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How to manage your money.

Financial planning isn’t just for businesses or corporations, each individual earning an income and paying bills should have one and most importantly should use it. This requires a lot of discipline and sometimes involves making sacrifices. If you’re like me, you like being adventurous and having fun. These activities don’t always come cheap especially when you decide to Yolo! It is undoubtedly very important to take your future into account as much, if not more, than how you enjoy your present.

But how do we actually do it?

Usually, every beginning of the month or year comes with new resolutions and a sober mind to take better control of your financial situation but then something happens as the month progresses and all hell breaks lose at the end of the month when that salary hits your account. In the past, I had a habit of always researching and building beautiful financial plans for my personal use for the next salary cycle. Sometimes I shared with my brother since he would occasionally make me his ‘money manager’. We both rarely implemented it.

But my wake up call didn’t come till something happened. So human, right? For the better part of last year, I started hosting guests at my house through various hosting sites. So there was this time I had a guest scheduled for a 2-week visit which was to generate $400 and in between, I got some referral clients from some friends where I made about $160. I hadn’t indulged in any recreational activities for a while so I decided to Yolo and treat myself to a night out, new shoes, and clothes. I mean, I had to ‘patia mwili pole‘ (that’s a common Swahili phrase meaning to reward your body for a job well done after work). About 3-4 days before my 2-week stay guest was supposed to arrive, the booking got cancelled. My heart sank. My rent was almost due and I had nothing but a stack full of regrets because if only I had prioritized I wouldn’t be in this predicament.undefinedI had to pause and re-look at what I had been doing right and wrong and come up with a way forward. It wasn’t just that one incident, it’s just that this one had some really dire consequences and I didn’t want to go down that road I had started. I was able to identify the two major roadblocks; lack of prioritizing and procrastination. Sometimes I would prioritize then procrastinate or both. And what happens when you procrastinate is that you will always find uses for the money. I want to emphasize that these uses may be legitimate bills like cable TV charge, but such a bill should come after you have sorted your rent, food, water and other vital services required for basic survival.

What I decided from then was to always do it NOW! I can count the many times where I would get some cash, could be someone repaying a debt which I hadn’t budgeted for, then instead of prioritizing and sorting out whatever was on my to do list, I decide to do something else with it, not necessarily splurging, but on something that would have waited. Then the money I had hoped to get at a specific time doesn’t come through so I’m left very frustrated. That’s all behind me now (at least most of the times. Still human!) I try to stick to my plan as much as possible by doing it ‘Now!’. There’s no time like the present.

Prioritize and stick to your plan. Do it NOW!

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