At the time of the demonetisation, several eCommerce websites reported…
By Monsurat Omosolape Otun
Saving money has contributed greatly to people’s life. It starts by setting aside a particular amount of money for future use in a safe place. In the old days – underground, inside pillow cases, under the bed, in the ceiling, wardrobe, tins, wooden box (kolo) and so on.
Nowadays savings got easier with the help of technology through banks and other financial institutions found almost everywhere. You can even use your smartphone to save money as we rapidly move towards the cashless economy. Saving makes one to be financially secure, independent, for meeting future emergency and building wealth, I love it.
One of the coolest things about saving is that it gives you confidence and strength to rely on yourself during emergencies. Let me share the story of how I began saving. I was a 10-year-old kid and my elder siblings would give different kinds of gifts to my parents to show them love during Eid, the Muslim holiday. But I as a kid had no work nor skills to earn a stipend on my own to do the same. I always felt jealous because I couldn’t show my parents I love them too by giving them gifts, thou, they prayed for me as well as they did for the older ones that bought them gifts. But I felt I needed to show them how much I love them and value them too with gifts. I wasn’t taught to take what doesn’t belong to me or tell lies. So, I couldn’t steal. I sat down one day sadly and a thought came to my mind: “why can’t you save your break time money for a while and then use it to buy wonderful gifts for your parents”?
I was so happy about the idea before the following thoughts came to my mind that:
- You won’t enjoy your favorites during break time anymore, you that you like: Uncle John’s snacks, Banana biscuit, goody-goody, yoghurt, lolly
- How would you cope when your friends buy those things and they were like showing it to you to make you feel like begging for some?
- Would you beg when you have already promised your parents to always be contented with whatever you are given?
- What if you summon courage and beg, would your friends not abuse you and even report you to Aunty Sola (class teacher)? Would Aunty Sola not beat you?
All these thoughts made me sad and I felt bad as if I was beaten. As I was thinking of forgetting about saving my breakfast money, another thought just came gbam …”why don’t you save part of your breakfast money, not all o, save little, buy little. I was so happy that despite the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get all what I used to buy, I could still get my parents some gifts with the little money I saved before another Eid arrived.
After that, another thought just came to my mind gbaounce… “Sebi visitors come and check on my parents at times, instead of spending the money they give to me, I could be saving that too, to make me to be able to buy bigger gift than my older siblings’ own.
I was so happy with my new ideas and decided to follow my thought of saving part of my break time money. Another frustrating thought just came up again: “what if I save my money and it was taken, what would I do?” So, I was meditating over it again and again till another thought just came up gegeun… “all I needed to do is to save my money in a place that would be secretive and no one would see me when I hid it”. This thought brightened my mood again and I decided to use the amount of money I was able to save for couple of days to get a small wooden box with padlock (we call it ‘Kolo’ in Yoruba language) to save my money.
The next day, out of N20 I was given by my parents for break time, I spent N10 and I saved N10. It is not easy ooo when I saw my friends buying plenty Uncle John’s snacks I was tempted to take the remaining N10 I saved but I thought of buying Kolo again and I decided not to spend the money.
During closing hour again, my friends bought so many things and they were like using it to tempt me, I couldn’t stand the challenge so I took out the remaining N10 too and I went to buy plenty things too. After eating what I bought, I felt bad that I shouldn’t have spent the money I intended to save so I decided that the next day I wouldn’t bring the money I want to save to school, I would leave it at home to discipline myself from not spending it again.
The next day I kept my money inside my clothe that had pocket and I neatly folded it and put it at the bottom of my wardrobe, I made sure no one saw me while I was doing this, not because I didn’t trust my family members but I didn’t want them to know I was saving money. Whenever they needed money, they would beg me to lend them and I wouldn’t have any choice than to lend them because of my love for them. I kept saving money there for two weeks and was able to save N100. So, I ran so happily to a carpenter near my house to tell him to make a Kolo for me. The man noticed I was so happy while I was explaining what I wanted to him. So he asked me: “are you the owner”? I said, yes so he told me to come back after some hours. I couldn’t wait too long because I was eager to put my money in my safe (Kolo). So after some hours, I ran back to the carpenter to collect my kolo.
