If one of your resolutions was to save more this year, how far have you gone in fulfilling this goal six months down the road? Have you been able to stick to your goal or are you yet to start? For those that are yet to start implementing their savings goals, it is never too late to start despite having already lost six months of the year.
Paul Munyaneza, a financial expert in Kigali, says it is always hard for those who are just starting out to save for the first time, adding that others are never consistent in their savings plans due to various challenges. The expert adds that it takes more than one’s need to remain committed and requires sacrifice and associating with the right people to support and encourage you along the way.
“Everyone wants to save, accumulate money and invest. Though many people set savings goals and even draft plans, like saving Rwf30,000 every month, to help them fulfill this dream, remaining consistent is a huge challenge,” he adds.
How to stay focused
Just a few will maintain their saving targets from the beginning of the year to the end, the challenges notwithstanding.
How then can one stay focused and save consistently as planned at the beginning of the year? Discipline and commitment are the key to fulfilling and staying focused on your savings goal, according to Munyaneza.
Edigold Monday, the managing director Crane Bank, says having a budget will save you from the temptation of overspending and ensures consistent saving.
She notes that whatever salary or income one gets, they can be able to save and still cater for all their other basic needs.
Besides, once one realises what they want to achieve in life, it becomes easier for them to stick to their saving plan.
Stanley Mukasa, the entrepreneurship programme manager at Akilah Institute for Women, says opening up a saving account or joining a scheme at work is important for one to achieve their goal of accumulating savings.
“Instruct your HR to deduct at source whatever amount you want to save and deposit into your account with workplace savings scheme. This way, you will not be tempted to withdraw the money before a certain period elapses,” he advises.
To overcome the challenge of overspending, Munyaneza says one should avoid groups that are not supportive of their savings objective. In case of peer pressure, especially for young people, learn how to minimise expenditure and avoid a lifestyle that will compromise your target, he adds.
He opines that those without a saving plan usually end up spending their money on things they hadn’t budgeted for. “But coming up with a good plan will help you avoid such unnecessary expenditure,” he says.
For those who have not faltered in their savings plans this year, it is important to devise ways that will help you to stick to your objective in the remaining six months.
Monday says one can remain financially disciplined and save, regardless of their income level.
“The logic behind saving is understanding that the future starts today or yesterday and not tomorrow. This will help you stay focused and build your savings,” she notes.
However, Mukasa believes that saving with a goal in mind is the best strategy for anyone who wants to remain consistence.
“It’s hard to sustain savings if you don’t have a goal or a big reason why you forego some expenditure. This reinforces savings objective toward sustainable direction,” he notes.
One also needs to set a realistic amount they can save at a time. Mukasa explains that sustained savings are always better than a huge one-time saving deposit. For instance, he says, if one saves a lot of money at once at find it hard to make ends meet over the coming month, they can easily be tempted to forego the practice.
“This will instead create a chain of small debts that will in turn force one use their next pay to clear the debts. Therefore, it is crucial to run a monthly cash flow forecast. Though this habit takes a lot of time to adapt, it ensures planned expenditure given a specific income,” he adds.
Munyaneza says saving is important as it is one of the ways to safeguard one’s financially future. In addition, in cases of emergencies, one has what they can fallback to and solve the challenge. That’s why everyone must save a fraction of their income and continue the practice over time to grow their savings.
Monday says one must stick to their plan to stay focused on their savings plan.
She also advises against leading a lifestyle that will hurt your savings goal, saying it does not help to try to “keep up appearances” due to peer pressure.
Avoid such groups and spend your time meaningfully by learning more about personal finance and money management, she adds. Where necessary, seek advice from financial experts. Remember, embracing a savings culture will help grow the country’s savings and bank deposits.
How I did it
Peace Tumusiime, a resident of Remera, started saving using “saving boxes” in 2014.
“I could deposit all coins I went home with into box. After one year, I had collected Rwf180,000 in savings, which encouraged me to open up a savings account in Bank of Kigali last year. I now save Rwf80,000 per month,” she says.
Tumusiime, however, says it is sometimes ‘tricky’ to stick to your savings because of emergencies like sickness.
Felicien Hirwa, a businessman and Association of Microfinance Institution of Rwanda publicist, previously never saved even a single penny from his salary.
He was, however, forced to rethink when he realised that he needed to buy a house. So, this prompted him to start saving mid-last year in order to afford his dream house.
Hirwa narrates that though he faced a challenge of inconsistence, especially over the last six months due to unplanned costs, he is optimistic.
He adds that one needs to engage financial experts and associate with like-minded people to help them stay focused on their savings goal.