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Post-recession tips for better banking habits

If you are like many who have spent the past few quarters of recession in the country scrimping and saving, these are great habits to keep, even if your financial situation has improved with the recent exit from recession.

According to financial experts, saving habits people have developed during a recession need to be maintained, and there is also the need for total review of their financial and saving habits post recession.

According to, if you still haven’t taken certain financial management steps after a recession, you may want to think about making these changes:

Restart your finances with a thorough financial plan

If you have lost a job during the recession or have been struggling to get control of your debt, savings or investments, plan a visit now to a certified financial advisory professional. At the meeting, you can also examine spending patterns and the emotional drivers behind many of your financial decisions. If you don’t have a professional in mind, you can read some article online on how to plan your finances.

Create a budget

If you have never tracked your spendings before, make a commitment to do so for at least two months as you pull together financial statements, income sources and your bills. Start separating all your expenses into both fixed (amounts that don’t change) and variable (amounts that may change, such as restaurant meals, fuel expenditures and entertainment expenses). Take into account any major expenses that are coming up within the year. Total your monthly income and expenses and then start identifying the expenses that you can trim and figure out whether you can direct the money you save to spending or debt. Congratulations! You’ve created your first budget. Also, don’t ignore planning for perks and vacations and make sure you plan ahead for big expenditures, such as cars and retirement.

Go cash or debit

Return credit cards to their correct status—a way to afford emergencies. Debit cards with a bankcard logo are typically welcome at most merchant stores where credit cards are accepted. This way, you pay cash without carrying cash. If you don’t have such a card, you can probably get one from your bank to replace your traditional ATM card, but remember to tell them to limit your buying power to the cash balance in your account. Also check to make sure what protections exist on that card if it is lost or stolen and if they will forgive the balance in the event of the cardholder’s death. Be aware that some banks freeze your underlying current account for your debit card until a dispute regarding an item purchased with a stolen card is resolved.

Live off lists

Yes, everyone makes shopping lists from time to time so they don’t forget to bring home milk and bananas. But the advantage of making very detailed shopping lists for everything—preferably on one page—is that it’s really a good way to keep impulse spending down. If, for example, you have a week of unexpected expenses (car repair, home repair, unexpected fees for your child at school), you can see what real priority items are and what you might be able to do without. Set a schedule for checking your credit report. This is not so much a spending issue as a way to monitor the ongoing safety of your accounts and your borrowing status. There are three credit bureau licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. You have the right to get all three of these once a year. The best way to do this is to request each report at staggered points during the year.

Comparison shop at your desk

Shopping online has its own risks, including paying expensive shipping fees and overspending with a simple click among them. However, using the Internet to browse and compare prices can save time, fuel and money. Websites like Konga, Jumia, eBay, Amazon or can help you determine general price ranges for gifts you need that are sold online. Once you have those ranges, get on the phone and determine whether you can buy the same items more affordably at retailers close to home.

Don’t shop without coupons and discount codes

Some many merchant stores and supermarkets in Nigeria are offering loyalty programmes and special coupons and discount programmes. If you know particular stores where you’ll shop, sign up for their email lists, you’ll start receiving coupons and news of specials on a regular basis. If you buy particular products regularly, go to the manufacturer’s website and see if you can sign up for regular discounts online and in the mail. Also, if you do shop online, some sites have promotional codes that you can type in for discounts before you hit the “total” button on an order. Usually, these codes will cover free shipping, but they might also buy additional discounts on an order. Never complete an online order without searching for a promotional code.

Personal finance strategies

The Nigerian economy is beginning to come out from the recession as economic indicators are starting to rise. The stronger economy has also increased consumer confidence in the market and, therefore, increased consumer spending. However, it is going to take some time for the country to fully bounce back from the recession and consumers should be smart about their current spending habits and budgeting for the future.

According to, the American Consumer Credit Counseling offers tips to help customers budget their personal finances and spend their money wisely in a continuously changing economy.

“When an economy is slowly starting to come back, people will begin to feel confident enough to spend money and become more active in the financial market,” according to the President and Chief Executive Officer of ACCC, Steve Trumble.

He adds, “It is important to remember that while an economy is growing, consumers should be smart about budgeting their money, and leveraging the stronger economy to grow their personal finances.”

While consumer spending is good for the economy, experts say consumers need to be smart about spending and budgeting their personal finances.

The ACCC offers tips to consumers on how to use a recovering economy to their advantage:

Organise finances– Evaluate your current situation and determine where you stand financially. Assess how much money was spent during the recession, and start mapping out a plan to get back on track.Review spending – Creating a budget is the best way to keep your finances in check. Write down how much you are planning to spend during the month and stick to it.Assess income versus spending –Evaluate your monthly expenses and compare them to your income. See where you can cut back in order to stick with your budget, or reinvent your financial goals.Set financial goals – Develop a plan for short and long-term goals, for example, maybe you want to save N150,000 in 12 months or want to renovate your kitchen in the next five years. It is easier to manage your money when you are working towards a goal.Pay outstanding bills – Use the stronger economy to get caught up on outstanding bills that may have accumulated during the recession. Pay bills and debt first, then create a savings or investment plan. Interest builds up on outstanding payments, so it is better to take care of those first.Savings plans – Reactivate any old savings plans and consider increasing your monthly contribution.