Saving tips; ways you can save more income every month

 

Smart ways to budget your salary and save more

Saving is not an easy undertaking for many people. However, with the right saving tips, you could be able to save more of your income. With many demands to meet and low incomes, cultivating a saving habit can be a big struggle. However, it is very important as it is sometimes the only way you can be able to survive in the kind of volatile and unstable world we live in today.

There are many reasons why you could be finding it difficult to save and some of these could include;

You earn a low income compared to the lifestyle you live; with few jobs and more job seekers in the Ugandan job market combined with a struggling economy, you are bound to find yourself in a job that pays you so little compared to your qualifications and kind of lifestyle you live or would wish to live. It is very difficult to save when all the salary you get is often spent paying bills. However, you can go around this by simply trying to live a lifestyle that your income can handle.

You are in debt; for one reason or another, you could have been forced to get a loan from a bank or a friend that has led you to debt. This means that the extra money you could have saved will go to paying these debts. Avoid getting loans unless it is actually an emergency. If you can avoid this situation it can help you save more.

You spend money on things you do not need; if you do not really need it, do not spend money on it. It is okay to buy a new cloth or a new sofa set but ensure that you have actually planned for it and purchasing it does not encroach on your savings. Buying things you do not need at the expense of saving some money is not always wise.

You do not plan your spending or stick to your spending plan; even when you have bills to pay and new things to purchase, you should be able to be able to save if you plan well and stick to the plan. The reason you may be finding it difficult to save is because you actually spend money on things you did not plan for in the first place, or simply spend money without planning how you are going to spend it.

You have a “live in the moment” mentality; when you are always looking to live in the moment without thinking of what could happen in your future, you often do not care about saving for the future but will often spend all your money the moment you get it. This mentality also encourages you to impulsively purchase things you do not need.

You procrastinate too much; each month, you always say that you will start saving some money the next month but when that month comes, you find a reason to push the saving resolve to the next one. Stop procrastinating, begin saving today.

Despite the hindrances you could face, it is important that you try and save some of your income every month. Saving has a number of benefits such as;

Saving enables you to become financially independent; many people hope to own their own business and not have to work for other people. The first step towards this goal is to save money enough to start your business and maintain it. Without savings, chances are high you will not be able to have capital to help you start your business and become financially independent.

Saving enables you to have extra money in case of emergencies; you or someone close to you could become ill and you need money to treat them. This is where the savings could come in handy when you do not have enough money to spend on medication.

Saving enables you to get that dream car or house you may have been yearning for; many times you could be yearning to get something big that is expensive which could be a house, car to mention but a few. The best way to get money to purchase such expensive things without straining yourself too much is by saving a small amount of money over a long period of time.

Saving enables you to avoid debt; should you have an emergency or want to purchase a new car, you will not have to borrow money from someone if you have your savings. Borrowing money comes with its disadvantages such as having to pay more money in terms of interest rates. The best way to avoid debt is to simply save.

Saving enables you to survive even after losing a job; your company is downsized and you have to leave your job or perhaps you have reached your retirement age and are asked to leave. If you have not saved up any money, chances are high you will find it very difficult to sustain the lifestyle you are used to during that time and might wind up in debt. Your savings should be able to help you get through the situation as you find your footing

Saving enables you to live a healthier and happier life; saving has emotional benefits as well. For example, you do not have to worry about your future or about handling any unforeseen circumstances because you have all that catered for.

Now that you know the advantages of saving, how then can you begin to cut down on your expenses and save more?

Make a budget; it is important to have a financial plan in place that could be long term or short term. This helps you to prioritise your expenses, guides you on how much money to spend and save. Without a plan, you are bound to blindly spend your money and not save any in the long run. A plan directs you and helps you keep within your limits.

Set realistic saving goals; after making your budget, set saving goals that you can manage. For example, you could say that at the end of every month, you have to save at least 10% of your salary. Setting such goals encourages you to save. Be sure to make new and higher goals should be able to attain the set goals to help you grow.

Plan to save first before you spend; the mistake many people make is that they plan to spend before saving some money. Should you do this, chances are high you will consider saving as a non-priority and will not mind encroaching on your set savings. Make saving your first priority and then take care of any other bills or debts you have to pay after subtracting the money to be saved.

