Your smartphone is not an asset. You can use it as a tool for communication and do other kinds of tasks. It can be very convenient and effective. But, I don’t consider it an asset. It also has a way of stealing your time and attention and this could be very distracting and costly. Using programs to track how much time you spend on your phone would shock you. However, since the introduction of several apps and services this position could be changed. I am beginning to find apps that reduce costs and remove barriers from certain activities that bring income and increase savings. What are savings? Well, savings is income not spent. A lot of times it means money in a savings account. But in Nigeria keeping money in a savings account does seem like a good idea.
First, inflation means that by the end of the year you have less money than you did at the beginning of the year. Second, Most Nigerian banks have a way of using strange charges and fees to reduce your balance. Very annoying but these combined means that your savings have lesser value. Now this may not be significant but if you can’t keep the value it is very difficult for your money to preserve the value of your savings. You need to find a way for your money to preserve the value and if possible make it compound. That is why you, at least, need ways to cut costs, reduce expenses and earn passive income. I won’t go into investments but having savings is key to building opportunities to invest and living under your means is a path to a more relaxed lifestyle. But, how is that possible and what can make that easier to achieve? I will introduce a few apps and their services that I think are instrumental doing that.
Professor Ekekwe has promoted the concept of “Double Play”. This is how a company can introduce a product or a bouquet of products that deliver value to the customer simultaneously. He has also evaluated the effects of the Opay offerings in the market. One of the Opay’s offerings is Oride. This is bike ride hailing service that is rivaling Gokada in the market. I agree with him that the main purpose of the Oride is to onboard people to Opay’s wallet service. This may be a smart way of customer acquisition. The results are yet to be fully examined but something is very interesting to me here; pricing. With Oride, you can get comparatively cheaper bikes rides especially when you are in a clinch with the app on your phone. I find this very positive as it reduces cost and increases convenience. But, since it seems infrequent; I wonder if it is an overall winner. However, the second offering by Opay leads to a better judgement of Opay.
The Obus runs very few routes and it doesn’t operate on the weekends. But when it does run, for a limited time since it’s still promotional, it gives much cheaper fares than anything else. Ikeja to Victoria Island-Sandfill route costs a pittance of N100. I really don’t care much for the air conditioned bus or the clean interiors of the vehicle. But getting below market price bus trips every weekday is labelled under the category of “These are a few of my favourite things”. On some days when there is really terrible traffic, some routes may not be available because they still have a few buses. But for each time you use the Obus, realise you are making savings that combined over just a month are considerable. Having a smart phone makes this possible as you don’t have to purchase the readable Obus ride cards. Also, I think this is just a promotional run. So, I expect this pricing to be increased in the very near future. Nevertheless, this is really one of the few times that I know of an app combined with the use of your phone can save you money.
Opay does have a wallet and I am not still sold on it. The usurious rates of Okash is ridiculous and I am not really enticed by the rates of OWeath. However, there are two other services that do appeal to me. These two services I am considering using are: Airtime and TV. Recharging DSTV online on some platforms still charge N100 which I find laughable. The app does this free. Airtime gives you 3% of the value back to your wallet. As I don’t talk that much I don’t find it that significant but a win is a win. All these services combine to give some valuable savings at the end of a very hectic month. So I am sure savers would like an app that helps with penny-pinching. Opay’s portfolio of services on its app is why I advise any Lagosian to download the app. However, it doesn’t do much for savings. That goes to another app.
Cowrywise has app to help you save and invest. You connect to it with your bankcard/ ATM card. I like the concept of automating your savings. I find it difficult to go to the trouble of saving every month. I find myself always going into my savings or forgetting to put money aside. I think that automating this saving habit is a savvy move. Cowrywise also gives a competitive rate for saving. That is why I use it. This alone would have been good enough. But, when I started using Cowrywise, I got invited to an event to teach people how to travel around the world on a tight and realistic budget. I found this event alone worth the price of entry to using their services. I met someone who gave me cost saving ideas and other investment programs.
There are other apps such as JUMIA One but JUMIA One kind of sucks. It gives you discount codes by e-mail after the promotion is over. It also gives discount codes of poorly thought out offers. Considering the marketing expense of operating JUMIA One and the data they have on customers, it is surprising they drop the ball like this frequently. Since I personally don’t use much of their other services, I can’t really say I can recommend JUMIA One.
Cowrywise and Opay are services that regularly save me money although they are also convenient and save time. With apps such as these on your phone, you can generate income and save on costs. This is a massive improvement to keeping money in savings account that gets constantly attacked with surprise deductions and unwarranted charges.