During the weekend I had a #snapvlog session on Snapchat about an Ad I came across in the National dailies. It was on a pizza fast food restaurant, in Accra. The prices were GHS28 ($7.09) for one , two for GHS45 ($11.39) and four for GHS60 ($15.19).
Staring at it for some time made me realize, that was a lot of money. If a visit there for a person costs GHS28, then going there for five times costs GHS140 ($35.44). That’s way too much money to spend on junk food. Let’s be real, most people go to such fast food restaurants more than they read their Bibles.
There are so many healthier options that are way less expensive to choose from. On the vlog I made an analogy using a plate of gari and beans (Cassava flakes on Black Eyed Peas sauce in palm oil with fried ripe plantain). Which costs just GHS4 ($1.01) a plate, meaning the price you pay for one plate of pizza can afford you seven meals of gari and beans. Not to mention the health benefits that come with it, relative to that of the flatbread, tomato sauce and cheese.
Also a bag of building cement costs about GHS34 ($8.61). Meaning, if you add close to GHS10 ($2.53) you can afford two bags of cement with the price of a meal for four.
I understand there are different classes within society. Some can legitimately afford without a pinch but others need to go all out to afford. But here’s a quick thought, if you keep your money instead of spending whether you’re rich or poor, does it make you reduce or increase your overall wealth? It does, even by a microscopic margin.
Some will argue that they make enough money a month so eating out doesn’t affect them. Unfortunately you’re lying to yourself. It will be helpful if you use the analysis above as a template for anything you plan using for money for. Weigh its pro’s and cons, after which you ask yourself what you’re getting in return. If the bad outweighs the good, just do not move on with that decision.
To help you either maintain your current wealth or generate more income, here are 5 easy ways to make money whiles you do not work.
1| Investing In Yourself
Spending money on yourself is keen to saving you a lot of money and from a lot of mess. This is spending money on resources that help build your capacity. Buying books around what you want to develop. If improving your vocabulary or feeding your imagination isn’t a priority, I suggest novels and fictions should be out of the list.
(Auto)biographies, motivational series, religion, science, art and financial books are great genres to choose from. Attending meetups, conferences, get together and other similar events is a great way to self invest.
Not all events are relevant at a particular period of time. Let’s say you want to meet a public figure, make sure you get tickets to a private event where they will be but there will not be much people so that you can get enough time and attention to interact with them. You do not expect to see a CEO at the mall going to watch a movie, you also do not expect to see your “turn up” friends at a networking cocktail for executives. Define your reasons for going to certain places.
Grooming is very important, you are addressed by how you dress. Neither is it a ticket to for a shopping spry though! buy what you need and learn to rock what you have. Making sure your clothes are neat, smelling good and well worn is the first step to winning the admiration of anybody.
2| Saving The Little You Have
This approach has been in existence for thousands of years now, it even has mentions in the Bible, lol. The benefits of putting some money aside cannot be over emphasized enough. But most often we tend to stop after a short period of time or do not do it at all.
I started saving seven years ago and haven’t regretted any single time I put money aside, though some were painful experiences. The one reason why we do not save money is usually with the excuse that something came up or we used the money for something relatively important yet not budgeted for.
Make a budget and create enough room for any unexpected expenses. What this does is, at the end of that period if you spent within your budget you will still have extra money to save and if you exceeded your budget you will not eat into your savings. Never not make a tight budget, it stresses you out and doesn’t give you enough encouragement to save. Often saving with a purpose or a goal gives you enough motivation to put that money down.
At times we spend the saved money faster than we even come about it, making our efforts vain. I used to have the same problem until I opened a savings account. You can do same with an accredited financial institution, preferably a bank. This reduces the likelihood of you spending your savings and also helps to either increase or maintain the worth of your deposit.
The interest paid does make your money grow over night, it rather helps to main your money’s worth. What GHS2 ($0.51) can buy today may not be able to buy in a month or two. The only disadvantage with saving in an institution is access to your money, all institutions have their individual terms of service.
3| Buying Treasury Bills
This is basically lending your money to the government on a defined short-term basis. Usually from 91-365 days, may differ depending on the country or terms. After the specified days are over, the government returns your money to you with interest specified when you opted in.
It is like having a savings account but this time the money in it will be loaned out to the government and you’ll get higher interest. After maturity you are at liberty to withdraw either your principal and interest, roll both over (loan again) or just roll the principal.
It is considered one of safest ways of investing whiles yielding high returns because your interest paid is within a defined bracket and the government will surely not run away with your money.
4| Taking Part In Mutual Funds
This is a group of people who bring their money together to invest in bonds, stocks and other securities. Each individual will own a portion of the fund depending on the percentage they invest. Like the stock market, members make money from dividends and increase in stock price.
If your fund starts to sell securities, It will increase the value of the capital asset that gives your share a higher worth than the original purchase price. You can request for your investment to be converted to cash at any time.
The disadvantages range from getting the right professionals to manage the fund to how you will pay them, these play a role in how much gains you realize from the fund. Also selling securities triggers the capital gains tax.
The risk is higher as compared to treasury bills and the savings account. Buying a mutual fund is easy, most banks have their line of mutual funds with stated terms which are flexible.The minimum investment is small and most companies also have automatic purchase plans whereby little amounts can be invested on a monthly basis.
5| Being Minimal In All You Do
Let’s face it, we do not use everything we own. Having the latest Iphone and being broke isn’t the wisest thing to do, why don’t you buy a phone that performs your desired functions and invest the money into something else. Having street credit with an empty pocket is like having none at all!
One trick I use to help cut my spending is writing down the functions of what I want to buy, research on prices online and have a fair idea which ones I want to buy. I mostly not buy from big expensive shops because their prices are usually hiked.