Welcome to a new week, it is my hope that all our expectations for the week are established.

In today’s newsletter, we will be looking at some of the various ways our finances have or will be altered in these uncertain times and going forward.

A lot has been said, written and done about the impact COVID 19 is having on the economies of countries, businesses, individuals and families.

In the words of Sophia Loren “every opportunity is a big opportunity”. As such, every opportunity the COVID 19 crisis presents us should be grasped with both hands in my opinion.

These opportunities are numerous and will vary from person to person but will eventually fall under two broad spectrum – cost savings and income generating opportunities.

This week, we will be exploring some of the ways the pandemic is helping many of us (and can help others) save money:

  • Celebrations: who knew that we all did not need to gather in one venue to mark our milestone birthdays, weddings and even burial ceremonies?

The implication of this on the personal finances of many of us, especially those from tribes who like celebrations and the attendant costs – aso ebi, venue, decorations and catering to large crowds; is and will be immense.

This pandemic has led to the rethinking of how large or elaborate our ceremonies need to be.

Many people will confirm that they have indeed saved a lot of money on functions that either did not happen or had to be reimagined and scaled down tremendously.

I am not unmindful of the fact that the livelihoods of people have also been negatively impacted; I am just saying that many of us (who may have been) will no longer be under pressure to spend funds we either do not have or cannot necessarily afford, but rather can channel such funds to savings and investments for the future. 

  • Vacations: for those of us who love to travel and sight-see this has been a trying time.

This time last year, some of us were already dreaming of our summer holidays. Unfortunately, this is not the case this year and this has and will be a blessing in disguise for many a pocket.

With the devaluation of the Naira, air fares (when available) will be astronomical; this, coupled with the other associated expenses – accommodation, spending money, feeding, transportation amongst others; means that the costs are increasing.

Besides, analysts believe that the era of cheap air fares have gone. So, holidays as we know it; will no longer be economical.

Whilst this is not to discourage holidays (I for one, am a fan); we need to start exploring ways of affording them – joining travel clubs to save money, visiting local tourist spots, travelling every other year or combining business with leisure are some options. This also means that some money has been saved, that could be put to other (future) use.

  • Fashion: as someone who likes looking good, I like many others, missed dressing up during the lockdown. This, coupled with the fact that there are now limited opportunities to attend functions, means that we have had limited reasons to shop for new outfits or visit the tailor for custom orders. It is understandable then, that designers and stores home and abroad are offering sales on their items.

Given that many people’s disposable income has shrunk, the visits to our favourite stores and designers will now require better planning.

Many ladies (and some men too) will agree that this applies also to personal grooming.

Just a word of caution, whilst there will bargains to be had, money spent buying things on sale is still money being spent.

We should therefore be careful of the sales pitches as they can be money drainers.

  • Shopping: the pandemic has changed how we visit shops both at home and abroad as well as the local markets.

The fear of crowded spaces have helped create new businesses for both market traders and stores as well as for local shoppers (who go to the market on behalf of others) for a small token.

Many people are now joining food clubs to buy food stuff (meat and groceries also) in bulk to save money.

In addition to money saved, you save on time and energy that can be channeled to other profitable avenues.

For those who have not figured it out, these mini co-operatives are the new cool, and the sooner we accept this and either join or start one, the better.

  • Social Life: For those who looked forward to TGIF nights, the pandemic did them and is still doing them a “strong thing” but it has also meant money was and is still being saved. Night clubs and bars will tell you how much they have lost.

Also, for those of us who like eating out or going to the cinemas, we have also saved money. Likewise, those who now must take food to work due to the absence of food vendors. 

Can you quantify how much you have saved? If you haven’t, it is advisable to start doing so. It may lead to a new level of financial emancipation.

Those Friday nights and weekend grooves cost a pretty penny, and the time to take stock and divert is now.

As pointed out earlier, this pandemic has provided us with any cost saving opportunities and these vary as we have different circumstances.

Irrespective, this list is not exhaustive and I look forward to learning from you (on the slack group account) on how the pandemic has saved or is saving you money.

Please be reminded that these cost savings will be immaterial if not channelled towards savings, giving back or investments.

Next week, we will be exploring some of the income making opportunities the pandemic has provided or is providing.

Interesting facts:

  • $16,000: The amount Amazon made from those who looted one of its touchless automatic brick and mortar store.

What the looters did not know was that the scanners in the shop were configured to charge the Apple Pay account and similar services of shoppers when leaving with goods from the store.

So that amount was made from looters walking out with goods and having their iPhones auto scanned on their way out. Clearly this is the case of, one day for the thief, every day for Jeff Bezos.

  • 142%: The percentage growth Zimbabwe’s stock market experienced in the month of May 2020.

The country’s investors turned to buying shares in order to protect their funds from inflation which was 766%.

This scenario is not peculiar to that country, the stock markets in other countries like Iran and Venezuela are also experiencing such growth.

Like we noted last week, Nigerian investors may also increase participation in the NSE in the face of the deposit rate reduction by most major banks and absence of alternative viable investment outlets.

                                Till next week, please remember that corona virus is real and continue to stay safe.

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