My 5 Month Rule To Falling Out Of The Sky

One of my biggest challenges to achieving financial stability is the fact that I have very little money. Before you roll your eyes, at least hear me out.

I used to tell myself that what is the point of saving if I am only saving say 10,000/- per month? At the end of the year, I’d only have 120,000/-.

I am slowly learning that that is not really point of saving, at least not for someone with a wallet my size. On my journey, I have learnt that achieving any sort of financial sanity and stability involves discipline, patience and practice. You make a decision to do something, stick to it, wait and do it some more, and repeat. There’s really no short cut.

Another challenge that I face is my love for instant gratification. I want to have fun today, to go shopping today, to watch a movie the week that it is premiered… I want to have fun when I want to have fun, no delays. There are a number of disadvantages to spending like this but the one that made me look into this rule is that I couldn’t have fun that was expensive.

I made one major resolution for this year; to go sky diving. Here’s the thing, having fun today only works for budget friendly activities if you have a wallet like mine. Short of robbing a bank, I can’t afford to make one withdrawal to fund a sky diving experience. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are no sky diving sites in Uganda, so the cost is definitely higher than anything I have done.

And that’s where the 5 month rule comes in. The 5 month rule is a saving tool – my plan is to go sky diving during the December holiday, which is probably not a smart move because I have more days to relax, and will therefore need more money. Because I knew about my plan to go sky diving, I started saving earlier on in the year, but I sorta kinda ‘ate’ the money along the way (Don’t judge, I am a work in progress). And so as of today, I am at 0/-.

I customised the x month rule, where x is greater than or equal to 3, to suit my capabilities and that’s how I ended up with my 5 month rule. The x month rule works like this; you establish the activity/item that you want, find out how much it costs, divide the cost by the duration (x) for which you will be saving for the item and put aside that amount every month. It is important to note that the money you put aside is what is left over after you have taken care of everything else. If there is nothing left over, you need to cut down on your spending or get a second/third/tenth side job.

This rule is pulled out of the planning handbook, and here’s why it works;

  1. It gives the opportunity to live your dream: When you are part of #500KTwitter, you begin to wonder if you are destined for only things that don’t cross sub county borders, or things that are lower than your salary. Knowing that this shouldn’t be the case is a big relief, because ‘we are also people’. Eissssh!!!
  2. It eliminates impulse spending: If I feel like going sky diving today, and I make a plan to go in 5 months, it gives me time to assess whether I really want to go sky diving. In the event that I change my mind, it saves me from giving in to impulse spends that I will regret later, and will leave my already tiny wallet in a sorry state.
  3. You get the best: Planning ahead gives you time to explore your options, and select the best possible item. It gives you the opportunity to research in order to get the best price or deals available because you have been checking every option in the market.
  4. It teaches delayed gratification: The bane of financial stability is wanting something now and getting it now, whether you planned for it or not. This rule teaches you to wait, and this is definitely a skill that is worth learning because it really is the basis of financial discipline.

For this to work, you have to look at the big picture, focus on it and keep it in mind. I know the thought of falling out of the sky will definitely keep me focused, and will be the reason that I ensure that I deposit the required amount in my sky diving account. I will definitely share how that goes.

What do you do when you want items/activities that you can’t afford instantly?


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