I am a nice person. And being the nice person that I am, I always try to be there for my family and friends whenever they need me. I however, always make it clear that I am willing to help in whatever way I can, and I usually don’t have the financial can. It’s not that I don’t want to give any financial help, it’s that I can’t.
Fifty thousand today doesn’t have the purchasing power that it did when I was at the university. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you might assume that I was at the university a long time ago. You would be wrong in your assumption. Although there’s a chance my reason for saying that is that it seems like yesterday in my eyes.
The value of the Ugandan shilling is so low now that I can barely get by with the resources that I have, and that’s a sadder than sad affair. I refuse to live within the confines of my income because a girl has dreams and adventures to go on. But that shouldn’t be confused with living out of my means – I am not about to get suffocated by debt. (And aint those ‘pay me what you owe me’ posts on social media a total nightmare?)
If you would like to go on adventures and travels but your parents haven’t yet told you about your trust fund, glucose guardians are playing hide and seek, and generally your income can’t support your desires, then I have an option for you to consider. It might seem like a lot of hard work in the beginning but it is totally worth it.
Yes, I do realize the gravity of what I am saying but I am sure that it works. Freeze your spending and raise money for the trip or adventure you have been dying for. Whatever it is you are interested in; stop your spending to support it. Is it studying, your dream wedding, sky diving? Someone might ask why your savings (that you set aside monthly/whenever you get income) can’t cover this, and the answer to that is that it might take a while before your savings are not primarily emergency funds.
As you save, your life doesn’t have to go on pause. Here is how you can freeze your spending;
- Know your expenses: The first step to freezing your spending is to know how much you are spending. This might seem pointless if you don’t plan on spending but it works more as an accountability measure. It helps you know how much money you should have at the end of your freeze.
- Choose a duration for the freeze: Whether it is a day, a week or a month, decide how long you will stop your spending, and commit to it. Freezing your spending for a day might seem small, but if I spend about Shs 20,000 per day, and stop my spending for a day every week beginning in April, I will have Shs 640,000 at the end of November. Doesn’t look so small now, does it?
- Shop wisely: This means shopping with well thought out lists that include all the things that you will need. Bulk shopping is usually cheaper than shopping individual items, and reduces your transport costs if you go to the market once a month instead of four times a month. If you have a car, fuel a full tank.
- Completely stop spending: You might get tempted to merely cut your spending but the goal here is to completely stop spending. If you have tea at work/home, there is no reason for you to grab a cup of fancy coffee from Kisementi, walk short distances to lower transport costs, if you can cook food from home, stay away from restaurants, take a break from gambling, drinking, partying, you name it.
- Tell someone about it: This also an accountability measure as having someone to share your progress with, and provide emotional support for cases where you are tempted to quit before the set period is over will increase your chances of succeeding.
It is important to remember that spend freezing is not code for starving yourself or torture or pretty much hating your life. It is a short term solution so relax; your spending will go back to normal after the set period. And think of the pleasure you’ll get from whatever you’re stopping your spending for – that should be enough motivation.
P.S: A spending freeze shouldn’t starve you or have you begging people for something to eat lest you die from hunger or walking long journeys because you already have a budgeting approach that you are using and expenses are catered for there. It is simply a way to make your income do more.