Well! The festive season, which strengthened the love we have for one another and brought us plenty of smiles, is over. Once again, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back to reality with a thud and its hello to Ã¢â‚¬Å“General January.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Usually, I come to this part of the year feeling bittersweet, because deep down, I want the joyous feeling, the camaraderie and the get-togethers to continue. I am sure most of you feel the same. This year I have decided to deal with the empty house and the work load that come with January by being thankful.
I am thankful for the wonderful time I spent with my family and my loved ones. I am thankful for the fact that I have people who love me and choose to be a part of my life. I am thankful that God granted me the opportunity to enjoy yet another Christmas. Most of all, I am thankful for 2011 and the opportunity it gives me to start my life afresh and grow as an individual. What do you have to be thankful for?
Certainly not your empty wallets, if you overstepped your budget last month!
After the excitement, benevolence and overspending, some of you might have a financial hang-over of sorts. In a day or two, you will probably start stressing over the school fees, rent and groceries. You might even end up in debt. And, if you are honest with yourself, you will see that it is an exact repeat of January 2010, which means that if nothing is done about it, being broke in January will be a vicious cycle, that has to be broken.Ã‚Â Making a solid financial plan which involves investing and saving wisely might just get you out of that cycle. If, for instance, you start saving for Christmas shopping next month, by the time the 25th of December comes around again, everything will be Ã¢â‚¬Å“sortedÃ¢â‚¬Â. Even though I am no financial expert, I have learnt a few things from reading one or two books to know that a saving culture is essential. This applies even to people like me, who do not have as much obligations as the rest of the nation. I know it is very difficult to put aside a few kwachas when it seems you are living one month away from poverty in between pay-cheques but it can be done.
As women, impulse spending destroys our well-laid plans. There are a lot of things that we can live without, yet hold so dear. For instance, though we have to look good, we do not need to get so many clothing items, make-up and what not (on credit) every month. And just because you have seen a very beautiful casserole dish does not mean that you have to get it, unless you planned for it.
Before you buy even a single thing with your salary, pay yourself first, as Rich Dad, Poor Dad authors Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon LechterÃ‚Â stipulate. If you spend first and then save the rest, chances are there will be nothing remaining. It is advisable that you save no less than 10% religiously.
Remember, it is never too late to start saving or embark on a journey of financial independence!