With the seventh month of 2023 behind us, we are closer to the end of the year than we are to the beginning.
An eventful financial year that saw economic recoveries globally following a lacklustre 2022.
In Nigeria however, with inflation hitting 22.35% in June; the highest since 2005, harsh economic realities are being felt by the ordinary Nigerian.
On the plus side, most Nigerians have been forced to take their personal finances seriously not as a matter of convenience but of necessity.
Many Nigerians who have several vehicles soon parked some of them at home as it became unrealistic maintaining numerous vehicles with the prevailing pump petrol price.
Some who threw flamboyant ceremonies at the wind of any good news are holding their cash close to their wallets.
Tough times they say, breed tough men(and women of course).
Never has there been a better time to take your personal finance seriously than now. Here are five personal finance tips to help you stay ahead this August.
Take advantage of “ember” sales: Wouldn’t it be wise to put off the purchase of that new appliance till September if you would get a 10% discount?
Retailers and online stores often have sales towards the end of the year as they try to clear inventory and prepare for the new year.
It is not unusual to see as high as a 20% discount during these times. You defer the purchase of some items for now and get them later thereby saving you some extra bucks. You can also keep an eye out for anniversary and Black Friday deals that offer great discounts.
However, resist the urge to get what you do not need simply because they are at a discount.
Have a financial review: Financial mistakes are really difficult to identify in real-time.
Poor habits like overspending could be justified as taking care of yourself.
Impulsive spending behaviour could be blamed on a stressful day or week. However, as they say, the numbers don’t lie. Have a review of your expenses in the last few months? Where has the chunk of your money been going?
What bad spending habits have you developed? Are you living within your means?
A thorough review of your financial numbers would show an objective picture of your financial health.
Start planning for the holidays: During festive periods you hear statements like “Christmas came so early”, “Wasn’t it March some few weeks ago?” and many others that show that time flies especially when no concrete plans are in place.
In this part of the world we do not joke with holidays like Christmas and Salah simply because for some families, this is the only opportunity for a reunion after a long year.
It is not out of place to spend during these periods but it is preferable if you have these expenses well mapped out. How much would travel during the festivities cost? Do you need to cut some expenses now to make more money available for spending?
Are there some activities during these festivities that you may look to remove considering the current economic situation?
Review your investment plan: How is your portfolio performing? With the rebound in stocks and other risky assets this year, most investors are having a positive year. However, some did not see this coming and missed out on the rally party.
With YTD returns as high as 216% for Nvidia and 107.59% for Tesla, it was a profitable first half of the year for tech stocks. Did you see the rally coming? Does your investment plan have metrics for identifying or predicting rallies?
A little tweak in your investment plan and portfolio allocation may help you have better chances of being in high-performing sectors. A great tip is always to look at the interest rates.
With hawkish rates from institutions like the US feds, ECB, and the Bank of England, a rally in risky assets are very unlikely, but for dovish sentiments, as we saw from the beginning of the year, a positive run was expected.
Consider speaking to a financial expert: Many people only see a financial expert when they have been burnt or their investments go south. Ideally, the chronological order should be in reverse.
You should see an expert even when your finances seem to be in order or your investments are doing great. For example, many investors have held on to winning assets for too long and watched returns dwindle.
Simple advice from an expert like scaling out or locking in partials could help maximise profits. Seeing a financial expert is quite similar to routine medical checkups, by the time the symptoms start appearing it is probably too late.