The Smart Money Woman, An Awakening

I’ve honestly always been money conscious. By money conscious, I mean stingy. Jokes! I’ll give when I am led, but for the most part, I don’t like spending my own money (like many sane people). My first experience with money was getting a job at a deli. I’d reached an age where I realised one thing: I was broke, and asking my money for money to cover my various wants wasn’t going to cut it. So, I took to a classified ads website, and threw my application left and right. At the end of the day, I finally had a job.

I remember when the realisation hit me that I’d gotten the job. I went in early for the interview, and the lady was so nice. It was a family owned store, and so I guess you could say things were tightly knit and comfortable. I was going to be earning about $7 per hour! From there, I went on to KFC. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those lucky folks who bagged an actual retail job e.g. working in Cotton On or so, but I did have a good time. The best things about the deli and KFC job were the money, and of course, food! Nothing more awesome than getting to carry home food that hadn’t been sold for that day! I had pies and chicken for days. I also had terrible acne because of this over-zealousness. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.


So, the other day, I got my hands on a copy of The Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu. I felt like dancing, because I’d been waiting for this moment for ages. I kept hearing people rave about it, and wondered if it was worth the hype. I have high expectations, and so I have started on it. School work won’t let me be great (school work exists for me to be great, but let me whine a bit, okay!), but I’ll be able to finish it eventually.


First Impressions

So far, I see a nice and simple story line, nothing overly complex or slathered with all sorts of deep metaphors and what not. At the end of each chapter, there is a little write up on African women and money, followed by some tasks the reader is to carry out.

I can’t actually do some of the tasks, because they do not relate to my position in life right now. I don’t own a piece of land somewhere which I can call my asset, and I don’t have debtors (don’t plan to actually). My first impression of the book is that I like it, and I hope I can maintain this impression until the very end.

arese ugwu, the smart money woman pdf

The #GirlBoss Mirage

When you think of yourself in 5 years, what do you imagine? Whether a guy or a girl, I’m sure you want to be in a good place. I’m sure you don’t want to be living from hand to mouth, struggling to pay for the slightest things. I’m also pretty sure you don’t want to be someone who feels their heart constrict when they lose 50 Naira because it has an important use, maybe its your budget for transport.


Not saying 50 Naira is not important, but honestly, I’d like to be someone that doesn’t even notice 1000 Naira leaving my account. Of course, one should always take note of where their money is going, but I want to be someone that isn’t drastically hurt by it, you know?


I want to be successful in 5 years. When I think of my future self, I see myself decked in the hottest corporate wear (likely made in Nigeria, #buyNigerian, people), looking powerful as my shoes click clack against marble floors in an air conditioned office. I want to have my hair (whatever style it is in) on point, matched with nice makeup. I would hold a file in one hand and a nice bag in the other, going about my business. Most of all, I want to have a balance and be at a happy place in life, both on the outside (physically, bank statement-ly) and inside (hint: spiritually). 


However, the other day something hit me. This something, was actually quite disturbing.

Needs vs Wants

So, the other day, while inspired by the Smart Money Woman bits I’d read so far, I decided to think about my finances a bit more. I think about my finances every day, but this time, I needed to figure something out. I’m sure we’ve all heard about the needs v. wants gist, and how we should always put our needs at a priority.

I glanced at my online orders pending delivery, and I felt a bit down with myself. Sure, the things I’m ordering are awesome and will help a lot in several areas, but I thought about the long term. How will a 3 colour highlighter (psst, It wasn’t Fenty btw) palette help me in 2-5 years? Yes, my highlight may blind my enemies, but how will it make me more money?


How useful will makeup products be to me? Sure, I can have that beat face and attempt that Instagram baddie look I’ve been lusting after low-key-high-key (story for another day), but how will it contribute to my personal development? So what if those earrings are dead cute, how will they help me in the long term? I keep thinking of one of the points Sophia Amoruso made in #GIRLBOSS, about your money looking better in your account than on your feet. I like saving, but I also like shopping.

Related: 5 #GIRLBOSS Lessons x Quotes

It dawned upon me that I had no goals. You see, I have my basic needs covered – water, food, shelter, electricity, clothing (well, I have the basics to keep warm, anything else falls into wants). When you have those needs covered, you can then advance upwards on the triangle created by Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Since I have transcended this, I have come to a level where I need to start developing myself, setting myself up for the future. 


The issue is, I have no life goals. It was a disturbing fact which hit me, lingering in the depths of my mind as I went on my morning commute to university. Yes, I have the picture of the successful lady who looks good both inside and outside, and generally my ideas of what I consider as successful, but I have no concrete plans on how to get there. Of course, I want to have money, I want to have nice things, but how? I want to bag degrees, grow my CV, but those are so wide and vague. Where are the nitty gritty parts?

