With rising living costs and inflation, budgeting has never been so important – but knowing how to begin, or how to use a budget to benefit your finances, might not be so simple.
In this guide, we run through four of the best tips to start budgeting and utilise the financial knowledge this provides to manage your household income, outgoings and savings.
1. Access Your Credit Reports
The major credit bureaus, such as Experian, provide access to your personal credit reports, which show you all sorts of insights, such as:
- The number of secured and unsecured loans open in your name.
- All your credit accounts, including insurance policies, mobile phone contracts and store cards.
- Your debt utilisation figure; this is the percentage of your maximum credit you are using.
- A credit score (note that each provider has a slightly different scoring system).
Why is a credit report a necessary part of budgeting? In essence, your credit score provides a good benchmark so you can get to grips with your financial position. This quick task means you have a comprehensive list of all the accounts you hold – and which you can go ahead and close.
2. Create a List of Your Income and Expenses
Ok, so this might not seem easy – but keeping abreast with everything you earn, spend and save is vital to good money management. The good news? There are loads of resources you can access to help. Wonga South Africa has a free monthly budget template you can download here. This will serve as a useful base model from which to edit and build your own personal budget manager.
Start with the big ticket items that are easy to calculate – think rent or mortgage, weekly grocery shop, fuel bill and utilities. You don’t need to work through everything at once, but you can start compiling a budget sheet one week at a time, referring back to your online banking to make sure you don’t miss anything.
3. Open Separate Bank Accounts
We’re not talking about borrowing accounts or overdraft facilities – ideally, you want three basic accounts with online banking access so you can keep an eye on the balances, direct debits and transactions through your mobile.
Here’s what you’ll use each account for:
- Account one: general banking. This is where your wages are paid, your direct debits are deducted, and all your ongoing transactions appear.
- Account two: emergency fund. The best practice is to have enough savings to tide you over for three to six months, but contributing small amounts as and where you can is beneficial, even if you accumulate a contingency fund very gradually.
- Account three: savings. Although we’d not recommend you start saving or setting up an emergency fund if you have debts to repay, keeping savings and emergency finances separate means you don’t end up dipping into the wrong pot on a whim.
Well-managed finances make it easy to see what you have, where, and what your total funds are worth without mixing everything up into one account.
Nigeria to Ramp Up Commodities Exports to Boost Economy: Here are the Best Ones to Trade
Nigeria has always had rich and abundant resources. The reason local goods have not been acceptable in the international market was not because of any defect of the goods themselves but because of a lack of commodity standardisation.
The government, however, is currently taking steps to change that. While its main focus is on the nation’s agricultural sector, its efforts encompass the commodities market as a whole—as of now, the Securities and Exchange Commission has licensed five exchanges, approved the trading and framework for operations of different instruments, and is collaborating with stakeholders like CBN and NAICOM.
You, too, can profit from these initiatives that are creating favourable market conditions for commodities trading. The key lies in choosing the best commodities to trade. The following is an overview of the best ones to consider.
This natural resource is extremely significant in Nigeria’s economy. It’s the nation’s primary source of revenue, totalling $340 billion (₦256 trillion) in exports since the 1970s. It’s also currently the major source of energy for households, with most families using petrol or diesel-powered generators to power their homes and appliances. It is also the foundation of the many raw materials that different sectors use to create their products. If you want to trade a commodity that has undeniable importance and underpins several industries, choose this one.
That said, it must be noted that Nigeria is currently facing economic challenges regarding crude oil theft. Large volumes of the material are continuously being stolen, leading to the economy losing out. The oil industry also faces stagnant liquidity issues, supply chain disruptions, and the prospect of eventually being overhauled in favour of other energy means. At present, however, the government is still investing in the commodity—its Bonga South-West Aparo Oil Project with Shell, for example, is set to run for 20 years. Crude oil is still very lucrative to trade.
Nigeria has vast stores of natural gas, holding around 206.5 trillion cubic feet of energy. It is one of the most popular and valuable trading commodities—not just in Nigeria but across the globe. This is because of natural gas’ frequent price movements, which offer profitable opportunities to traders, and its sensitivity to global events like climate change mitigation efforts.
