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This woman wants to help you save money this Christmas, and beyond

(CNN)What to do when you’re a single mom with a one-year old and a lot of financial burden? Write a blog about being more savvy about money, of course, and then a book too.

Lagos-based Arese Ugwu, who blogs about finances at smartmoneyafrica.org, said she’s combined her love of the TV show “Sex and the City” with her business acumen from her days working in financial services to write entertaining but practical advice in her book called The Smart Money Woman.
After Ugwu’s marriage ended, she realized she wasn’t saving and investing enough. “So I’m thinking, if I work in financial services and I earn money and it’s hard to save, then what about others?” She noticed a massive gap in the educational financial market in Nigeria, and decided to write her book.
    “It’s Sex and the City but in a very African context,” said Ugwu, whose book tells the story of five Nigerian women and how they go through their journey to financial freedom.

    Ugwu

    Your bank statement should reflect your values

    When you look at your bank statement at the end of each month, what does it say about you? If you’re spending over half your income on going out to restaurants and shopping, maybe it’s time to sit back and rethink your priorities, suggests Ugwu.
    “In Nigeria, we have a huge amount of people who look like they have a lot of money, but they have no financial cushion. They have no assets. They look like Kim Kardashian but they don’t have her assets.”

    Rethink 2017

    The new year is a particularly good time to rethink your financial situation.
    Think now about how to make money in 2017, says Ugwu. After a tumultuous year for Nigeria’s economy, Ugwu says to look beyond borders. “I think Nigerians need to think about other income streams for next year, and ask ‘What is your vision for 2017?'”
    Find ways to earn foreign currencies, for example, by tapping into the huge African market, suggests Ugwu. Selling your goods abroad can be lucrative. “Find other income streams that don’t rely on our currency.”

    Just say no to spending

    The simplest way to avoid debt is just to shun spending altogether, advises Ugwu.
    Christmas, and all holidays, should be a time of sharing and spending time with family, advises Ugwu. “That doesn’t always mean you have to spend money,” says Ugwu.
    “Focus on experiences instead of things,” she says.

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