What are those steps I will take each year, month, week, day, in order to get to a particular point? I felt so sad upon realising this, and I know that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I like order (though my room is cluttered and a hot mess), and I don’t want to just ‘go with the flow’, just floating through life and all its experiences. I recall reading a post where the author had saved up to spend i.e. saving up money to buy a particular thing, as opposed to saving for the long term. I feel like that is what I’m doing. What am I saying? I don’t need to feel, it is what I am doing.

Frankly, I like money. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want to be financially buoyant, able to support their dream lifestyle? So, I’m trying to take charge. I don’t want to just float. I need a concrete idea. I’ve always been conscious about money, didn’t really need to be taught certain things. So, I’d like to share the journey to better money consciousness with you. This has been inspired by the Saving With OJ blog, and also the Smart Money Woman book. 

Right now, I don’t really consider myself to be an adult. I’m 19, and I have most of my needs catered for. I’m not in a place where I’m completely independent and have to manage things myself, but I will be eventually. Until then, I just want to start documenting the process of being money savvy, from when I have so little, as well as gearing myself up for that adulting thing.

I hope you, my readers, also enjoy this journey with me, and can also engage and share tips! I mean, really, who doesn’t want to be comfortable? Until the next post!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have life goals? How did you set them?

Help a sister out!

mind of amaka, blog signature

23 thoughts on “The Smart Money Woman, An Awakening”

  1. You know I’m currently reading this book and I’ve been so crazy about it and guarding it jealously like a treasure box.

    I’ve been in your shoes too. Mine was even worse cos I was working and had nothing to show for it than bags, shoes and clothes.

    So I sat down to pencil down my long term goal and what I really want, looking back, I am glad I did. I may not have gotten it fixed 100% yet but I am glad I took the steps.

    Now I create a balance. Sometimes, it’s focus on acquiring assets, sometimes it’s focus on looking like I had just stepped out of a magazine book ? But whatever the case, babygirl, you have to do you and make you happy.

    And learn to save when the rainy days come! They’d come in so handy tomorrow?

    I love this post!

    1. Haha @ guarding it jealously. Sharing is caring oh! I don’t want to enter the workforce and begin to spend endlessly, I want to spend on the right things! I’m glad you took wise steps towards financial woke-ness. I definitely like being prepared for rainy days! Thank you for stopping by girl!

  2. I just finished this book last weekend and honestly it’s an eye opener. I’m not so bad at saving but I like to splurge on expensive gifts all in the name of “rewarding my hardwork”.
    I’ve decided to form my own saving ratio and to avoid buying things I really don’t need. Auditing is hard but we’ll survive. Lol
    Lovely and Timely post.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Ahh I get the splurging, but even then, I’m stingy with all things o. I totally get you on the rewarding hardwork thing, sometimes you deserve it!

  3. I have read the Smart Money Woman book and I loved it. It reaffirmed my decision to take saving and investing seriously from the beginning of my career. The first step in building a saving and investing culture is to develop it as a mindset and it seems like you have come to that realisation. I am sure you will make a conscious effort to save and invest now after thinking about your goals, which you should also bear in mind might need to be modified as you grow older and your circumstances change.

    Thank you for giving my blog a shout out.

  4. I like this post. At 19, it’s amazing that you are this money conscious. At 19, I was a retail manager spending money flippantly and worrying about the next outfit for the next night out! I’ll be 30 in a few days, and I don’t think I really started being money smart until at least 24 or even 25. I love designer things and I had to learn that if I want those things, I can be so impulsive with my money. It took a lot of self discipline and a lot of vision boards but I managed it. I’m at a place where I feel good financially. You’re on the right track! Just don’t forget that an occasional splurge isn’t just okay, it’s necessary!

    1. Yes for sure! The occassional splurge is just essential sometimes, but it just has to be curbed a bit to give space for the more serious things. Thank you for not just dropping by, but also sharing your experience! I wouldn’t say I love designer stuff, but I do love stuff!

  5. Nicely written! Definitely need to read this book as I’ve heard so many good things about it. Having goals is very important and you can start off by building on yearly goals and breaking it down monthly or quarterly and even further by daily! Always think about the little actions and ask yourself questions like this.. “what can I do today that will bring me one step closer to my end of year goal?”

  6. I don’t spend on things I feel are expensive and so I love cheap quality items and this ends up making me buy so many things that would be useless to me after a period of time and then I just have to give them out…my money’s gone?

    I am struggling with saving money. I don’t even know how that works??. I need help!!

    1. THIS. IS. ME. Omg! Even my mum says I’m cheap and I love cheap things.. chai! All you have to do is put something at a deadly low price and I’ll snatch it up! Trying to control myself more now.

  7. Your narrative is bomb girl!! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, heard wayyy too much about it!
    I think it’s pretty amazing that you already want to have plans in check for your finances, you could check out, or their instagram, so much knowledge over there.
    All the best Amaka!

  8. oh dear! I LOVE THIS POST. well I read the smart money woman and indeed was an eye opener.just like you i’m not earning yet and i hope to cut down on my spending for things that won’t be of use after some time.

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