In fact, President Tinubu has already expressed his intention to shift Nigeria to a gas-powered economy. He plans to leverage natural gas’ domestic utilisation, process it as an international export, and turn it into the transition fuel in his mission to fundamentally restructure Nigeria’s economy for expansive growth and sustainability. While natural gas’ full potential hasn’t yet been reached, it’s an excellent commodity to trade with and looks to increase in value over time.
This versatile metal has many uses. It’s a great material for electronic components, jewellery, and coins. As an investment, it’s very good at keeping its value and is often used as a hedge against inflation.
Nigeria has substantial untapped solid mineral deposits that include gold. Until now, these stores have mostly benefited artisanal and small-scale miners rather than the broader economy. That may now change with the new focus on commodity trading. Dukia Gold, a company that transacts with this precious metal, is already listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange, enabling it to create fungible products and diversified financial instruments that act as the exchange’s underlying asset. Similar projects with gold may follow suit, including ones supported by the government, and you may want to align yourself with the burgeoning trend and trade with this commodity.
Cocoa beans are valuable as a good in itself or as an essential ingredient to create the ever-in-demand chocolate. They’re also difficult to grow—if circumstances aren’t ideal, the average tree can produce as little as 3 pounds of beans a year or less. They thrive in warm and humid climates, making Nigeria a perfect environment for plantations. In fact, Nigeria is considered the fifth-largest producer of cocoa beans in the world. You can take advantage of that once you start trading with this prized commodity.
The commodities market in Nigeria is poised for growth and expansion. Set yourself up for trading success by choosing the best commodities to transact with.
Achieving Consistency In Financial Trading: Do’s And Don’ts
Financial trading is a thrilling but challenging endeavor. While there are no guarantees in the world of finance, adhering to some fundamental principles can significantly improve your odds of achieving consistent profits.
In addition, many traders struggle to select and employ an FX trading strategy for consistent profits due to the complex and dynamic nature of the forex market. Factors like market volatility, emotional decision-making, and the constant need for adaptation can make it challenging to find and stick to a winning strategy.
In this article, we’ll explore these principles, with a particular focus on strategies for achieving consistent profits in Forex (FX) trading.
The Dos: Roadmap to Consistency
The Power of Education
Successful traders never stop learning. They immerse themselves in the world of financial markets, keeping a vigilant eye on market trends, news, and evolving trading strategies. Begin by grasping the basics of financial markets, then progressively delve deeper into technical and fundamental analysis.
Risk Management is Paramount
Managing risk is the bedrock of trading success. A fundamental principle is to refrain from risking more than 1-2% of your trading capital in any individual trade. Employ stop-loss orders judiciously to cap potential losses and ensure that you establish a clear risk-reward ratio for each trade.
Crafting a Trading Plan
A well-thought-out trading plan, inclusive of your goals, risk tolerance, trading strategy, and money management rules, is your guiding star. Devote yourself to sticking to this plan meticulously and avoid impulsive decisions rooted in emotions.
Diversification, Not Concentration
Avoid the pitfall of concentrating all your investments in a single basket. Enhance your portfolio diversity by engaging in trades involving various assets or currency pairs. This tactic spreads risk and mitigates the impact of any single loss on your overall capital.
Harnessing Technical Analysis
Employ technical analysis tools such as charts, indicators, and patterns to make informed trading decisions. Technical analysis equips you with valuable insights into potential price movements.
The Fundamental Underpinning
Besides technical analysis, give due weight to fundamental factors that can sway the markets, such as economic data, geopolitical developments, and central bank policies. Marrying both technical and fundamental analyses can yield more well-rounded trading decisions.
Practice on a Demo Account
Before venturing with real capital, hone your trading strategies on a demo account. This enables you to hone your skills and explore different strategies without the fear of financial losses.
Consistency in Position Sizing
Maintain a steady position sizing strategy. Resist the temptation to escalate your position size after a winning streak or to compensate for losses by upping the ante. Adhere to your pre-established risk management guidelines.
Mastering Emotional Discipline
Emotional trading can result in impulsive decisions and financial setbacks. Train yourself to manage emotions – whether it’s fear, greed, or overconfidence.
Continual Evaluation and Adaptation
Markets are ever-evolving. Regularly assess your trading strategies and adapt them to prevailing market conditions. What was effective in the past may not hold true in the future.
The Don’ts: Potholes to Dodge
- Banish Overtrading: Overtrading is a common misstep that traders should eschew. Avoid the temptation to overtrade, especially when encountering a series of losses. Adhere to your trading plan and only participate in trades that meet your predefined criteria.
