picture: Google Images
OMW guys!! This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life! I’m addicted to clothes. I’m sure most girls are like that and it’s really nice to be independent and working for my own money but one thing is painfully becoming clearer. I simply just can’t afford myself!
I grew up in a house where we had to wait for my mom to complete the ‘savings cycle’ before we could get anything we wanted, that she classified as a ‘luxury’. And it was really painful because by the time you had it, everyone else was already over it. And I now understand her crazy control over money.
So far I’ve managed to live debt free but everytime I set up my budget I quickly realize that I need additional money. One thing someone very wise taught me was – just because you can pay it back doesn’t mean you can afford it. Sit down and calculate the money you need to pay back, for something that you needed a bit more patience to save for. In South Africa retailers add up to an additional 20% on your account which is super ridiculous seeing that you’re paying it off over 3 to 4 months.
I also know about things that may derail your plans. Like sending money home (yes, people still do that) and paying off college debts, studying part time, having to buy necessary furniture and also having to squeeze in entertainment in there (let’s face it – a turn up is coming). This is really when you need to apply some of the stages of grief. If you stay in denial, you’ll definitely be screwed in the days leading to your next pay cheque (trust me – I’ve been there). Acceptance is the only thing that will get you through. Accept that you can’t buy those boots/watch/concealer. The sooner, the better because if you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself saying…I need it, I’ll deal with the consequences later. And the consequences are never friendly!
Here are some tips:
· Set up a budget based on the things that you need. Start with the fixed costs. Like your accommodation, electricity bill, groceries (estimation), outstanding debts that need to be taken care of.
· From the remaining balance, remove the money you want to save. Start small. We all have #savingsgoals but if you’re not realistic, will lose the courage to try again if things don’t according to plan.
· If you like to go for drinks on most weekends, classify that under ‘entertainment’. This is the money we all remember when the days are dark. Sit down with a person you always go out with so that you don’t make a low estimate. These days we have fun on a budget (lol).
· After you’ve drawn up your budget and taken out your savings, make peace with the fact that the money remaining is your variable costs money for 30 days. And those days are LOOOONNNGG!!
· To be a control freak on the next level, I’d suggest that you use the same no cost survival skills you used when there was no money (or less money) to survive when you have money. Like not going to the mall to do nothing, first thinking if something is a necessity or not, and making a lunch box to work rather than buying, go for 4 days or more without takeaways, etc.
· Girl Tip – don’t buy things that you don’t use every day when your budget is tight. Rather than buying shoes fit for a wedding costing R600 or so rather buy 2 pairs of ‘work shoes’ and a few accessories for work. If you find nice things you can work them into a more formal outfit by adding on a blazer and a statement neckpiece.
· Guy tip – Your clothes are so expensive. I’ve met guys who are such brand lovers. If you can’t afford it go ahead and get those jeans but buy cheaper shirts so that you can alternate at the top. It’s all about selection. And a basic tee always looks nice on a guy. No-one will know where it’s from but you because they all look the same. Living above your means is not worth it.
I hope these tips will be helpful! I think in the end living debt free is a mind thing. Change your attitude about the things you need and things you can’t live without.
Till next time!!