My savings story: 'It felt great to finally hold my cello'

Suzanne Bearne
·4 min read

A keen classical music fan, there’d always been one particular item Emmanuel Odusami had longed to hold in his arms. “It had been my dream to learn and play the cello since I was a teenager,” says Odusami, 29, a camera technician living in Ilford. “I’ve always been interested in classical music. I studied it and I loved listening to the cello. The instrument really speaks to me.”

By his late 20s, Odusami had reached a point where he felt ready to pursue his musical ambitions. With his heart set on buying his own cello, together with a bunch of lessons to help him on his way, Odusami set up a savings account with a fixed interest rate – but which restricted access for a year.

“I was inspired by my sister who held a similar account,” Odusami says. “I always try to follow what she does financially.” He put aside £300 a month over the course of the year, and by the following December he’d built up a pot of £3,600.

Fortunately, saving felt quite natural to Odusami. “I’ve always been a saver,” he says. “My mum and dad instilled that in me and my siblings. As soon as I had any money when I was a child, whether that was pocket money or birthday money, I’d think strategically and save it. If I had £20 from my nan, I thought I best not blow it on sweets. I remember always putting money in my junior savings account and in my piggy bank.”

Saving up over the course of 2019 meant Odusami felt ready to go ahead and spend £500 on the cello and lessons. “I’d wanted a cello for a long time but I’d never had the time and money to dedicate to it before. Finally, it was a perfect alignment as I had the money and some time off from work.”

From the very beginning the instrument has been making memorable moments. “It felt great to finally hold my cello; to have something physical that made my goal tangible,” he says. “I had no excuse but to finally make my music.”

“When the delivery person knocked on the door I was in the bath,” laughs Odusami. “I had to run down the street in a bathrobe and chase the van down. I just really wanted my cello!”

Although he has enjoyed a number of lessons, Odusami says he feels like he’s at the beginning of his musical journey with the cello. “I have been practising consistently, however, progress has been a lot slower than I would have liked.”

“I’m a long way off from where I want to be,” says Odusami, who is now learning a wide selection of pieces, from movements in George Frideric Handel’s Messiah to 21 Seconds by So Solid Crew, and has been taking online lessons during the pandemic. “I don’t feel confident enough to go on stage and play a piece for people, but hopefully it is within reach. The goal is to play pop songs, hip-hop and classical favourites and receive YouTube and Instagram views. My plan then is to start creating original music.”

Nonetheless, he’s found the cello has a way of bringing people together. “I’m currently working at a vaccination centre. This week I found out one of my colleagues is a cello teacher. She very kindly fixed my cello.”

“I’ve played for my loved ones over Zoom but I don’t yet sound very good. I’m pretty sure none of my neighbours can hear me practising – or at least I hope not. One of my mid-term goals, however, is to shoot a music video on my estate and play for my neighbours once I’m good enough.”

For Odusami, the habit of saving has not only led to him achieving his goals but made him feel more self-reliant. “Saving and putting money aside is helping me become more financially independent,” says Odusami, who hopes to buy his first home in the future.

Jill Waters, retail director at NS&I, says: “Getting into the habit of saving as a child certainly pays off when you become an adult. You can unleash your happy childhood passions by saving and share your joy with others.”

Never one not to have a savings plan, Odusami is continuing to put away £300 a month to buy more items on his wishlist.

“As I usually work in media, I could do with another laptop and some camera equipment,” he says. “I’d really love a new laptop and I could go out and buy one but, just like the cello, I like being in a satisfying position of saving for an item and buying it comfortably. I think my mentality has always been just because I can buy something doesn’t mean I should. I want to buy something comfortably and delay the gratification. It’s good when it doesn’t feel painful because you’ve built the money up over time and haven’t exhausted every penny for it.”

Having something joyful to save towards can make putting money aside easier. Start saving for a sunny day with the help of NS&I. Visit nsandi.com for more information