Whether you run a business or are just trying to stretch your salary. Budgeting is a life skill that helps empower us. In today’s blog, I want to share some tips and give you power over your budget.

It really doesn’t matter how much you earn, or what your financial goals are. Having a budget in place helps you plan and prepare, helps you know when to save and when you can splurge.

I starting working at age 15, just down at our market for a friend’s mom, manning her stall. Nothing epic, but every month, I got paid a small sum of money. I blew my very first “paycheck” on a pair of jeans, my very first bought and paid for myself pair of jeans. That feeling of accomplishment has stayed with me years later.

My dad, the super-smart man he was although disappointed that I chose to splurge on jeans, watched me wear them with pride and exclaim to all our relatives my small achievement. He helped me get a weekend job at our local grocery outlet and then started me on my budgeting journey.

Why am I sharing another dad story, well because it leads to a good option for trying out budgeting. There are many options to choose from:

  • Envelope system
  • Closed Budgeting
  • Forecast Budgeting

My dad started me on the envelope system and here is the basics of how it works.

For every expense or item you want to save to buy, you have a physical envelope, every week (I earned a weekly wage), you divide your money up according to the envelopes, keeping a small amount of “mad money” in your wallet. My envelopes at age 16 looked like:

  • Movies
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Savings

I still have “mad money” it’s that small amount you allow yourself every month for non-budgeted expenses at age 16 that was sweets and chocolates, you are only accountable to yourself on what you spend your “mad money” on.

When I started working full time just before I turned 18, my budget looked a little different:

  • Foschini Store card
  • Car deposit savings
  • K53 driving lessons
  • Travel savings
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Rent (I literally had to fight my dad every month to accept this, initially I made sure I went with to pay our rates and taxes and gave my “rent” amount to the municipality)

Take a good hard look at all the things you spend your money on, can you track where it goes, if not then you really need to start budgeting.

Invest in a small safe and have it anchored to a wall, use your card to pay all your expenses or EFT. Withdraw your mad money, so it’s actual cash in your wallet and lock away your debit / credit and store cards. Only take those cards out that you need, make sure you have a grocery list when you go to the store and please never ever go shopping when you are hungry.

In my next blog, we will look at closed budgeting and forecast budgeting. Until then, practice conscious purchasing!

I have a passion for making order out of chaotic numbers and papers. With 20 years experience, I have mastered getting those admin ducks to obey and stay in their rows.