How To Manage Your Savings

Being in possession of some savings in whatever form is an aspect that most cultures try to inculcate in individuals from an early age, that’s why you must have come across the saying ‘save for a rainy day’. Being a widely preached topic, it’s quite easy to assume that we all save and hence in the advent of a rainy day we will all have some huge shelter to run onto. This is not the case as amazingly few people can proclaim to have enough savings that would run them for the next calendar year, God forbid, if they got paralyzed to the point of not working at all. On the other hand, most people find it quite hard to manage their ‘savings’. How then can we solve these two dilemmas?

All of us have earnings, it doesn’t matter the source. Mark you, even a beggar has earnings. At the end of the day each of us puts on his or her table some money. Out of the earnings comes our expenditure. A wise consumer will try to curtail his expenses so that at least 10% of the earnings are left over as savings. However before you embark on a saving exercise, ensure you know vividly the reason as to why you are putting away that money, are you doing so to acquire a home, land? Start up a venture and become your own boss? It has to be noted that what you decide to put away as savings should be reasonable, implying that it should leave you in a state that doesn’t force you to encroach on them before their maturity for your definite purpose. If you quit smoking to save you had better thought twice! A consumer who quits smoking for instance to save Ugshs 5000 a month and hardly produces this in hard cash is truly not saving.

Shamim works as a shop attendant down town at Luwum Street earning approximately Ugshs 350,000 a month. She is not married and that simply means that she foots her own bills. Her expenditure list entails; house rent, food, transport, and of course the miscellaneous expenses like airtime. Shamim could say ‘Bano tibansasula burungi’ and possibly spend all her earnings. She could also take another approach to the whole puzzle by sitting down and carefully budgeting her expenses taking a view of budgeting that would target to justify her expenses, what the learned accountants call ‘Zero Based Budgeting’. Such a view to justify her expenditure would entail her questioning the amount of rent she pays per month. She would probably ask… Am I getting the true value for my money? In addition she could ask… Are there cheaper places but of a relative quality. If I spend a lot on my purchases, would a bulk purchase, for instance, of sanitary towels earn me a discount? It’s out of careful budgeting that Shamim can claim herself savings.

Assuming Shamim is prudent enough on her spending and is able to have a surplus of at least Ugshs 20,000 a month, how could she manage this so that in five years’ time she will have garnered enough to develop her own start up in say jewelry? Meaning in five years she hopes to have saved Ugshs 1,200,000.

What if she opts for these solutions…? 

Join a savings group where she could deposit the Ugshs 20,000 each month. Of recent more regulated similar groups have come up in the form of companies and all Shamim could do is probably buy shares in such.

She could also direct all her earnings to her bank account and consequently issue the bank with an Ugshs 20,000 standing order, which is deposited to her savings account. This reduces the risk of Shamim spending beyond her stipulated budget. This approach is quite important for ladies that have always found themselves guilty for impulse buying.

In addition, she can still approach an insurance company such as NIC Uganda and set up a personal pension scheme with them. She would then honor her monthly commitments by depositing Ugshs 20,000. This has the advantage of her money being risk free unlike in situations where by she deposits the money in a savings account and ends up withdrawing it in case of emergency.

Shamim has the liberty to choose which plan to opt for but as an expert I would advise her to make arrangements with her insurance company and have her personal pension plan in place as this would clearly fast track her dream to be self-employed.