JANET MACHUKA; How to cultivate saving habits for financial freedom

Kindly introduce yourself to us.

My name is Janet Machuka, a digital marketing strategist and trainer, brand influencer and content creator. Some of the brands l work for include: Airtel Kenya, Amana Capital, Basic Needs Basic Rights NGO, One Vibe Africa, Sparks Corporate Solutions

I am also a Founder of The ATC Academy that is yet to be launched (Founded from #AfricaTweetChat– one of the largest online twitter chat on digital marketing in Africa.

What drives you in your work?

I am driven by the environment l grew up in and the fact that digital has no boundaries. It has no roofs, no walls, no door, no window. Like yeah! I am free. Moreso, the people around me, especially the critics and the passionate ones within my industry

When it comes to savings,  is there a percentage of one’s income that one needs to save, or people can save what they can afford, including nothing sometimes?

According the experts, Amana Capital for instance, people should save at least 20% of their income! You can actually use this course here to help you know how to go about, knowing what to use and what to save in percentage.

So with this kind of economical constraint we face, how can we discipline ourselves to save?

If you are going shopping, use these four shopping hacks:

  • Only bring the Cash You Need
  • Make a Shopping List
  • Pick Your Shopping Friends Wisely.
  • Find Cheap Deals Online.

What other options are there to save?

To cultivate the saving habit, you can try these habits too;

  • Learn to say NO to some pleasures which drain you financially
  • Lend them money but don’t overdo it. Some never pay back!
  • Don’t overstretch your budget on bills. There’s no need of living in a 3 bedroom house alone yet you are running on loans!
  • Ladies love to look presentable but what’s the essence of looking expensive while your daily upkeep is a mountain to achieve?
  • Put limits to your bank withdrawals. Some people never spend money for wrong things but right which are unplanned for. Putting a hindrance to your bank access can help one raise funds hence plan for future projects from money raised
  • Track your expenses. Be honest with yourself. Are all the expenses worth it? How often do you keep your receipts and follow up on your daily expenses?
  • Conserve your utilities: Switch off electronics if not in use. If it is hot inside, open the windows not the fans.

What do we save for? Can we save for the sake of saving? Or, must we always have a goal that we save towards? 

If you have set goals, you will always know why you are saving. Hence, write down the goals you want to achieve so that you can save for them. This step can help you go about setting your saving goals.

Don’t write a list of 100 goals. You’ll only pressure yourself to a point you might end up inviting depression and eventually other mental health problems in your life. Trust me, you can’t achieve those set goals if you are unhealthy. Hence, set few goals at a time. Once you achieve them, set others

Janet, what if the reason you can’t save is due to family responsibilities. Like you have to pay fees for your little sibling, pay for your parent’s electricity bills etc. How do we navigate this?

That’s understandable but that’s why we have the part where one has to learn ways to raise money to save. Some will pick side hustles, others will choose to let go of some things that waste them money. Some will squeeze whatever they earn, no matter how little, to at least put some amount aside to save little by little.

Sometimes you have to stop offering and supporting some unplanned weddings, baby showers, friends meetups to save. It is about you.

What factors affect the saving habit?

  • How much you earn
  • Your budget on bills and shopping
  • The activities you choose to do (leisure activities)
  • Your friends and family responsibilities
  • Your lifestyle in general.

Is there an element of selfishness that you have to court to go through with savings?

Please, don’t go ahead and try so hard to look the good person when you know you planned that cash for something else. You don’t have to make everyone happy when you are not happy in your heart at the end of the day. Give out if your heart is really willing.

What are the dangers,  if any, of living from paycheck to paycheck?

If the paycheck is rising, that’s amazing. The only danger i can state is, being paid less than your value and you are okay about it because “bills have to be paid!” Find somewhere else, start something from your savings, like a startup or talk to your boss about it.

Some of us have loans everywhere especially the mobile loans. What can you advice those people like us?

Personally, l try so hard not to try them. Avoiding debts is a way of training yourself to live within your limits but you know, sometimes something can come up. You can take debts but take what you can pay back in time. If you don’t have a way, find a way. Learn how to raise more money than just from your job.

So what is your parting shot?

 Learn! Let the financial experts help you if you have a problem to kick off your healthy saving journey to attain your financial freedom. May be what you think you knew will not be enough for you. Subject yourselves to gain knowledge on saving as you practice to cultivate your saving habits.

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