Gofaone Nina Tladi
I love August! It is my favourite month of the year because it is women’s month and my birth month-awesome people are born in August!! I think my birthday has always been a great excuse to “treat myself” which is code for “spend a lot of money” and I squeal with delight on my big day from the love and the last minute text from those who forgot it was my birthday and were reminded by Facebook!
Last year I bought an outfit specifically for my birthday; dress, shoes, hair and lashes. I looked spectacular. The truth is my birthday is my New Year and it is when I make resolutions and as usual money is the standard agenda item. My birthday is the week after payday so Ï anticipated the temptation to “treat myself” but this year I did not feel the wave of “feel good” as the money text came. All of a sudden there was an immediate need to bring out the budget tool and plan how I would utilize my money for the next month. In previous years, when asked what I wanted for my birthday, I would use my “humble voice” to mouth how anything would do as it would be “the thought that counts”.I have since learnt to tell people what I really want for my birthday. I would like a fuel card, vouchers to my favourite food store, cash to get my nails done and flowers. Unfortunately, my colleague is allergic to pollen so being the thoughtful person I won’t subject him to sinus discomfort. I would really love cards with P200 notes tucked into them. By the way, do they still sell birthday cards? They take me back to those gifts from childhood that bring the feels over a P100 note tucked inside and your mother would take it for “safe-keeping”. Weeks later when you saw something you wanted to purchase, your “safe-keeper” mom would ask ,”Ele gore dijo tse o ntseng o di ja,o akanya gore di rekwa ka eng?” I must admit that those words were the most poignant introduction to adulting and I so can’t wait to do this to my children! In 2018 I have made a lot of progress with my financial journey and do not want to use my birthday as an excuse to overspend.
Self-love or self-care are the buzz words in every article and social media post lately because, let’s face it, we are burnt out from the toxic relationships and habits which have left us doing too much. We have to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, socialize so that we can meet someone, get coupled up and have children, give our best at work for the next promotion or raise, read a book a week and squeeze in a workout every other day while looking perfect and smiley. This is not sustainable and so we have burnt out and now are all about ourselves constantly reassuring ourselves with the mantra, “The year of saying yes to everything!” I am all for taking care of oneself and ensuring your mental, physical and emotional well-being are a priority because you cannot give what you do not have. Unfortunately, this self gratification has snowballed into a spending spree, another reason to raise the white flag and surrender to the shopping monster within. I meet a lot of people who tell me how short life is and how they want to enjoy their money while they are still alive and . I get that, but although life is short, it is also long. With my 29th birthday around the corner, I feel what I can only describe as panic- the long list of “accomplishments” I would have amassed by now which are nowhere in sight. My friend had a mini life-crisis when he turned 30 and has assured me the things I am feeling will subside, mostly.
My greatest expressions of self care or self-love is being financially free and adopting habits that will ensure I reach my goals. I have found out that worrying about money affects me both mentally and physically. O itse stress sa madi tota? In article about financial wellness, Lettie Mzwinila, Business Development Manager of Allan Gray highlights that stressing about money is one of the leading causes of distress among working folks and advises that we take leave to deal with our financial woes. So when I stay home and cook instead of going out and spending money, when I don’t get gel manicures because they cost the same as a half tank of fuel, sticking to my budget and building up an emergency fund, I am actually showing myself love.
As I write my resolution list down for this, my last year of my 20s, I realise there is one thing standing in my way. The enemy of my progress to truly being financial free. Financial freedom is different for everyone and that is the beauty of it, like success, we can define it for ourselves. My definition of financial freedom is having options, from where I would like to live, vacation, providing adequately for my family and giving as much as I would like to charity. But this enemy of progress is like a ball and chain at my feet, making every step a strain-debt. I hate debt. Every time I look at my payslip and see that debt repayment I get so angry. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and frankly I am an angry black woman. This anger has caused me to act, to be radical about changing my life. I write it down in my journal, DEBT FREE BY THIRTY!!
As we enter September- the freedom month of Botswana, I cannot think of a more fitting discussion to tackle. I don’t know about you but as for me and my house, re lapisitswe ke dikoloto and since a Russell Wilson doppelganger is taking his time locating me, I will tackle this and win it. I see this as a gift to myself and most importantly, a way to start the next decade of my life with a fresh start.
If you are as fed up as I am of debt, join me as we discuss the game plan to free myself from debt, once and for all.
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent.