For quite a while now I have been trying to be more mindful about my expenses. I try to cut costs any way I can. I even write down the purchase I make on each day to see where most of my money is going, and how I can decrease certain spending habits. I would never say I am cheap, but I am definitely economically conscious. I know that am still relatively young and need to make sure I am securing myself financially for the future. This post will focus on some ways to stay fabulous while making the best financial decisions. These are some tips that I use in my own life currently and some that I need to make sure I take advantage of.
1. Wear Your Natural Hair for a While
Knowing that my birthday is right around the corner I have been using this tactic to save money in not paying someone to do my hair for a little while (my afro is currently out and I LOVE and missed it). Most Liberian women and girls, or let’s say women and girls in general feel like they HAVE to get their hair fixed, platted, weaved whatever, but let’s face it, paying someone to do your hair can be quite costly, not to mention having to buy the hair and or products. Embrace your tresses, whether natural or relaxed for a bit, it’s not only freeing, but it helps in saving a little extra change.
2. Opt for a Color Change Instead of a Full Mani or Pedi
Getting a manicure and pedicure in Monrovia is pretty reasonably priced. Depending on the roughness of my hands and feet on certain days I like to save a little “ma” (slang for money in LIB) by just getting a color change at Zutin Nails for less than half the price. An added plus is that it’s quick, easy and gets you out of the door faster.
3. Make Your Clothes Instead of Buying Them
For those of us that have lived here for a while we love ourselves some African print fashion. Instead of heading into a boutique for a new outfit for your hot date, purchase your own fabric and visit a local tailor to make you something sensational. What I love most about this option is the opportunity to design something from your own mind. Leave a comment below and get a response about the best and most economical tailor shops to go to.
4. Purchase in Liberian Dollars (LD) Rather Than USD
Typically $1 US Dollar equals LD$70, but depending on where you go a dollar could range from LD$50 to LD$75. When you are strictly purchasing in LD there are no loop holes you can give the vendor what they ask for without walking away wondering if you just got duped.
5. Make Sure Your Phone is Usually on “Ring”
I recently became an iPhone user, and for some reason my ringer stopped working. Being that when I had my Blackberry it would usually be on vibrate and I could always hear it without a problem, I thought I would just do the same for my iPhone. I later found out that vibrate on my new phone was super low and consequently I was missing a lot of calls. Missing all these calls meant always having to use my minutes to call someone back. This heavily contributed in me having to spend more money on buying scratch cards. I figured I might as well just pay to get the ringer fixed to avoid this from happening in the future. Come to find out when I went to the store they were able to fix it for FREE. More savings for me!
6. Take Advantage of Lunch Specials
Being a working girl (with no microwave at my office) most times I have to purchase my lunch. There are so many tempting/expensive restaurants in the city, but many times I force myself to steer clear of them in order to save. My girls and I make sure to stay true to our roots during lunch time by visiting Liberian owned restaurants and cook shops. Not only is the food at these places delicious, but the most you will spend for a meal is LD$350 ($5 bucks). There is also a new “Lunch Special Menu” at the new Flower Chinese Restaurant on Broad St. They offer minimized meals from $3-$7USD.
7. Do Happy Hour
A lot of times my friends and I wait until the weekend to go out to have a good time. Most times this can get pretty pricy having to pay to get in, buy drinks, possibly get food after, etc. Ladies and gentleman, Happy Hour is a good -time-haver’s best friend. Instead of waiting for Saturday night to hit the town hit places like Lila Brown, Atlantis Guest House, or Embassy Suites for half priced drinks and food. This is a huge money saver.
8. Don’t Feel Guilty About Staying In
I am the ultimate social butterfly, but in times when my bank account is not looking so good I have no problem just staying in when friends are going out. Yes, you are probably missing out on the night’s adventures, but at the same time you don’t have to feel guilty (once you’ve sobered up) about spending what you don’t have when you wake up the next morning. This is great time to read a book, watch a little TV movie, mediate, learn to cook, whatever. As long as it’s free right?