So how did I stop getting worried at the end of the month? And thinking maybe my money was growing wings?
The magic of writing down your Daily Expenses.
Yeah, I guess you have heard that several times already. But it works, I won't tell you something that I have not experienced or learnt from another person's experience.
How did I start?
There was this particular service in church, and as usual I was ready to cast out every 'finance eating devils.'
During the pastor's sermon, he mentioned how he always write out the money that comes in and those that goes out. Well the pastor was an accountant by profession, maybe he got the idea there.
But whatever it was, I told myself I would try it too. Isn't it just a table of expenses and costs? It won't bite.
Since that day till date, about 4months now, I had not miss writing out my daily expenses, if I miss writing a day out of forgetfulness, then I carry it over and write it the next day, all I have to do is reflect on the things I spent money on the previous day.
Over time, I have come to enjoy this daily rituals, because of what I have gained.
So what have I gained?
1. I have reduced my silly things
Writing down your daily expenses doesn't mean you won't have cravings for silly things...I said silly, because when I looked back after the first month of writing, I saw stuffs that I felt I could have left out of buying. Though it doesn't mean I won't buy some silly things again but now I use my head rather than blind buying.
2. I have identified my "survival kit"
I don't think frugality is the best idea to give someone who want to take hold of his or her financial destiny.
I love to buy quality things, not expensive or cheap things.
My first advice is to identify your survival kit.
Most times, it is not the comforts or luxuries that we don't have that gives us tension or frustration, but rather the basic needs that we cannot afford.
For me these are my basic needs:
-Transport: There are places that I can't do without going within the week, e.g office, church and important meetings. I can't afford to miss this or be stranded.
-Food: I ensure that I stock my house with food stuffs and make room for those I buy weekly or daily in preparation of the food as much as I can forecast. I don't have a food timetable.
-Necessary bills: I don't really watch TV, one channel I can't stop myself from watching is E! on DSTV but since I have realized it's just a waste of my time, I try to stay off TV generally to avoid the temptation.
I can't do without internet subscriptions, because I do a lot of research with it, and also get myself updated with the happenings in the world. Electricity bills is there too.
I am not married yet, so that's my own survival kit for now.
I love buying books, there was a time I used more than half of my first salary to buy books during my NYSC year and I really felt the impact.
I don't think the first advice I would give someone on finance is to have a budget as a solution to his or personal finance crisis.
I see budget as a way to spend the money at hand or the one on it's way.
But the plan am talking about is that which you don't think based on the money at hand but that which put you in control of your personal financial life.
Remember it is not about how much you earn, I have heard of people that earn very much and I meant the 'very much' but still goes broke every month.
Writing down my daily expenses as given a 'knowing' of how I spend. To some extent it as also given a free mind and the independence feeling.
In future posts, I will talk about the difference between basic needs (survival kit), general needs, wants, comfort and luxury.
When I told my friend I was going to start writing my daily expenses, she waved it off.
But I have learnt to do, rather than defend.
I have learnt to act, rather than seek validation from others.
I have written this from my personal experience. You can try it too, after all if you discipline yourself to write down your plan for one month and go through it to identify your survival kit and discover yourself, it won't hurt you. The choice is yours isn't it?
Here is a sample below