Tuesday, 6 September 2016

How I managed to save up money for my Masters degree

Being a self sponsoring student is a huge financial burden. As a young twenty something year old girl in Ghana, it was a daunting task to be able to raise over 8000 Euros for my studies. Throw in the fact that your salary is meagre and the task almost seems impossible.

But the truth is you can do it! I was able to do it and so could you!

I will outline some of the ways I was able to raise the amount. Of course the funds came from multiple sources!

1. SAVE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT: I can't scream this enough. Of all the sources of money, yours is the only dependable one. It's your money. No conditions. No interests. Just yours. So the more you have of yours the better. It really doesn't matter how much you earn. You have to learn to live a very basic and frugal lifestyle. At least until you achieve your goal. I will share with you some of the steps I took to hep me save more.

One way to help with savings was that I paid myself first. As soon as my salary came in, I would rush to the bank to take out my savings target for the month. I had opened a foreign currency account so immediately I would convert the money to Euros and deposit in my account. That way I was sure never to touch this money.

 I stopped spending on expensive weaves. I would leave my natural hair on for months and could do with just weekly washes. If I had to fix my hair, I opted for cheaper hairstyles like braids.
I was able to save at least $70 a month just from this. That is at least $840 a year.

Then I reduced my spending on clothes, shoes, etc. I would buy one strong material handbag and use for a year. Only buy clothes you need and never buy on impulse. Invest in a few strong shoes. Reduce your outings with friends and if possible look for cost less ways of spending time with your friends.

2. Consider asking for soft loads from family/friends: It may not be feasibly possible for you to raise all the money by yourself no matter how much you save. At this point you can start looking around you. Talk to your friends and family about your dream. Have them believe in you. Ask for small amounts of money with a detailed and agreed payment plan. Remember the key is not to ask one person for a huge sum but to split the money into smaller amounts. Be honest about the repayment plan. Involve them in all the stages of your preparation and lastly never count on one person.

3. Bank Loan: If you have been working for 1+ years with constant salary, you have a good chance of being eligible for a personal loan at the bank. You may want to take the loan well in advance of the commencement of your studies to enable you establish a good credit record with the bank. 

4. Intellectual Begging: A friend of mine needed funds for a year abroad in France. She saw it as the perfect opportunity to improve on her french. However her parents could not afford to sponsor her stay abroad. So she wrote about a million letters to corporate organisations requesting for assistance. A few of them came through and she was able to go to France.

5. Crowd Funding: With the internet age, anything is possible. There are websites designed to help people like you. If you think your story is touching, you can go to www.gofundme.com and open a page. You never know how much you can raise from this.

All the best!