On getting there, I met the man sitting, he offered me a seat. I sat down and he asked me about my plans for the Kolo. I shared my plan, intention and purpose of saving with him, he was so impressed and encouraged me. He told his apprentice to give me the Kolo without collecting a kobo. I thanked him joyfully and left. I had my N100 on me and a Kolo as well, I was ecstatic, I stopped at a shop and I bought a small padlock for N30, I was left with N70.
On getting home, I was so happy that I almost told my immediate elder sister about it but I was able to control myself. At night, I was unable to sleep, while others were sleeping, I brought out my Kolo, unlocked it, folded my N70 inside it and locked it again. Then I opened my wardrobe, brought out all my clothes and kept the Kolo at the extreme end. I packed my clothes back into my wardrobe and I tried sleeping. That night was a sleepless night for me because the thought of my savings filled my mind.
I got committed to my savings after this and saved more than N10. At times, I saved all my N20 feeding money. I tried never to miss school even when ill because I knew I would have to stay back home and I wouldn’t be given break time money. Therefore, there would be no savings for the day. When visitors came around, any money they give me I dropped it in my Kolo through the small opening on it. If people sent me on an errand and I was given the remaining changed, I saved it in my Kolo as well. So all those petty “take this money” made me to save more.
Time ran by and it was time for Eid-ul- Kabir (Muslim festival, people call it Ileya), I was super-happy. You know why? My savings gave me the strength to feel proud as my parents’ child. My relatives were wondering why I was that happy but I didn’t disclose it to them. Some days to Eid on a Sunday afternoon, when my parents and my sisters had gone out. I happily brought out my kolo, I unfolded my money and I counted it. Guess what? To my surprise, it was N5,050 after eight months(1st term, 2nd term and towards the end of 3rd term). I shouted at the top of my voice with joy without caring if anyone would hear my voice or not. I danced happily and thanked God.
So I folded the money properly and kept it in my kolo, I returned it to its normal place. The remaining days before Eid my siblings started contributing money according to their capability for my parents to prepare for the festival. They were able to raise N15,000. They knew I was not capable yet. So they didn’t bother to ask me, and I kept quiet too. It remained two days to Eid, so I decided to spend N50 out of my N5,050 and my N20 break time money to enjoy my Goody Goody, Uncle John’s snacks, lolly etc. I thought of what to buy with the money for my parents and sought the help my foster mother’s (Iya Aafe in Yoruba) advice.
I listened to her advice attentively and I later concluded on buying 5 litres of groundnut oil for my dad, to fry our Ileya ram, bought one quality hijab (Iborun in Yoruba) for my mum, a crate of soft drink for my relatives and a small side purse and a pair of slippers for myself. Nigerian money had greater value back then. N5,000 was a considerable amount then. I asked my foster mother to accompany me to the market so that I wouldn’t be cheated.
She helped me to price the items and I brought out my money confidently and paid for them.
I was so happy, I felt like a boss. I took the items home and when my parents saw I and my foster mother with the items, their thought was that it was probably an extended family member that brought the gifts.
I proudly and confidently greeted them and presented the gifts to them. Everyone present there were so surprised and happy, throwing different questions at me. I quickly cleared their curiosity by telling them the whole story, including how the carpenter dashed me kolo but I didn’t tell them where I used to hide it oooo.
After my story, my mother gave me a warm hug, showered me with prayers and burst into tears of joy. My dad too prayed for my mum, my siblings and me.
They were all proud to have me in the family.
I was so glad too and I told myself. YES … I MADE IT HAPPEN, I MADE THEM PROUD OF ME.
What I Like Best
However what I like best about savings is the spirit of self-confidence, targeting a goal and independence it brings. In fact, one of my hobbies is saving. I totally recommend the habit to everyone both young and old.
Saving has a lot of great benefits. For me, the best are preparing one for emergency and building wealth. What about you? Do you like to save? What are your reasons for saving?