For a moment, he almost succeeded in making me feel guilty. This is the kind of guilt that you feel when you buy pizza for your child from a shop assistant who has always smelled the aroma of pizza but has never tasted it.
So, I went back home rocking my head really hard. I had to provide some advice for the minimum wage earner.
I grew up in a household with a far below average income and while we may have done all right for ourselves, I grew up around people who existed in true poverty. Thankfully, with GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s help, I was able to take advantage of the great opportunities that life offered meÃ¢â‚¬â€and the great foundation that my parents gave me as a personÃ¢â‚¬â€and was later able to find a relatively better, financially healthy life through which I could raise my children without a regular sense of necessity underlying day-to-day life.
But what can a person do if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in minimum wage situation? I will provide some few steps I consider salient.
First, take every opportunity for making additional money. There are all sorts of little opportunities to make more money if you pay attention. Doing small things like off-work jobs depending on your skills: Talking talents and skills which can make you master/mistress of ceremony elsewhere. Skills in writing books and articles. Talent of playing football. Yes, using the carpentry, plumbing, general fitting skills off-work hours.
Use these skills and talents to make additional money. Free meal offers from friends? Take them. Some K1 000 (about $6) offer by the landlord for keeping his lawn green? Do it. Ask around for odd jobs and other small-scale moneymaking opportunities.
Second, minimise your possessions. There are a lot of reasons for doing this. The biggest one is that the more stuff you have, the more money youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve wasted. Also, fewer possessions mean that you need less room to live. If you recall, when you were just starting work, you could live in a guest wing because you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have much, but now with all your accumulated possessions you need a bigger and, hence, more expensive house.
Third, educate yourself. While youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re putting yourself in a better financial place, spend your spare time educating yourself. Take classes at the nearest college and work towards some kind of certificate or degree. The key is getting startedÃ¢â‚¬â€Go around and see what the colleges have to offer and make your choice.
Fourth, save automatically. You will never have enough to save. But just tell yourself you will be saving something. Go to your bank and set up an automatic savings plan. Tell them to be deducting say K5 000 (about $30) every month from your account towards a savings or fixed deposit account. So, if you earn MK15 000 (about $90), then just tell yourself that in effect you only earn K10 000 (about $60) because the MK5 000 goes to the savings account. What will happen? After a year, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have more than K60 000 (about $360) in the account (remember you will be earning interest). If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve put in more monthly, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have even more. Then you can eventually withdraw and buy land, you can pay for your education, or invest in shares.
It is not easy to save at any level of income, but you can do it with determination. Have a blessed weekend.