelines.
If it was sickness that made you pinch the money you had put aside for buying a car or plot, there is a way to go around this. Get all the people who matter to you under a medical insurance scheme. While the payment plan for such insurance is flexible, being in such a scheme gives you peace and courage to pursue other things instead of worrying about where to get money in case sickness strikes again.
Fortunately, if you are in a sacco, you will have that extra money – dividends – around this time. Use it to meet your deficit and note down the projects you have to defer because of this gap. Come up with a strategy to recoup the lost money.