When I embarked on this challenge, and committed to writing about it, one of the first things I remember doing was taking a good, hard look at how money moves in my life. I also asked a few of my friends some questions about their relationships with money and I learned that we all regard money in so very many different ways. This, I found, is brought about by our past; how we were brought up, the necessities and luxuries that we have had around us and what we had to do to get to where we are today. If you take a minute to stop and think about what having money means to you today, you will find that many notions we have about money’s roles in our lives is heavily influenced by our past.
In analyzing my own past, I realised that money has been something that comes in, and goes out at a rather high frequency. It has only ever served one purpose to me: to pay for goods and services. But, after doing some research and asking some questions as well as introspection, I have realised one very important thing that I hadn’t embraced before. Just like food, I don’t always have to buy it, I can opt to grow it and prepare it myself as well (with some initial help, of course.). That thought alone has completely changed how I envisage my future. Before, saving meant collecting enough money to achieve the things I want, like buying and stashing foodstuff in a store until I have enough what I’m working towards. Now, saving means putting away what little I have, and planting it somewhere where it can grow, so that it becomes a huge money tree. Sounds a lot better to me to work smart rather than to work hard.
The Barclays Savings Challenge has not only helped me hone in on my savings behavior, it has shifted my mindset and expanded my plans and possibilities for the future in the following ways:
1. I have re-evaluated my relationship with money.
Money is no longer something I struggle to make over and over every month just to use to pay my bills and pay for necessities. Money can actually work for me and grow itself many times over. I also realise I don’t ever have to feel guilty about spending money on luxuries and treats.
2. I make conscious decisions with regards to spending.
This means I am actually mindful of the money I have and how I can spend it in a smart and satisfying manner.
3. I make clear financial goals.
Being clear about what it is I want to achieve, and making sure to write this down is key to actually making it come to pass. Just in the same way that writing down a to-do list for the day can help you get through your day in a much more effective manner, writing down the goals you want to achieve, and not just financial goals, is essential in actually achieving them. Trust me, it works. Clarity is one of the best tools to use in life and setting and writing down goals is great for that.
4. Made me aware of my financial options.
In doing my research while taking on this challenge, I have learned so much. My first post back in July sparked such a healthy conversation on my Facebook page and I learned so much from the comments to that post. I also learned a ton about the solutions that Barclays has to offer. Their savings account options are brilliant for whatever goals you have in mind, and they even have an option where you can save collectively with others so as to make a higher return in interest on your money. Check out the website for more on this.
I’m feeling so much more empowered and in control of my finances and I can’t wait to see my goals come to fruition.
How has this savings challenge influenced your savings behavior?
This article is the sixth and the final one in a series of sponsored posts for the BARCLAYS SAVINGS CHALLENGE. I hope the challenge has been as interesting for you as it has been for me. You can follow the discussion on Twitter and Facebook and share your own experience by using the hashtag #AFRICASAVES. Visit the BARCLAYS WEBSITE for more information about their savings account.