Track your spending and balance regularly; knowing exactly what you have spent money on and how much you are remaining with enables you to further plan for the money you have. This helps you not to exceed what you have to spend since you know exactly how much you have.

By tracking on what you spent your money on, you are able to assess whether you really put your money to good use and if not how to better use it.

Have more than one bank account; you could have two bank accounts that is; one allocated to spending and another for saving or you could have more than two that could be grouped in terms of; home bills, savings or transport. Whichever accounts you choose to have, try to ensure you have a strict savings account without an ATM card. Some people go as far as asking the bank to deny them any access to their saving account for some period of time while others have standing orders permitting their bank to take cut some amount of money off their salary and deposit it into their savings account every month. This will further discipline you and help you cultivate the saving habit.

Find more ways to earn extra money; it could be by using your talent to earn money, having a side job, working extra hours or working harder to get bonuses or commission at work. If you can, finding other ways to help you earn money apart from your main job could help you get more money to save.

Live within your means; do not strive to have the most expensive designer clothes or the most expensive car that you cannot afford. Attempting  to live your richer friend’s lifestyle could cost you when it comes to saving money. Buy clothes, rent a place and go to recreation places you can afford and will not unnecessarily stretch your budget. Live within your means and lead a lifestyle your income can support.

Spend wisely on food; when it comes to spending on food consider buying groceries and cooking food for yourself rather than eating out. Eating out can be quite expensive yet you can prepare a meal for yourself and save more.

Spend wisely on entertainment; this could be cable television, a concert or going out with your friends. Whatever it is, ensure your recruitment activities do not take up a lot of your income as they are not as urgent. Keep them minimal and within your budget.

Spend wisely on transport; one of the main expenses people incur is transport that could be in terms of fuel costs or transport fares. You can reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel or transport by taking the company van if the company you work for provides it, using a bus instead of a motorbike or choosing hours when there is less traffic to drive your work.

Spend wisely on communication; you could be spending way too much on purchasing call bundles or data when you do not necessarily need it. Be wise to buy cheap airtime bundles if you are the kind that regularly needs to make calls. If you are able to access wifi regularly, there is no need for you to buy daily data bundles. All this can help you save money.

Be careful when choosing insurance; although insurance plays a role in helping many people during unforeseen circumstances, be careful what type of insurance policy you pick and objectively assess whether you need it in the first place or not. For example, if you are the kind that does not regularly fall sick, having expensive medical insurance would not be wise.  

Recycle your old possessions and use or sell them; instead of throwing away your old treasures such as clothes or electronics, look at recycling them and reusing them or simply selling them to friends or putting them up on an online store. This helps you to both save and earn more money that could increase your savings.

Control your emotions; some people deal with loneliness or stress by shopping while others are too impulsive and just cannot control themselves from spending too much money they do not have to. Whatever type of emotions drive you to spend more, ensure you are aware of them and find other productive ways to control them rather than draining your income.

If you are an impulsive buyer, take at least 48 hours before you can purchase anything.

Make good use of discount seasons; should you want to purchase things such as clothes, phones, electronics to mention but a few, target seasons when many shops are giving discounts for example during Christmas or Ramadan periods. This helps you to spend less on things you could have spent more on allowing you to save more money.

Say No to unexpected expenses if you can; one of the main reasons you may fail to save is because you continuously entertain unexpected expenses. For example, if someone should ask you lend them some money and you know that it is not within your budget, learn to say no.

Invest wisely; it is not wise to just save money and live it as it is, invest that money and let it grow. This could be in a business or through purchasing shares or money bonds. However, you have to be careful and wise when it comes to investing to avoid losing all your savings.

No matter how little you may earn, saving is not an impossibility. You just have to be disciplined and set your mind to practicing the habit. Do not be discouraged, start saving today!

Salary Increase: How To Ask Your Boss For A Raise.

When and How You To Request For A Salary Increase.

You have diligently served the organization you are working for, and genuinely feel it’s time your employer notices your hard work and increases your salary. However, he does not seem to think about the issue or bring it up. What do you do?

Well, you do not always have to wait for your employer to suggest a salary increment. Taking the first step to request a pay rise could just be what you need to do. However, when and how you do it not only affects whether you will get that salary increment or not but  also by how much your salary could be increased.

