Hey guys! So call me crazy but one of the few things I have been able to teach myself is how not to want what I cannot afford. Let’s be honest, money matters can land you in some steaming heap of chicken do-do. I’ve learned how not to see the weave I can’t afford, how not to want to go out and have an expensive lunch I cannot afford.
Another thing I taught myself is how to say no to super cool stuff I cannot pay for right now. Half the time I have the little voice inside of me asking why I cannot go out for lunch and buy some delicious ice-cream to take home afterwards and I have to scream back at the voice “because I can’t afford it”!
I cannot count how many times I have gotten myself into a financial mix because I thought I should spoil myself with something new or a special meal, and when I sit down to think about it I find out that I did not need it.
So it started out in my third year, where there was a marginal deduction in my allowance due to bank rates and all that happy stuff. I was immediately thrown into the high seas of major money management. Survive or drown! For as long as I can remember I haven’t been one to throw money around or waste it buying things I don’t need (my parents would attest to that), but the switch I experienced between my second and third year showed me where my purse had been leaking. In my third year I couldn’t just cool off on whatever chilled drink around me or order in food so many times a week. I couldn’t go to whatever salon pleased me or buy something (a bag, shoes, clothes, jewellery, kitchen utensils, whatever) because it looked nice; or the grandmother of them all- going out with friends to have dinner at a very nice restaurant. In other words those little things that I ordinarily wouldn’t look at as a ‘big deal’ were draining my funds.
It was when I had the money cut that I realised my upkeep was pretty affordable, considering my rent and water were already settled. But even after the realisation and my efforts to change my behaviour it still felt like my money was disappearing.
I mean I would have GHC50 on me on Monday and by Thursday its 20. What did I do? All I can remember is buying some cake for GHC3 that I didn’t even like and then transportation. It would have been cool if I knew what I spent it on but I didn’t. So I would try to be more prudent by only carrying what I needed for the day or week in my purse which helped significantly but then I wanted to know how to apportion my money correctly and know what I was spending it on.
So in my final year I got a book where I had the opposite of a budget. In my book I would write how much I got for the month and then write all my expenditures as I was making them. So for instance GHC400 would be at the top of the page and then I would have GHC60 on groceries, GHC5 on transportation, and keep subtracting from 400 as I went along. That way I knew where I was overspending and where to cut down. Then I took it a step further and made it an almost budget where I put the money I got for the month and deducted my expenses starting from the most important, from what is left I would know how much I could spend that month on my upkeep. This helped me get organised and cut down on unnecessary expenditure.
Now I am not little miss nothing, there were times friends either had to float me cash or flat out bail me out but without that book I would have been a mess. Then much later after some practice I got better at managing my funds to the point that that people who I was sure got a higher allowance than me would argue that I had more. And from time to time I would notice people I thought that had maybe twice as much as I did get broke before the end of the month and I would have change.
I learned how to make a shopping list and stick strictly to it. Till today I carry snacks and water or a drink in my bag (because I love to eat between meals) so I wouldn’t feel forced to buy something overpriced.
Next I wanted to take it a step further and do a full monthly budget, thank God for the budget template on excel (shout out to Billy!) that is helping a lot! It showed me all the stuff I didn’t pay attention to before but I spend money on, and now because I have a laid down budget I do not feel as restricted. I can do something nice for myself and have some fun because I know I budgeted for it.
This is my little money management story. It is a bit haphazard but I hope it helps some of you out there. And if you want to get more money management tips or read my rants about money managements be sure to tell me so either by commenting or sending me a mail check the Contact section.
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Little Tip: Just so you know there is no shame in not being able to afford something at the moment, especially if it means not living above your means.
Till next time.