The year that changed my life

Gofaone Nina Tladi

“Wednesday, March 13, 2018. There are seven days, 11 hours, 5 minutes and about 32 seconds to payday. I live for payday; the sturdiness and sense of temporary security that I cling onto for 48 hours until my debit orders pick at my salary like vultures, until I am left counting the days until the next payday.”

I wrote these words in one of my many journals, filled with ideas that for most of my life lay hidden on my phones notepad and now Goldie (my laptop). Every week for a year I have shared my highs, lows and lulls of getting my financial act together. Reading my initial submission makes me very emotional as I can remember how anxious I was waiting for payday and asking my mother for money to fuel my car to get to work as I had maxed out my credit card. I am also proud of the progress I have made, both in gaining greater compassion for people and their financial troubles.

I read “the matter between” and say a silent prayer for these people, while getting control of myself and my finances. I love writing, I healed myself through it and every week for a year. I have had a therapy session and hope I have encouraged you in some way to look within and have the courage to get your financial act together.

I am very sentimental and as I spent last week reading all my previous work . I have come to see how a year can change one’s life, past the resolutions and it is these that I wish to share with you:
• Choice: I hit my version of rock bottom and in my state of anxiety and overwhelm decided that I never ever wanted to feel so defeated and helpless again in my life. I made the choice to change my life. As you read this, you can decide in this moment to change;
• Consistency: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be consistent. Do the small things well and often, and be committed. Do what you said you were going to do even when the mood you said it in is gone. I have written every week for a year , even when I was exhausted or overwhelmed with work, I always took up Goldie and wrote. I am committed to my financial goals and have built confidence in my ability to make financial decisions through consistently sticking to my budget. “Wealth is largely the result of habit.”John Jacob Astor
• Ignorance is costly: I love reading almost as much as I do writing. I am constantly reading and listening to personal finance books or podcasts. This has not only expanded my view and stance on personal finance, but has saved me a lot of money, ignorance is extremely expensive. Learn to read everything and closely critique everything, from your bank statements, policy documents before you sign and any other contract. Knowledge is power is not just a nice saying, it is a truth that has stood the test of time. Look on the Facebook page for a list of books and podcasts to follow.
• Debt is dumb: I used to think that there was good and bad debt, but now I believe that the only good debt is debt that is paid off. I am tackling my debt with a vengeance. I am team Dave Ramsey and have joined millions of people around the world who are paying off their debt, houses included. On the days it feels like I will take forever to pay off my debt, I day dream of my debt free scream on the steps of my bank and probably sobbing from joy. My income is my most powerful wealth building tool, and I have to get it back and break free. Think about the all the money you pay towards debt and imagine how that money would change your life if you used it to save and invest? I reject the idea that I will never progress without debt and will work hard and be patient to buy a car and one day a house cash.
• Boundaries: I was always “yes”person and this resulted in a lot of turmoil in my life, when I began my financial journey I had to learn to say no to myself and then to others and set boundaries. I cannot give what I do not have.
• Abantu bazothini: many people fear change because they are overwhelmed with the work required. We may also fear people bringing up our past failures. It is never too late to change or set new standards for yourself because you are not a hypocrite, you have grown. Who better to encourage people to get their financial act together than someone who made a mess of it? I don’t care what people think anymore, it’s my life and will I manage it accordingly. Lastly, I realise that no one cares what car I drive nearly as much as I do.

· YOLO is a waste of time: we are often encouraged to waste our 20s at meaningless parties with repetitive bad choices and habits and those same people who encourage us to YOLO have high expectations to have our acts together when we enter our 30s. You can not become what you don’t practise. The 20s are the time to build a foundation of good health, solid financial habits and get out of debt. My gift to myself for my 30th birthday is not a credit card, but debt freedom and a fully funded emergency fund. I breathe easier at the thought. Throw the YOLO advice in the trash and get to work on practising being the person you want to be. The sooner you get to work the better, it’s never too late, but being late to the party means you will have a greater mess to clean up.

· Money won’t make me happy: I keep my debt free chart close to me and at one point believed that I would be happier when I was debt free which resulted in discontent. I am happy today, in this moment. Even with what feels financial dry land, I have a loving family, friends and do meaningful work.

I used to get paid and spend most of the money by the weekend and limp all the way to payday. I looked great, but I was slaying on credit and a payday missed away from financial ruin. Today I have an annual budget, which I broke up into monthly and weekly targets. I paid off my credit card, store account, the car, motshelo and a small family loan. I have less stuff as I don’t shop anymore, I am focused and have learned that patience is the key to building wealth. I am not where I want to be, but thank GOD I am not where I used to be!!

“You can rise up from anything. You can completely recreate yourself. Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck. You have choices. You can think new thoughts, learn something new and create new habits. All that matters is that you decide today and never look back.” Awaken_healers.

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