B is the second letter of the English alphabet. It is also the first letter for so many words, like bread, butter, beans, bags, boats and budgets! We are still a few months away from The Uganda National Budget being read and shared with the rest of us so no, that is not what I am talking about. However, while still on the subject of The National Budget, did you know that there’s a whole website dedicated to this budget? I kid you not. Incase you have any questions or you just can’t stand the presentations but would love to know, well the website is your friend. But I digress. I am not here to write about our National Budget even though I must admit the website has impressed me.
Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Some time last year I quit my job. It was the first time in my life I had ever left without a plan. I mean it was only my second place of employment in life and I had left the previous one for it. I quit my job with neither savings nor plan. You see, for the longest time I believed that in order for me to be “set up” in life, I needed to first get a job that paid a certain amount of money. So any job that paid less, according to me was the reason I was behind on my life goals. I had read some things on money and had a friend who is the biggest advocate for saving that I have ever met, mention more than once about the benefits of savings. I wasn’t hearing any of that. Hehehe. Truth be told, I believe I was a prisoner to money even if I didn’t really have much of it. I just simply worried about it too much.
Fast forward to July 29th last year, my last day on the job. I believe that was the beginning of a journey I am still on. I did not get back into employment until February this year, which means I spent six months unemployed. It was a long and a short time. You’d be amazed how quickly time can fly when you are enjoying yourself. The only time I felt the time pinch was when I needed money.
During my break, I happened to attend an event called The Leader’s gathering which I wrote about here . It was a wonderful event that covered many aspects of leadership but the one that was my highlight as you will see when you read was the session on personal finances facilitated by Moses Mukisa. I was eager for it because I had been feeling irked by the fact that at that point in my life, I had four years of work experience and zero savings. I mean, even if the salary was little, I should at least have little savings but wa!!! Nothing!
Moses said some things about Saving, not merely saving but saving for investment that piqued my interest. After the event, I bought his book, The Wealth Files mainly because he kept referring to it…haha but also because there wasn’t enough time to mine all his wisdom on money. After reading the book, I made up my mind that I needed to make a few changes about how I handled my money, never mind that I didn’t really have any at that time. I was still unemployed and without freelance gigs. I believe the statement that you prepare for war in times of peace. Therefore, you do not need to first have the money at hand for you to learn how to handle it.
My journey since then has been in various steps . One of my biggest take aways from the Leader’s gathering and the wealth files was the issue of the financial thermostat. Now, a thermostat is defined by Wikipedia as a component which senses the temperature of a system so that the system’s temperature is maintained near a desired set point. What this means is that if you put a thermostat in a room and set that your desired temperature to 23 degrees Celsius, every time it gets hotter, the thermostat will switch on the AC to cool it down to 23 and vice versa.
It therefore follows that a financial thermostat works the same way. If for example your financial thermostat is at 1 M, every time you have less than that, you feel broke and do everything within your power to get to 1M. Unfortunately, it also means that every time you have more, you are likely to buy drinks for the whole club and only sober up when you are back at 1M. Interesting, right?!!! I had never thought of it like that before. How is one to grow their money if their thermostat is working against them? Well raise it. Details of how, are in the book but I learnt that money shows up in your mind before it ever shows up in your pocket. Think about it.
Another thing that cannot be dodged on the faithful journey to growing wealth is saving. Not merely saving fwaaaa, but saving so that you invest and grow your money. This concept has been further emphasized to me in the audio book I’m currently listening to, The richest man in Babylon by George S. Clason. That doesn’t mean that you just give your money to the first entrepreneur who says they have a brilliant idea. No, you research and do due diligence before embarking on that journey.
Like I had earlier said, I always felt like the biggest hindrance to my developing a habit of saving was the size of my income. I mean, even this one is not enough and you want me to save? However, if you don’t learn how to save with little, what makes you think you will be able to save when you have a lot? You need to develop the habit of saving even on the smallest amount. Of course, this habit of saving is meant to help you and not hinder you so don’t save 80% of your money and end up going into debt simply because you are saving. Choose a sustainable amount that will not amount to self sabotage.
This brings me to the “B” word. Yes. The budget. I have learnt over time, but only really paid attention and dared to heed to this wisdom recently that budgeting is a good thing. Do you make a budget for your money? Many of us only think budgets are for governments, organisations, and weddings. lol. Budgets are for anyone who handles money. I mean even Jesus asked how many will build without first counting the cost.
I will admit I only started doing this a couple of weeks ago, with the March salary. It has been an interesting ride mostly because this month is the month with Easter and way too many events. I mean Diplo is coming to Uganda soon, my friend was on the #akadope line up and Morgan Heritage is performing this Thursday. Why Lord why? I was excited about all these things until I realized all these tickets were supposed to be bought off the March salary, which salary already has commitments.
This is where the budget gets tested. I won’t lie. The beginning is not the easiest, mostly because it involves breaking some habits and forming others. However, it is rewarding. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in charge of my money and can actually tell where it is going. Baby steps, baby steps. It is a habit I am determined to form because I am working towards increasing my finances.
There are six major things I have learned so far on this journey
- God is good
- Money shows up in your mind before it shows up in your pockets i.e increase your thermostat
- Save to Invest
- Budgeting goes a long way in aiding that saving plan
- Knowledge is your friend. Read some books on the subject. Sit at the feet of some wise and experienced people.
- Some things just take time. Don’t lose heart.