The YOLO train where you live every day like it’s your last can be exhilarating. However, if you've been on it, you also know that it usually comes screeching to a halt in the middle of the month. Your account balance suddenly reads like a digital watch, then you find yourself at the mercy of blood-hungry shylocks. It’s time to get off this train.
If there is more month at the end of the money, it means you are spending more than you are earning. The million-dollar question then becomes, where is the money? Tracking your expenditure is the only way to find out. For those that didn’t particularly enjoy math class in secondary school, the good news is that some local mobile money services like Safaricom have introduced a service where you can check exactly where you are spending your money. Knowing exactly how much you spend on makeup or drinks with the girls is also as easy as downloading an app on your phone. And there’s still the good old pen and paper. You have no excuse here.
The Wakeup Call
You know your truest friend who can see through your bullshit and will not hesitate to call you out on it? When it comes to your money, that is your expenditure tracking app. Thinking about how much money you spend on lunch at that restaurant around the corner from your office instead of carrying food from home is one thing, seeing that you eat Ksh 25,000 at lunch on the other hand, is a different thing. It’s a wake-up call snapping you out of your bad habits.
If you are lucky, you may have landed one of those God-sent men who will keep asking you whether they are loving you the right way or not. The ones who tell you to tell them if anything changes. Be this way with your money – intentional.
The big question here is, am I satisfied with my habits? Seeing that you spend more on your coffee break than you do on your grocery shopping will do more than explain your empty pockets mid-month. It will make you want to do better.
What Is Important To You?
If you were raised by Kenyan parents, then you were warned against buying a car before you owned a piece of land. “Usipark gari kwa nyumba ya wenyewe,” you were told. (Don’t buy a car to park it in front of someone else’s house).
According to the literacy experts, we have been doing it all wrong. We value things differently. The big money mistake we are making is placing value on the things that matter to the people around us or people on social media. If you have never wanted to own a piece of land but you think a car will make your life manageable and all your dreams have a red, sleek car in it, that’s what’s important to you. If all you want to do is travel, document it, and collect memories while everyone else is building a greenhouse because it’s the craze, do you.
Fix The Deficit
So you have tracked your expenses and realized that you have been living a champagne life on a beer budget, what now? The first instinct of course will be to cut down on spending in certain areas. This will help but you can only cut down on so much. The idea of living is not pain. A better idea finding the difference between the kind of life you want and the kind of life your income can afford you. Then find ways to meet that gap. How can you make more money? Can you ask for a raise at your job? Can you apply for a better paying job? Can you start a side hustle? Can your savings go into an investment? You have options.