Most of us don't zoom into where or how we spend our money - partially because we don't have enough to think about anything but the basics. You know... food, electricity, transport, school fees etc. However, as we live and learn and become financially savvy women, the importance of saving or investing has been thoroughly highlighted to us. We are now stuck with how to begin to carve out that “extra” R50 to save because our budget is already set. This is where drastic measures come in.
The thing about money is that it loves a routine. The minute you start having an income, you automatically find and settle into “things your money is designated to do” each month. It doesn’t even matter how important those things are because they are obligations - or debts... and before you know it, you are trapped.
“Before you know it, each cent of your hard-earned money has a name and you have no cent to spare.”
This is highly unfortunate because then you never have money for emergencies or “new” unexpected expenses. So, a burst tire or your child’s impromptu school field trip takes you out of budget and straight into debt.
If this is your situation, it may be time to take radical steps to redress your financial situation.
Now, I know I said drastic and you’re probably thinking I’m about to destroy your relationship with the daily R30 coffee you buy. No, that’s not it. However, an assessment of what you spend money on is absolutely necessary. There was a time when you didn’t have the premium DStv package or a cellphone contact with ridiculous interest and you survived just fine. A lot of things start feeling like “needs” because you’ve been doing or having it for a while.
However, if you truly look at it, you hardly ever watch TV so maybe instead of paying R1000, rather pay R300 or something on a streaming service? Re-assess, cancel contracts, or opt for cheaper options. This may not free up thousands of rands to throw into your savings account but a few hundreds will definitely make it out.
Get Rid Of Debt
The thing about debt is, it truly just refuses to end. You take a smaller-nyana loan and next thing you know you are paying twice or thrice what you took over several months. If you know any better, then you are without any debt. But if you are like the rest of us, then you are probably paying back a loan or two... or that clothing account with R8000 worth of credit bought all the cousins and niece their last Christmas clothes so now you are paying all that money back.
If you could direct all your energy and cents into paying back the money and then closing that account, the money that currently leaves your account every payday will soon need a new place to go. That place should be your savings account.
Be A Cheapstake… At Least For A While
The truth is a reset is never easy. When you get used to living a certain way, change isn’t always a welcome option but if you are working hard and essentially - have nothing to show for it, then that change is not optional for you. You need to get past surviving and start truly thriving, that’s the real definition of living soft. Having money and spending it the right way, gives you that option. So if you need to sit out the socialite lifestyle for a month or two so that you can get your sh*t together. Do it. If you need to take a break from your sushi dates or monthly spa dates, maybe do that.
It won’t be permanent, once you get to a point where you spend your money to live, save and invest and eventually get to the stage where your money (at least a portion of it) works for you, then you can re-introduce the luxuries and live the rich aunty life you were always meant to live.