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Blowing in the wind

Most storms in our region begin with a hot berg wind. Some people will bring out their costumes sit back next to the pool and enjoy the heat. Others will baton down the hatches, make sure the cars are safely parked in the garage and then sit back for the last few hours to enjoy a quick dip in the pool. Others will panic lock everything away and hide, with the expectation of heavy down pours and floods. Some don’t even have anything to pack away and enjoy the relief of a cleansing rain. Children will run in the blowing autumn leaves, catching and stomping them, living in freedom. Our personalities are all different.  Our responses to impending crisis or hard times differ. Being different in South Africa is part of the character of our society. We are people of character and variety.

As an accountant I often sit to discuss personal finance with individuals and business. Individual’s methods of managing money are interesting. People should be allowed to exude their character, in their monthly budgets. Often I find two scenarios that raise storm warnings. When people are under financial pressure they tend to either dig a hole and hide, or they leave their money to blow in the wind.

With the latest food price increases and other rising costs, I would like to encourage our readers to take at least one hour, twice a year. Write a budget down on paper. Work out how much you are spending. Here are some examples of what you should write down:

  • Food
  • Fuel
  • Fun
  • Utilities
  • School Fees
  • Bond / Rent
  • Car
  • Repairs on Car
  • Repairs on house 
  • Security
  • Pets
  • DSTV
  • Internet
  • Cell phones
  • Clothes
  • Holidays
  • Savings
  • Debt repayment
  • Blowing in the wind

Write down your Income and all of the amounts for your Expenses. Then prioritise them. Write the list again in the new order of priority. First put down your survival kit. Food, water, shelter. You can survive with these and Bear Grylls TM would be proud of you. Categorise them, so that if you are in hard times you know what to cut back on.

  • You will either find that you are spending more than your salary. Something needs to change. Either spend less or get a higher salary. More often than not, spending less is the more sensible thing to do. Rework your budget to match your income.
  • Or you will find you have extra money. Where it has gone? Is your money “blowing in the wind”?

Now you know what you are spending your money on. A third list should be written. How you would like to wisely spend your money? Think through how you can change your habits in the next year to achieve the wise budget.

Decide today to save more. Just a small amount. Put it down on the paper. Pray about it. Live it! Show character as a South African. Watch us make a difference.

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