     1.    Do you really deserve this salary increase?:

why

Before asking for a salary increase, it is important for you to know whether in fact you really deserve it or not. Here are some pointers you could use.

  • Have you worked for this organization long enough to deserve a salary increment?
  • Is your contribution to the organization substantial to warrant or important that it warranties a pay raise?
  • Is your employer’s or organization’s financial status in position to allow for a salary increase?
  • What does your organization’s employee handbook really say about salary increment? Is it tied to the evaluation of one’s performance or based on how long one has served the organization?
  • Can you clearly and objectively justify to your employer why you actually think you deserve this salary increase? Do you have metrics or proof actually showing your efficient work?

After answering the above questions objectively you should be able to really know if you actually deserve this raise or not. If you think you deserve the raise, here are the steps you should take in approaching your employer about this issue.

  1.   Choose the right time:

make time

As the common saying goes, “timing is everything”. The best time you could request for a pay rise can fall in the periods below:

  • When the organization is performing well and has marginal profits; even though you may be performing exceptionally, as long as the company is not performing fairly well, your employer may not be in position to offer you the pay raise you want because the organization’s finances do not allow for it.
  • Before your performance appraisal; it is always advisable to request for a salary increase right before your performance appraisal because it gives time for an employer to think about your request and when the appraisal actually happens you are able to further back your request with facts and results from your appraisal.
  • Before the organization’s financial year budget is made; find out when the financial year of your organization begins and be sure to put in your request before it is made so that your pay raise is catered for within the budget. It is not advisable to ask for a pay raise in the middle of the financial year as there may not be any miscellaneous finances left to cater for it.
  • When the organization usually gives out pay raises; does the organization offer pay raises at the end of the year or beginning of the year. Find out exactly when that is for your organization and ensure you request for it around that time.
  • The employer’s mood; whatever time you choose to have the salary conversation with your employer ensure they are in the right mood or state of mind to have the conversation. Do not approach your employer when he has just lost a client or has just had a disagreement with someone. They may not be in the best mood to talk about such a serious issue in that state of mind.
  1.   Prepare a pay-rise pitch:

pitch

After determining the best time for you to go ahead and approach your employer, prepare what you will most likely say during your conversation with them before you actually approach them. Preparing for a pay-rise pitch helps you clearly explain why in fact you deserve a pay rise.

The best pay-rise pitch should include important aspects such as:

  • How much more would you like to be paid or what percentage increase you would like.
  • Your achievements.
  • Any staff awards or award documents you could have received.
  • Any emails from clients or colleagues commending your hard work.
  • Any metrics or statistics showing your great contribution
  • Any extra duties or responsibilities you may have taken on in the organization.
  • If you salary rate has changed over the years and probably other people in your position are now paid more, have proof of the salary rates according to recent salary surveys.

After coming up with a well organized pay-rise pitch, send it to your employer in a letter before you actually meet them. This will make the meeting much easier and shorter and will also give the employer time to think about your situation objectively.

  1.    Meet the Employer:

meet

After have chosen the right time to meet your employer and have sent them a well written pay-rise pitch the time has now come to have a face to face meeting with your employer about the issue, how do you go about it?

  • Remain polite when addressing your issues.
  • Do not make any threats or become rude should your request be denied, remain composed.
  • Whatever arguments you may make, ensure they are valid and are in line with the pitch you earlier sent expounding more on the points you expressed.
  • Listen to the employer without interrupting them and seek to understand them as well.
  • Answer any questions they may have for you confidently.
  • Focus on the actual reasons related to your performance that warranty you a pay raise. Try not to compare yourself with your colleagues.

In making this request, many fall prey to using wrong statements that often give employers the negative perception of them and simply present them as complaining employees. It is important to stay away from statements such as these:

  • My salary has not been increased since last year.
  • You are overworking me.
  • I am doing the work of five people.
  • I have been here for two years now.
  • I have done everything I was supposed to do as stipulated by my job description. (Have you gone an extra mile to deserve extra pay?)
  • I need a raise because I have so many bills to pay and many other personal issues.
  • I want a raise of 100 million. (Do not ask for a ridiculous amount. Be realistic).
  • But my other colleagues make much more that I do.
  • If you do not give me a raise I am going to quit.
  1.   Be open minded:

open minded

It is important for you to be open minded. Despite the fact that you may deserve to get a salary raise, your employer may not be in position to give it to you because of so many other reasons.

If your request is rejected, do not take it too personally. Accept the employer’s decision and ask for any more clarity or areas you need to improve on to be able to deserve the raise the next time.

Always remember there is a next time. Keep working hard and doing the best at your job.

Here is a conversation between an employee and an employer that could further give you guidance on this.

Never be afraid of requesting for a pay raise. If done at the right time and in the right way, you could just get that salary increase you have been hoping for.  

 

Salary Negotiation Tips; Know Your Worth.

One of the things that employers love to see in an employee, and by extension, a potential employee, is a sense of total self-awareness. Any hint of confusion and being unsure of who you are and most importantly what you want, will immediately decrease your value and worth not only in the eyes of an interviewer, but also in the eyes of any other human being.

That is why your self-confidence is of great importance. Confidence comes as a result of knowledge. What I have found out in my years of coaching people and in my previous years of recruiting people is; that a hoard of people do not know much about themselves. A lot of people have crammed things in school, and have brilliant minds on concepts and academia, but they lack one very important thing that is a great ingredient for success: Self-awareness.

“So, can you tell us what your salary expectations for this job are?” This is one of the questions that is worst performed. And yet this question can be a make or break for you to get that job. Its cousin question (assuming that you have answered the first question) is a pointed and introspective one: “Why do you think we should pay you that much?”

The answers that come out of this second question have made people lose opportunities in their droves.

Some people say, “I think that will be enough to pay for my rent and food and upkeep” Wrong answer.

Others would say, “That amount of money will make me comfortable because even now I am not earning anything” Very bad answer

Still others would say; “I think that is what my value is” Wrong answer.

When the interviewer is asking you “Why we should pay you that much”, they could be looking for either one of these two things or both of them:

  • Your contribution to their goals (that’s their main reason for hiring you)
  • Your sense of self-worth (that speaks of your aptitude, focus, passion and self-awareness)

Any other answer that is away from these two is nothing they want to know or even hear about.

Today, I want us to look carefully at your self-worth. Your motive for knowing your self-worth is not so you can get a job. No. Your motivation for knowing your self-worth as part of your self-awareness is so that you can be a success in this life. Someone who has looked past a job to the future appears to be more organized to an interviewer than the one who is not.

Consequently, the interviewer looks at you as a thinker, an organized person, a leader, and a focused potential employee. In one of our articles, we have said that it is important for you to know your “Why” of existence. That you should search out your purpose and find it. I Coached someone some months ago and admonished him (after we clarified his Life Purpose) that he should always introduce himself and state his personal vision. It turns out that soon enough, there was an opportunity for him to attend an interview.

In that interview, he told the panel his vision as I had instructed, when they asked him to “tell us about you”. As fate would have it, he was not qualified in terms of skills for the job he was being interviewed for. There was someone else who had better skill sets than he did. However, when it came to make a decision on who to hire, this panel hired the man with a vision—the man with self-awareness.

Another aspect of your self-awareness is your worth.

  • Your worth is not the total amount of money that your parents and guardians have spent on your education
  • Your worth is not directly proportional to your academic qualifications themselves. There are some people with no academic papers but have a very high value on their worth
  • Your worth is not linked to the total amount of effort that you are putting in a job.

Contrary to popular belief, your worth is personal! What you value yourself needs to be broken down into Dollars per Hour. (Now I am not talking about net-worth here) I am talking about self-value/worth. I have a firm belief that your worth is directly linked to your dreams, aspirations and desires of the person you want to be, the things you want to do (making a difference on earth), and the things you desire to have/own. Many people do not know this. The process of knowing all these things is called, Goal-Setting.

So once you have a figure for all this things (an approximation at least and a researched figure at best), you divide it by the number of working years you have left. That should give you the total amount of income that you need per year. Now, notice that I talked about income, not salary. Salary is just one of the ways you can have income.

Next, divide the figure you get by 12. That should give you how much income you need each month. If you divide what you get by 8 (working hours), that should give you the amount of money that you are worth in an hour.

So imagine your friend has the details of their worth per hour. The two of you attend an interview and you are asked those two salary questions. Your friend says what she is worth per hour. She goes ahead and says her intention of giving her all to contribute towards that income. She also says that she is quoting a particular figure because she knows that it is commensurate of the value that she is bringing to the organization.

