Do you often find that your money is never enough? Are you still living paycheck to paycheck? Are you constantly having to borrow money? Well meet your new friend – The Lady Budget. She will give you an overview of the revenue at your disposal to cater for your needs. Lady Budget enables you to plan your finances so as to fulfill your wealth vision. Your Lady Budget will be loyal if you are too, but she requires transparency, and a stick to it kind of attitude.
In exchange, she promises: empowerment. There are many women African women who stay in bad, sometimes abusive relationships because they are not financially independent. In short, they don’t have their own money, so they have to maintain friendships, lovers, and family who ill treat them so that they be guaranteed financial support. Today we want to share budgeting tips with you so that no matter how little your income, no matter how you earn it, you will learn live a life that will get you on the path to true independence. Creating and sticking to your Lady Budget will leave you empowered.
Your revenues are all your sources of income during the month. They generally include a combination of your salary/pocket money/alimony/pension, allowance from family/partner/spouse, inheritance funds, returns on investments, bonus, etc. Revenues are generally fixed and expected so they are easy to figure out.
The best advice I received when I started working was to use all of my talents and skills to diversify my sources of revenues. It is common for women across Africa to be involved in several activities, but we need to learn how to make money out of our talents. (More on this in the next blog post).
Note: As an entrepreneur, it is important to separate your personal life from your professional life. You need to give yourself a fixed salary based on your company’s revenues, no matter how small the salary is. That way, you make sure that your basic personal needs are met while you focus on growing your business.
This is the most difficult part to work on because it requires monitoring and taking control of your spending habits. You now have to be careful about everything you spend your money on. Here’s how to proceed:
- Consider your total revenues as the maximum you can spend during the month. Imagine you have no other way (parents/family/credit cards) to access to extra funds (if that’s an option to you).
- List all your expenses in the following categories: rent, utilities, food, family obligations, health and medication, transportation, communication, clothing, and entertainment.
- Make the difference between what you earned and what you spent
Note: It’s important that the difference between your revenues and expenses is positive. The remaining amount should be your savings.
If you generally have a hard time figuring out what you spent your money on, here are two tricks.
Trick 1: Use your bank card for everyone of your expenses during a few months and get monthly statements that will give you a clear idea of where your money went.
Trick 2: If you carry cash or live where bank cards are not used prominently, buy small envelopes and label each of them with the categories of spending mentioned above (eg. rent envelope, food envelope, entertainment envelope, etc.). Allocate funds in each envelope according to your needs. Once the envelope is empty, that means you can no longer spend money in that category until the following month!
This is the most neglected habit: consistently putting aside money that will not be used for your regular expenses. There are two types of savings: short term and long term. Short term savings are used for emergencies (car troubles, illness …) or for a big expense (jewelry, laptop …). It is up to you to determine the share of your savings depending on your revenues and living expenses. No matter how small the amount, make it a habit to keep money aside.
Long term savings are funds to be used for future projects (wedding expenses, car, land …). They should only be kept in places or through instruments that cannot be easily accessible to avoid temptation.
My greatest motivation for saving was seeing my supervisor in her early 30s purchase a house in cash, without a loan because she managed her finances well enough to accomplish that.
Budgeting requires practice. You should work on your budget on a weekly basis and keep it regularly updated and accurate. With time and commitment, you will understand how to balance things out.
Keep in mind your wealth vision and everything you want to achieve in your lifetime. Making your money work for you requires painful decisions, short term sacrifices and drive.
Purse pulse: Have you prepared your wealth vision? Feel free to share some of your pictures to encourage others to do the same.
Have questions about business, wealth management, personal finances, budget etc? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org – Subject: Manage my purse. Answers will be posted here.