One down, eleven more to go!

Gofaone Nina Tladi

I want to make it a ritual to treat myself to coffee and prepare for the infusion of cash on payday which for me is this Friday. I have made huge strides in project “get your financial act together” but I am constantly torn between “treat yourself Moghel and my bank account yelling DON’T DO IT!!” I need to prepare myself mentally for payday itself and the payday cycle. I am not immune to the Friday joy.

There should be a law against getting paid on a Friday. The TGIF joy coupled with happy face texts is a euphoric spending spree weekend in the making. However, personal finance is more about self-discipline than the day we get paid. I shared a tweet by Jim Carey that was like a punch in the gut, “It’s really sad that so much of our society says,Thank God it’s Friday. Thank God 5 out of 7 days of my life is over. Now I’m gonna spend 2 of those 7 days drunk so I don’t have to think about the upcoming 5/7ths of this week.”

I used to live for payday but the other days in between were a haze of excitement followed by the anxious wait for payday.
The first salary for 2019 was a bit challenged due to some unforeseen events which have forced me to relook at my budget more closely and take corrective action. I have a 2019 budget which I prepared in December and as I input the variances and have to adjust some things, I need to prepare myself for Friday. When I get that happy face text I am ready to allocate to the different accounts accordingly or in some cases the beneficiary list. When the money text comes, I do a little dance, then I go into beast mode. My budget goes a little like this:

• Give: I give a certain percentage as a tithe on all income that I make. This has helped me to be more cognizant of money and has helped me live well on what I have after giving. My friend doesn’t tithe but gives to her family which is her section of the budget. Giving is such an important thing for me and selfishly makes me feel so good and I can’t wait to give more in the future. I want to practise giving with the little I have so that one day I won’t freak out to give a P1 million.

• Emergency fund: When you have an emergency fund a crisis becomes an inconvenience. I made a withdrawal from mine and so I have to replenish it. Having money set aside for emergencies is the best thing you can do for your finances as well as your peace of mind followed by my next point;

• Debt: I am on track to be debt free this year. I doubled the loan repayment amount, my net pay comes with this additional amount already deducted which helps as I may spend the money. Having certain payments automated is a great thing.I am team #DebtFree and as many people get their increases etc, I strongly advise them to allocate this towards paying off debt. Most people complain about not having enough money, one of the culprits is that we keep giving it away to people we owe. If you don’t owe anyone, you will have money. Being debt free is like giving myself a permanent raise, you get to keep what you earn. Take a minute to think what your payslip would look like if you didn’t have a car loan, personal loan or mortgage. Mind blowing right!!!

• The four walls: The four walls are housing,food, utilities and insurance so they have their own deductions. For most people this is a huge chunk of their budget and also where the leaks are. People overspend on food especially, I failed my weekly lunchbox challenge but I want to try again to pack lunch to work everyday to save money. This again is the largest part of most people’s budget so plan these and pay close attention to where you can cut back. For example car pooling is a great way to save on fuel and less traffic.

• Fun: To ensure I attain my goal of being debt free I have had to scorch all the fun and live on very little. I love coffee, I used to buy it P30 everyday, granted I would get the 10th one for free, it was about P900 a month. Nowadays I drink instant coffee, my colleague and I take turns buying it which lasts all month and I buy fancy coffee every other week. I love coffee, it is a thing for me, it helps me to be nicer to my colleagues. I also keep my Nandos date and my pretty pink gel overlay. I keep a few things so that I don’t get discouraged. I put away P400 to this but I am quite flexible, I love a pink mani but I have had bare nails and I didn’t die. I remind myself that ultimately once I am debt free I will be able to have more fun. For now, as Dave Ramsey would say I live like no one else so that later I can live and give like no one else.”

I used to think budgeting was like working out but I have come to realise that when someone wants to lose weight and keep it off diet, is the most important factor. I could workout everyday, but if I eat horribly I won’t make progress. You can’t out work a terrible diet and the same is true for budgeting.

You can’t out earn terrible spending habits. We all know someone who we perceive to have a lot of money, but are struggling financially because they don’t act their wage-we are that person. Budgeting is the diet of financial wellness, you have to budget. Knowing exactly where your money goes so that you are prepared and your TGIF doesn’t quickly become a blue Monday of spenders remorse.

As the second payday of the year comes around, reflect on where you erred with the January salary and make it a point not to repeat the same mistakes . There are 11 more paydays this year so we can turn things around to ensure progress.This pay cycle do something different with your money. Be as intentional to save, invest, pay off debt on a Monday as you would on a Friday or Saturday night. In the words of urban dictionary-keep that same energy.

PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people arent, consistent!
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