When it comes to you, let’s say that you do not know what to say. Let’s say that you haggle around and say that the organization “Should give me what it sees fit”. Let’s also suppose that you have high academic qualifications than your friend.

And finally, let’s say you are the one hiring. Whom do you think should be hired?

“What Salary Do You Expect?”, How to Handle this Common Interview Question.

In 2013, I was tasked with raising a field team that would help my client move their product to another level. This was in Ghana. Of course one of the major things that you want as an employer is to get the right crop of people that you can work with. If you can solve that million dollar conundrum, you are already on the path to success.

One of the toughest questions that many interviewees grapple with is, “So what is your salary expectation?” And I can still remember who one interviewee poorly handled this question and ultimately lost the opportunity: He absolutely refused to let us in on his preference of a salary, even after we made the question easier by resorting to ask him select a range.

It was exasperating and all I wanted was to see him out of the interview room! Frankly, to date I cannot remember how he performed on the rest of the questions in the interview. Of course he was qualified according to his academic papers, but this haggling about his salary expectation is what I will always remember.

So how do you answer that question?

Some years back, a new organization was looking for a Country Manager in Uganda. There big preference was someone from Kenya. I qualified. I had experience leading teams in Uganda for over two years. I checked very many boxes that they were gauging me on. Finally (and that question always comes last), they asked me what my salary expectation was. Being naive, I said USD 3,500. The response of the interviewer told me immediately that I had under-quoted. Needless to say, I did not get that opportunity.

The theme that is coming out of this is simple: Organizations have a salary scale or a rewarding system for which all their employees are compensated. At some level, they need to know if your expectation is within that range or not.

Though it looks such a simple ask for the organization, the answers given or the struggles that the interviewees face answering this question normally reveals (in retrospect) some important aspects of the candidate that has not yet been exposed by their academic qualifications or other general questions.

You can have a very good blend of skill sets that the interviewer is looking for, but when you do undervalue yourself by quoting a figure much less than what they expected, you turn out to be cheap. That consequently translates to the fact that probably you might not have so much to give anyway, and that is why you are quoting that way. As a result, all your stellar performance is thoroughly affected by this undervaluing and therefore your chances of getting that job even though you are qualified for it become so slim.

Some other people normally quote a figure way above what the organization expects to pay you. This could be OK depending on your own valuation of yourself. In another article, we shall talk about how to know your value as a human being, consequently dictating your ask during interviews. I have seen countless people turning down job opportunities solely because they know that what the organization is offering is not worth them troubling themselves to take up the job in the first place. And believe me; the interviewing panel normally has lots of respect for such people. In fact at some instance, some enter into negotiations with them to see if they can agree to work together. Now, if you are not so sure of yourself, do not get into the risk of over-quoting your salary expectation, because you might lose the job. The reason as to why those who quote above the company expectations risk not getting employed is that the potential employer feels like you will not be fully engaged to work, especially if they want someone to occupy that job for a good season.

However, if you are confident of yourself about your value and expectation, you have the power to change the control center of these negotiations: from the panel having the power, to you having the power. People of this nature normally have nothing to lose, and they are there although not so many.

Let’s try to get into your head and see what is going on as you are attending this interview:

  • Probably you have been unemployed for long and this opportunity is one you do not want to pass
  • Probably you are so desperate for a job that this opportunity is that of a lifetime and you do not want to lose it.

You might be nervous and just want to get the job without going through that question. There is a simple way of going about it: Research.

Try as much as possible to get some inside information on the details of the job that you are being interviewed for. Ask around from mentors and coaches to help you figure out how much that organization pays for the vacant job. Even if it is a new job, try to find out what salary scales the task involved could be in the current job market.

If you cannot get a definite answer, then we need to resort to these two things:

  • Your Value: How much are you worth in an hour and why?
  • Your potential for growth: Do you need this job? From the looks of things, is there an opportunity for you to grow and build your career, the salary notwithstanding?

I think the safest thing to do if you are not sure of a figure is to use a range. Just say what would be acceptable to you as the minimum (but do not go so low) and what would be accepted to you as the maximum. Chances are that you might be within the range that the employer wants. However, there is another bigger question that is normally asked after you have quoted: Why do you think you are worth that much? Let’s deal with that question in another article.