This is the story of Lawal. One weekend, Lawal attended a seminar recently about Personal Finance. At the seminar, the speaker stressed on budgeting as one of the keys to financial freedom and a pathway to gaining control over your finances. Lawal was by the message and he decided to act on it.
Before he received his next paycheck, he drew up a budget accounting for each kobo. He was proud; he was following through and excited about getting financial freedom. But something happened. At the end of the month, he realized he hadn’t followed his budget at all! It seemed like as soon as he got paid the universe decided it was time for things he didn’t plan for to happen. Lawal budgeted for the next month. The universe doubled down. They did this dance for six months till Lawal got tired and gave up.
Budgeting is hard. You have to take stock and come face-to-face with your money and if you don’t like what you see, it can be depressing. Also, tracking your spending is hard work.
People find it hard to stick to budgeting because of emergencies, their budget is so strict that they don’t plan for fun activities, or it’s plain unrealistic. If you’ve been finding it hard to stick to your budget, you are not alone so don’t beat yourself up. What you need is to find an alternative solution and we have that.
Here’s what you can do instead
The most sustainable strategy that we’ve seen working for almost anyone who tries it is saving before spending. Someone who lives in Lagos and earns N200k a month will most likely spend all within that month because it’s hardly enough to cover your expenses. But, if that person sets aside a percentage say 30% the moment he/she earns the money, there is a high chance that they will limit their monthly spending to remaining 70% no matter what.
This strategy is different in the sense that you are not required to draw up a budget and you are free to spend what’s left as you like.
If you’re just starting this method, you may not know how much you need to save or spend in a month. So you may save more than you should and then cash dries up in your spending account. Here’s what we advise: withdraw more cash but note exactly why you had to do that, what you spent it on and if withdrawing it has to do with overspending in the month.
Depending on the “why,” next month, either increase what you have to spend on or reduce it as the case may be and curb your spending habit.
Budgeting is good but it can be hard. Saving before you spend is much easier to do and stick with. Try this method and let’s know if you prefer it.
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