- The Ironclad Discipline: Discipline is the bedrock of successful trading. Stay committed to your trading strategy and refrain from allowing emotions to govern your decisions.
- The Pitfall of Chasing Losses: Attempting to recover losses by taking larger risks is a hazardous endeavor. Acknowledge that losses are a natural part of trading and avoid revenge trading.
- Ignoring Risk Management: Neglecting risk management is a surefire route to depleting your trading account. Always set stop-loss orders and proficiently manage your risk.
- Impatience is not a Virtue: Trading often involves waiting. Do not rush into trades solely for the sake of participation. Be patient and wait for high-probability setups that align with your trading strategy.
- The Lure of Overleveraging: While leverage can magnify profits, it can also amplify losses. Handle leverage prudently and ensure that it adheres to your risk tolerance.
- Market Sentiment Matters: Market sentiment can significantly influence price movements, particularly in the Forex market. Do not disregard the collective sentiment of market participants.
- Fundamentals are Paramount: While technical analysis is potent, ignoring fundamental analysis can lead to missed opportunities and unforeseen losses. Keep abreast of economic events and market-affecting news.
- Adapt or Perish: Trading strategies that thrived in the past may become obsolete. Do not cling to outdated approaches. Be willing to adapt to evolving market conditions.
- Blindly Following Others: Avoid blindly tailing tips or advice from others without conducting your research and analysis. What works for one trader may not suit your trading style or objectives.
In conclusion, the pursuit of consistency in financial trading is a challenging yet rewarding journey. By adhering to the dos and steering clear of the don’ts, traders can significantly enhance their prospects of achieving consistent profits while effectively managing risk.
Remember, trading success is a continuous process of learning and adaptation, and staying ahead in the ever-shifting financial markets calls for ongoing commitment and resilience.
What Every Truck Owner Should Know
Truck owners need to know many aspects of truck ownership to effectively manage their operations, mitigate risks, and position their business for success in the trucking industry.
For example, every truck owner needs commercial truck insurance to operate legally. You can learn more here. To get a brief overview of what every truck owner should know to be successful in the trucking industry, here are a couple of starting points.
As a truck owner, you should familiarize yourself with the regulatory requirements that govern trucking operations. You should stay updated on every state, federal, and local regulations that are related to the following:
- Safety standards
- Hours of service
When you are up-to-date with these regulations, it’s easy to remain compliant. This way, you will avoid penalties and costly fees and operate your trucks legally.
Inspections and Maintenance
Truck owners need to regularly maintain their vehicles and keep them in optimal condition to ensure safety on the road. You should keep a maintenance diary and schedule inspections, oil changes, tire rotations, brake checks, and other necessary maintenance tasks. Keeping records of all maintenance procedures and inspections will also help you in the long run.
Apart from primary liability insurance coverage, which is a legal requirement to operate commercial trucks, you should also obtain other appropriate insurance coverage for your trucks depending on the cargo you are transporting, what damages you may face, and other relevant policies.
Contact a reliable insurance provider specializing in commercial trucking insurance to have adequate coverage tailored to your needs and operations.
Operational costs are significantly affected by fuel expenses. If you can implement effective fuel management strategies tailored to your operations, you can optimize fuel efficiency and reduce costs. Consider utilizing fuel cards or fleet fueling programs and monitoring fuel consumption.
To be a good truck owner prepared to face any challenges that come your way, you need to stay organized and maintain accurate records related to your trucking operations. Everything from maintenance records, driver logs, insurance documents, licensing and registration information, fuel receipts, and financial records should be properly sorted and stored for regulatory compliance, tax purposes, and tracking the performance of your business. You should consider using ELDs as they are far superior to paper in accuracy, relevancy, and accessibility.
You should develop a financial management system to track income, expenses, and profitability. Implement effective budgeting and cost control measures while monitoring income and expenses. Consider partnering up with a truck factoring company if you want to sell your unpaid invoices and increase your cash flow.
Lastly, truck owners must establish strong relationships with key stakeholders in the trucking industry if they want to stay afloat. A good relationship with shippers, brokers, suppliers, fellow trucking professionals will help you build a good reputation, get access to partnerships and various opportunities, and gain relevant industry insights.
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