By Susan Gitonga
It’s mid month and if most of you were honest, your pocket is quickly running dry. You worked so hard to get a job and you thought your problems with money would end, but even after securing a well paying job, you’re still struggling to make ends meet.
“I’m broke” is one of the most common sayings. But you were paid the other day, so the question begging is, “Where is your money going?”
You have a job paying you 30K , for example, and “you’re broke.” What will someone earning 10K every month say? Probably they would think that their life is stuck?
It all trickles down to your spending habits. It is that simple. How you spend your money, where you go on weekends with friends, are the taps running your pocket dry. I don’t mean that you become a miser, but it is important to be a disciplined spender.
The most important thing to do when you get that cash in the bank at the end of the month is to come up with a budget. List down your expected expenses before you buy anything.
Uncontrolled spending, unfortunately, is the cause of miseries and misfortunes. People tend to give out money, just because they have the money in their hands, hence ignore the likely impact of unplanned spending.
A good budget will consist of basics such as food, transport, clothing, financial obligations like School fees among others. What most people don’t allocate money for are the miscellaneous items. Even offices have petty cash to run, so that a specific amount of money is set aside to buy office tea and cater for short notice issues.
Miscellaneous items include luxury we tend to have during weekends, which in most cases, are not budgeted for.
When you fail to plan and allocate money for the miscellaneous, you end up taking some money out of budget stream to spend. And this is why people end up so broke they can’t afford to go to work some days and have to ask their friends for a top up.
Here Are Events Which Take Up Your Money
1. Your friend has a birthday that you were not aware of early enough to plan for. As a sign of your friendship you decide to get them a gift. You end up spending what you had not penned for. It therefore becomes hard to account for such expenses, since it is a onetime withdrawal from the bank of your mobile money service providers.
2. You see on your WhatsApp group of former schoolmates gearing up for a road trip that week. You really want to be part of that fun fair; but you had not planned. You fear missing out on joining Akinyi who assured you of a hot gossip when you get there. No doubt, you end up spending for the same. You come back home with memories, less of money.
3. Your workmates want to have an evening drink on a Friday, for example, but ideally you have some cash, probably meant for food in the house. Joining friends out isn’t a bad idea, but it is important to plan for everything. Ideally, you will end up paying for drinks as you wipe the Friday night away.
4. Ladies, more likely, fall trap of buying that nice pair of shoes on display along the streets from work. You must have it, you say to yourself. You are afraid you might not find such a pair the next day. With money you had not planned to spend, you buy the shoes. It looks good, but your pocket doesn’t.
5. You had a long day at work and you believe you’re too tired to cook. You pass by the nearest Fast Food to grab some chips and chicken on your way home. The very ripe tomatoes and dhania you were supposed to use to cook that evening go bad and you not only waste the vegetables, but you end up wasting your money.
6. You are lonely at home and you decide to call up your friend. As you chat, she suggests that you meet up for coffee. With money you were not ready to spend; you end up at a joint and leave a good thousand bob on the table.
7. Your friend tags you along to a wedding and you have to spend on transport and food. Costs you were not ready to account for.
All these are examples of how our money disappears and we are left flat broke.
You have to be disciplined and have a tight budget. There’s nothing wrong with spending on miscellaneous items, but we have to budget for such expenses.
If you’re earning 25K, for example, you can allocate 5K for Miscellaneous and once that 5K is over you should be disciplined enough to know that you don’t have any more money to spend until the next month.
When you fail to plan you will be broke in the course of the month. That is a guarantee.
Have a simple budget. Write a list of all the things you need to spend money on every month. Add that extra column of fun things you’d like to spend on and allocate some money for it.
Mark special events on your calendar early. That birthday, that wedding, that trip and decide if you can afford to attend all these events with the budget you have set.
That, my friends, is the only way we can survive through life. Have a budget for every single thing. Leave the broke family and join the financially stable folk.
You can do it!
Got any comments or questions? Leave them below. Susan is a Communications Officer at Career Point Kenya. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org