Given the tough economic mess, Ghanaians have been plunged into by its government. Ghanaians are suffering, and we share with you these 11 ways to circumvent the current economic hardships.
The prevailing economic hardship is global, albeit lesser felt in some economies than others. Developed economies are struggling, with the majority of their citizens experiencing ‘unimaginably’ high interest and inflation rates for the first time in their lives. In most developing and poor countries, the effects are enormous and is resulting in political unrest and instability.
In Ghana, the effect has been seen in energy, food, transport and other economic sectors. The truth is that, similar to the early days of Covid-19, nobody can predict when these troubled times will end. It is an economic mystery.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have predicted that the world may be edging towards a global recession in 2023 with a string of financial crises still lurking. What it means to the ordinary Ghanaian is that things are not going to get any better in the next coming year.
What you must therefore do as a person to survive the current and future economic crises is to adopt methods to manage your finances, both personal and economic.
At this stage understand that some things are within your control and many others are not. So it’ll be for your sanity that you focus on the things you can control, such as your perspective, beliefs, values, actions etc., and let go of the things outside your control, such as the economy, politics, time, the weather etc.
11 ways to circumvent the current economic hardships
Epictetus said, “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens”. Viktor Frankl also said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.
1. Prepare and maintain a budget
A budget is a guide to your income and expenditure. A budget enables you to track your expenses and follow a plan. A budget makes it easier to make your payments as and when they fall due. Overall, a budget puts you on a stronger financial footing for both the day-to-day and the long term. You can’t live a meaningful life without maintaining an effective budget.
Take records of all your income and subtract your monthly expenses from it. Follow this path courageously and you can be able to save money for some of the things that need attention.
Live below your means. If that is too difficult, then live within your means. That is possible. Go through your expenses and identify which ones can be eliminated or reduced to a reasonable amount.
2. Buy Only The Things You Need
The temptation to buy things increases when you have money. If you carefully think about this, you realize that you end up not even using most of them after making the unguarded decision to buy them. Sometimes some of them can be very expensive, but end up in our cabinets or storage rooms until they eventually go waste.
This could have been avoided if we were more critical of our spending habits. This is the time to be measured in your purchases. You should only buy things that are relevant to your current situation. Do not buy anything that does not affect your survival at this period.
3. Cook At Home
Dining out all the time is bad, aside from your finances, it is also bad for your health. You should be able to eat at least some meals at home and treat yourself to a few of those you can’t prepare by yourself, sometimes.
Fortunately for you, as a Ghanaian, most of our meals are not so difficult to prepare and they can be cooked within minutes. One way to save money on food is to try and eat foodstuffs that are in season, and there is no better time to adopt this strategy than this period. Consume more yam, plantain or any other staple that’s in its season. You should also do the same for fruits and vegetables so that you can save money for other contingencies.
The leftovers can be saved in your fridge for the next day. You can also cook and package some of the food to the office for lunch. Eating outside all the time can be very costly and you must take steps to avoid it to save your budget and your health.
4. Save power
Save power to circumvent the current economic hardships. These are difficult times, you can’t afford to be wasteful with your utilities. Barely three months ago, the PURC increased utility tariffs by some astonishing amount, which was met with an outcry from all sectors of the economy. Turn off your TV, sound system, laptop, desktop computer, refrigerator, lights, air-conditioners etc. when they are not in use.
It may sound trivial but the little savings you make on your utilities today could buy your next meal. Sometimes we combine these gadgets and all we do is waste money on power without even realizing it. Make sure that you choose to do one or two at a time, and put off the others if they are not in use.
5. Sell or Park Your Car
As we are learning to minimize our expenditure so that we can be able to survive this turbulent storm, one of the smartest decisions you can make as a person is to park your vehicle or sell it, at least until you can be able to afford this life again. There is no obligation to drive your car even if you can’t afford to.
This is the time to make a bold decision to make for your sanity. Resist the temptation to worry about what people may say or think about you. This is the time to choose your sanity. If your vehicle is not used for making any direct income, then park or sell it, at least until things become stable when you can afford to drive it again.
6. Invest your surplus funds
If you are one of the few fortunate people who still make surplus funds periodically after taking care of your expenses for the month, then you should think of investing that money. Just as interest rates are high for borrowers, it is also quite high for investors. The current Treasury bill rate, the safest form of monetary investment, is over 30%.
Keeping your surplus funds in a savings account won’t be a smart decision, since your bank will loan it to people at an almost 40% interest rate. Investing in Treasury Bills, Fixed Deposit or Mutual Funds won’t be a bad idea. You stand a good chance of making some respectable income from the investment.
7. Exercise Regularly
If you’re not ready, don’t go and waste your money at the gym. Your friend just went to register so you think you should do the same, if she quits it is likely you also will. I’ve seen people enter once and never step foot there again. On average the minimum subscription for a proper gym is GH₵ 100 per month, some charge as high as GH₵ 300.00. If you register, you’re likely to pay not less than GH₵ 200.
If you don’t have time, it’s not worth wasting your money. If you are already a registered member who is almost absent all the time then cancel your subscription and plan your training sections at home. Maintain a simple workout calendar, say three times a week jogging schedule.
8. Stop trying to keep up with ‘celebrities’
Stop trying to keep up with ‘celebrities to circumvent the current economic hardships. A few months ago you could compete with your idol celebrities on the latest Phones, Clothes, Shoes and others. Well, this is the time to slow down and manage yourself. Celebrities may not be personally buying the things they use, but even in these challenging times, they could still be benefiting from their celebrity status. Make good use of the money you have now to sustain your life.
9. Give up on some pleasures
The days of living life to the fullest are not over yet, but this is a period in every individual’s life where lifestyle adjustment is critical to saving your next meal. We often perceive that happiness is consequential to seeking pleasure. But that is inaccurate, you can be happy without necessarily floating in pleasure. At this point in the current economic crisis, you have to reduce your engagements with pleasure.
Regular outings, too many friends, and avoidable travel can all be minimised. You can align your happy moments to less costly pleasures such as listening to music, spending more time with your family at home, playing video games etc., to avoid buying fuel to drive around aimlessly.
It is a spiritual and physical fact that people who give always have enough to give. No matter how bad you think your situation is at this time, someone else is in a more dire state. This person can be your friend, neighbour, extended family, or colleague at work.
It is therefore important to make a necessary adjustment to help others who would do with your widow’s mite. “There is a blessing in giving”, “Givers never lack”, and “Give and it shall come back to you” are all principles or axioms that work.
11. Invent Laughter
They say laughter is medicine, and psychologically that is true. Laughter is therapy, you need it at this crucial time for your sanity. How do you laugh when there is no moment for it? Invent it. Create your moments. If you have young children, spend time and observe the interesting, childish things they do and help yourself with some laughter. Spend time reminiscing on some beautiful, memorable past moments of your life.
You can also make time to regularly watch movies at home, especially comic movies. You should make sure while you create these moments you abstain from distraction, such as constantly checking on your phone, reading the news etc.
The world is currently going through a transition. How you survive the storm will entirely depend on you. Try to adjust and make some lifestyle changes and you’ll be able to live to see the great stability that will follow.
Now that you know the 11 ways to smartly circumvent the current economic hardships, step and implement them for they will save you a lot of money, and emotional stress.
Source: Richard Adomako