Editor’s Note: This article is the fifth in a series of sponsored posts for the Barclays Savings Challenge. Missed any? Catch up here.
When I started the Barclays Africa Savings challenge in July, I was fully employed and earning a monthly salary. Five months later, a lot has changed. Not just with my mindset, habits and approach to spending and saving money, but also with my living circumstances.
For one thing, I no longer have a steady monthly salary as I recently decided to focus on building up Circumspecte (this website), alongside other personal projects. I’ve also moved back to my home country Ghana. While it’s great to be back among familiar faces, the reality is that times are tough.
In life, as with savings, you sometimes have to do what’s necessary, even when it might not always be comfortable. Taking all this into consideration, the next question is exactly what do I plan to do with my savings?
My last post highlighted some of my milestones from saving over the past year. What I did not mention was the fact that I was also saving for this period of transition. Of course, I applied my newly honed savings skills by estimating what my monthly costs would be and ensuring that I have enough to cover daily and important business expenses for at least six months. Believe me, it’s probably one of few reasons why I’m not pulling my hair out with worry over how I’m going to survive.
Alongside my personal savings targets I created some business savings targets, one of which is to save 50% of all income generated through Circumspecte or 5% of my then-salary – whichever is greater. The remainder, I hope to invest. I’ve been hearing a lot about treasury bills, stocks, and bonds and will be doing more research to determine which option(s) make the most sense for me. I guess you could say I’ve finally learned my lesson and I’m putting my money where my mouth is (go me!).
Will I continue saving after I complete the challenge? Goodness, yes.
If anything, I will need the discipline, money-saving mindset and habits that I have gained through this process now more than ever. Besides, who could revert to old ways after reading inspiring accounts, reminders and tips like the ones some of you shared via Facebook:
“I’ve been following you for sometime now and it helps me very much. I’m doing good financially.” – Ebenezer Sebbinson
“The first [step] is to make money, second is to save money and the third and best is to invest your savings.” – Ausca Martins
“I have started my savings and investment together. I have an investment account which, every month, I contribute only GHC 20 while making my savings regular (every month 10% of my net).” – Osofo Samuel Asante
“Try your very best to at least start saving one tenth of your earnings or income. Trust me, the more money you are able to accumulate the happier your spirit becomes. As time goes on, you will be willing to save more than one tenth of your income because you want to be happier than before.” – Nii Shadoo
“I’m also saving. If I exchange any notes then after whatever coins or below 5 notes I will not use it. I put it in the box and every day I do saving like this.” – Soni Darsh
I don’t know about you, but personally, the Barclays Savings Challenge arrived at the right time and has been the perfect primer to exploring my options for investment and making money work for me.
What about you? What do you intend to do with your savings? Will you continue saving? Why or why not?
Follow the Barclays Savings Challenge and discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your own experience by using the hashtag #AfricaSaves. Visit the Barclays website for more information about their savings account.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.