I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the company I work for, especially for the creative humans that work here. Seriously, we have a bunch of highly qualified and intelligent people that offer up their brains to educate the rest of us.
Last year our company introduced a monthly segment called Adulting 101, these monthly presentations include all the “adult” things we “in denial” adults don’t want to deal with, don’t know how to deal with or simply just don’t care to deal with. With permission from the brains behind these handy and useful tips, I wanted to share this new found knowledge with the rest of the world. We attend schools, varsities and universities yet we still have no inkling of how tax works, how to save for our future, etc, etc, etc. So without further ado here is your first lesson.
Welcome to your first Adulting 101 class – Personal Budgeting with a side order of tears
– By Isabella Bristow
- You get a finite amount of money a month. For the purpose of this post, let’s say you get R100.00 (after tax)
- You also have definite expenses, like rent, food, school fees, student loan repayments, car repayments, etc. I could go on but it’s more fun to live in denial.
- R5 for rent, R10 for student loan, R5 for food, R5 for petrol, R5 for electricity, R20 for medical aid, and R15 for savings (Side note, you should be saving – more on this next week). That’s a total of R65
- Your leftover amount is R35. This is your free money. You can treat yo self, save some, pay off more debt – whatever
- Self-control (This requires an actual adult skill) You need to plan what you’re going to spend your money on, and then ACTUALLY do that. This will mean (if you’re tryna get a handle on your money) saying NO to activities, spending less on those barrister coffees, not getting your nails did, and not buying yet another pair of sneakers, etc.
- We are a culture of consumers, and it can be hard to break the pattern. Once you critically analyse your spending habits, you’ll start to see a pattern in behaviour.
THE BIG, HOW?
YES, it sounds boring as hell. And it is. But this is how you critically analyse your spending
- START today. Start saving your receipts. If you pay for things in cash, take note of what you are spending the money on (I went out and bought myself a small notebook, and each time I made a purchase (no matter how small) I wrote it down.
- At the end of the month, you need to list all the money you spent, where you spent it, and start forming a clearer picture of your spending habits.
I tested out Isabella’s method for getting a grip on my money for the months of Jan and Feb and came to the very shocking realisation that most of my money is being wasted on smaller, insignificant and unnecessary items (Coffee, waters, snacks, lunches, parking, etc) There are always ways to work around the smaller things. Like making lunch at home, buying coffee as a treat, bringing water from home, walk when you can, etc. However, the bigger things, like that extra pair of sneakers, there are no workarounds. If you’re wanting to save money and get to grips with your spending you’ll need to make a few sacrifices.
DEBT – The Dirty D-word & CREDIT
- If you have debt, don’t panic, we all do. Student loans, car debt, house debt, general I-have-lost-control-of-my-life debt. Take a deep breath. It is manageable. Just don’t try to avoid it, because then you’ll get blacklisted (google this… loads of information online)
- Credit card debt usually has the highest interest rates, so if you have credit card debt, best to pay that off first. Then you can focus on your other debt.
- Don’t open multiple credit cards. Just, just don’t do it.
- Credit score – This is a thing. You accumulate a credit score from the time the state (SARS, any financial institution, etc) recognises you as a contributing adult.
- Credit scores are used by most lenders. They’re important to have if ever you decide to purchase a home, a car, or even open your own business. A bad credit score (from not repaying credit cards & other loans) will make it hard for you to do any of the abovementioned. – https://www.mycreditcheck.co.za/
- If you avoid repayments on loans and consistently default on payments, you can be blacklisted.
- Debt counselling & consolidation are services that are offered if you find yourself up the creek with no paddle.
- Talk to someone you trust if you need help.
- Think about yourself, and your future. No one else is going to.
Thanks, Isabella – I have recognised where I am going wrong, I am able to save, and important, be a little wiser with my money. Take small steps, rather then none at all.
Images – Tegan Smith Photography