Giddy with excitement, Jane made her way into Surulere Mall. Hardly glancing around, she found her way into Pretty toes, a massive suite on the left side of the mall. Three weeks ago, on an outing with her friends, she had discovered the shoe of her dreams. A classy, chic and unusual Jimmy Choo, nothing could stop her from getting it, not even the fact that she had no money. Instantly, she gave the sales lady 20% of the price to tie down the shoe, promising to return as soon as salary was paid. She got her alert today and was now at the mall to fulfill her promise.
Two weeks after, Jane dragged herself into the house, hissing as she realized there was no power. She called the generator guy again, and again he insisted she needed seven thousand Naira to fix it. Just seven thousand Naira, and she couldn’t afford it; except she wanted to walk to work the rest of the month. Who could have guessed the generator would pack up? It’s not that her job pays too little; she could just never spread it through the month. This month for instance, if only she had not bought those shoes or the human hair from Bimbola’s stylist. Now she barely had enough for essentials like car maintenance and the month was merely on its 15th day.
Many people can relate to Jane’s dilemma. You welcome salary with excitement, settling bills and buying at will for the first few days until your dwindling account gives you a red sign, forcing you to stop. You are already broke even though it’s still a long time to the next pay.
However, this situation is easily avoidable by simply drawing up a personal budget. A few days to your salary, write out the amount you are expecting and a plan as to how it will be spent. Start with your savings, then the ‘must haves’; items that are essential to your wellbeing like house maintenance, food, transport, electricity. Etc. Proceed to the ‘would like to haves’ like aso ebi for your cousin’s wedding and the food processor your wife won’t stop talking about. Up next is the ‘Can do withouts’ like the belt you want just because it is fine or a new toy set for your baby who already has a lot of toys. Often, as you write the list and input the corresponding cost, you discover the ones you will have to postpone or completely delete. You can use the percentage system to divide your income or actual values of items on the list. Remember to leave something for entertainment, emergencies and your faith (if applicable).
It is important to put the budget in a place where you can easily see it as the month progresses; by your bedside or on your phone. Your success rate depends on your compliance rate. The more you stick to your budget, the more money you have for the things that matter. You will also be able to save consistently. You can set up a direct debit order to your Money Market Fund to ensure nothing gets in the way of your savings or financial goals.