Hello everyone, and welcome to the very first financial topic on the Cairo Contra Spectrum! Aside from diving into the fiction world and bringing you stories of myth and magic, I’ll be your resident financial expert (since it’s my job in the real world), bringing you the latest in the economic and business world. I’ll be tackling various issues ranging from how to monitor one’s budget on a monthly basis to what the economic situation is really all about in Egypt.
Don’t worry, all those big words you see on the news that financial experts use (like: assets, liabilities, stakes, CODs, etc.) will be simplified as much as possible to help bring you closer to the world of finance and economics, and help you understand what the hell is going on around us.
Today’s piece is going to be a real treat!
Saving money – the bane of every youngster’s existence! Imagine this: you walk by a shop (for me: bookstores), and you find something that appeals to your taste. You decide to check your bank account: “5.50 EGP available in balance”. You go home wishing you were a drug dealer while watching Narcos…
We all go through this – whether students or working young adults. Every once in a while we want to indulge ourselves with something we really want, but end up realizing we don’t have the money for it. We tend to blame it on high prices, which partly are to blame, but the other part is that: we don’t save money. Once we receive our money at the start of the month or when our parents give it to us (in the case of students who don’t work), we tend to go into this euphoria-like state where we’re so happy about having money, we tend to spend almost all of it without saving a piaster! When the time comes and we need the cash, whether for an emergency or self-indulgence, we find our bank accounts as dry as the desert.
We need to change this mentality. The old saying is true “white piaster can save you on a black day” and here’s how we can save up money in a few easy steps:
1. Less eating out, more money in
You don’t have to go out every weekend with your gang of friends and eat out. You can plan your month ahead. You have 4 weeks every month; 2 of which, you can have fun with your friends. The other two weeks of the month, you can either chill at home or go out AFTER you’ve eaten at home. That way, you would have saved up money and stayed healthy for crying out loud!
2. 30% = 100%
This is an equation I go by in my monthly budget preparation. Saving up 30% of my income guarantees 100% of my money. For those who earn a steady monthly income (or even a temporary boost in finances for students), you need to determine a certain percentage of your income to save. The standard common practice is to save up to 30% of your income. That way, when the time comes and you need to cash in, you’ll find 100% of the money needed for an emergency or buying that top you always wanted.
3. Keep an eye out on your wallet
This is a topic that requires an article all for itself (which will be tackled in future issues). Simply put: it’s very okay and quite responsible to monitor the cash that goes out of your pocket and into the services or things you buy. So, for example, if you go out and spend 1000 EGP today, when you go home (or even on your phone), record what those 1000 EGP were spent on. You can do this either on a notepad, an excel sheet, or on phone apps (we’ll talk about that later). That way, you can cut back on unnecessary items or services you’re using and save more money or redirect it to more necessary things.
4. Credit cards are no friends of ours
A lot of us rely on credit cards to temporarily fill in a financial gap, but truth be told, they’re a double-edged weapon. If you use credit cards, you might run the risk of not being able to cover the amount withdrawn and, therefore, will find yourself not being able to save up to cover these expenses. Use credit cards ONLY WHEN IT’S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and ONLY WHEN YOU KNOW YOU CAN PAY IT BACK fully without disrupting your savings’ flow. Simply put: don’t use your credit card to buy a 5000 EGP suit and say it’s necessary. You can always buy a suit that’s half that amount and still of good quality, which brings me to my last point.
5. Shop responsibly
Again, this requires another article in and of itself. We can’t go all cavemen on ourselves and not buy things, but instead of wasting 500 EGP on those shoes, you can actually find similar ones for half the price and with good quality if you only take the time to search. Don’t buy the first thing you see, take your time to visit multiple shops, scour the prices, and make your comparisons before you decide. Believe me, with today’s prices, shopping is no longer a walk in the park and your savings could do without the splurging.
Well, I hope you found this article useful, and remember, saving money is not a dork move, but rather a responsible one. If you have any finance-related topic in mind that you want me to tackle in upcoming pieces, just give me a shout out below or on our Facebook page and I will see right to it!
What do you think?
There plenty of financial tips & tactics out there. What are yours? Tell us in the comments below.