Sunday, 2 June 2019

33. STICKING to the budget - it's possible!

The "Can I really stick to the budget?" face 😆 

For some, budgeting seems useless, because already the money is not enough. That's exactly why we should budget: to make sure that we take care of our needs and priorities first before using the money in luxury or wherever we want to use it.

Of course, one the solution is to have more than one source of income. That does not necessarily mean 2 jobs, unless you have the grace for that I suppose. But for now, let's look into the benefits and ability of being able to stick to the budget with your current income.

Benefits of budgeting

Benefit 1: Budgeting helps to know exactly how much you can spend - what your limit is, so that you avoid spending to the extent of being left with almost nothing before your next income. I mentioned on the earlier blogpost on this topic, blogpost 18: Financial education: budgeting , that it helps to budget a little more than the exact amount of the expense. We all know more or less how much our expenses are, as we spend on them every month. So we can over-budget a little bit, just to be on the safe side.

I recently went to Clicks for toiletries, and to my surprise, I spent over R100 less than what I budgeted! Do you know how much of a relief that is - to know that there is extra money you can use elsewhere?!

Benefit 2: The other benefit of budgeting is making sure that all your needs are met first. There's nothing as devastating as spending your money only to find that there are monthly needs that need to be taken care of. Such needs like transport to work and church, food, toiletries, electricity, etc. - all the things you need throughout the whole month, can't be compromised. They are necessities that cannot be compromised. Think about how it is to live without such things. I've been there - not pleasant at all!

Ability to stick to the budget

We can do this thing man! Look up, like a boss! 😎 

It's one thing to budget, it's another to actually stick to it. My oh my! For the past months, I'll honestly say I did not even try to stick to my budget. Here's why: I did not allocate a specific amount of money to my expenses, so I couldn't even consciously stick to a certain amount of money as I spent on my needs. As a result, I ended up spending more than I was supposed to, which meant that the money finished quickly before month end. Not good. But we learn, right?

So, this month I was off to a great start! I'll share some ways to help you to actually stick to your budget:

Ability 1: Once you have estimated and  over-bugeted a little for all your needs, keep in mind the exact amount budgeted for each expense. That way when you go to the shops, you will know how much you can spend and limit yourself. Watch out for those "buy 2 and get 1 free" promotions. If it will take you off your budget, DON'T go for it. If it's within your budget, it's a bonus! The item will last you longer, meaning you have more money next month to spend on other needs/to save for something/ to keep for any emergencies. That's what happened to me when I bought at Clicks! Yeayh me! Lol!

Ability 2: If you shop at shops like Pick 'n Pay and Clicks, make sure you get the Smartshopper card, Clicks clubcard - all these cards that earn you shopping points. Besides the fact that they keep track of what is bought the most so that the items are always on stock, they actually help us financially, too. Those earn you points that turn into money. Every time you buy from there, swipe those cards and accumulate points. They help to reduce the money you spend when you decide to use the points. It's a great way to help to spend less than budgeted.

Ability 3: Make sure you scratch out what you actually buy from your list, so that when you did not find what you budgeted for at one shop, you still keep the money budgeted for it, to avoid spending that money. To leave it in the list will keep you alert of the fact that you still need to keep money for some needs.

Ability 4: This is something I mentioned on the previous post on this topic: do not rush to finish all the money you saved from the budget. There are unexpected expenses that you may come across during the month.

Ability 5: Do not buy what you did not budget for, unless you're buying from the money left if you didn't reach the amount budgeted for. This one requires discipline! In fact, it should be easy, because you know how much you will struggle if you spend more than budgeted. I learnt it the hard way myself! Don't do it! And it's normal to actually borrow money, but the concern about that is you are already not earning enough. Now, you will need to pay back, after which you'll end up with less than what you usually have, which is already not enough. Let that be your motivation to stick to the budget.

Well, I certainly hope that helps. Remember, this is not motivation to live within your means forever - as I mentioned, one solution is to have more than one source of income. This is simply advice and motivation on how you can work with what you have.

Do share your thoughts, experiences and advice on this topic. You can follow and share on the blog's Facebook page:

Until the next post 😊.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

32. To-do list - simply the best!

To-do lists!

It's quite easy to disregard this. In fact, I myself never paid attention to it, and it's very easy to not think much of it when you're just a learner/ student with not much responsibilities - you know more or less what you must do and don't need to-do lists to remind you, right?

Well, wait until you're all grown up and have a million and a half things to attend to (Lol!).

Reaction when you have a million and a half things to attend to! Lol!

For me currently, I have quite a bit of responsibilities, or rather things I choose to do with my time that are important to me. Let me give you a break-down:

- I am a trainee accountant: Monday to Friday, working hours
- I serve at my church (Christ Kingdom Life International) for Sunday services, and avail myself for any additional projects. I have to prepare and avail myself every week.

- I edit and help publish books for people who want to write and publish books through a company I started - Mpilo Publishing (Pty) Ltd

- I prepare posts for Mpilo Publishing social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) every week

- I complete book reviews for all books I edit and all #BooksWithAPurpose that I read. And of course that means I must have time to read, too!

- I speak at book launches for those I edit books for or people that want me to speak at their book launch about their books.

- I complete blogposts for this Student-Talk Blog (And I must admit - I've been behind, hey? I thought I'd publish a post every month at least.)

Yikes! That's a lot!

Yyya, that's enough to scratch your head! It seems like a lot. Now, there is no way that I can do so much and not have a to-do list!

My reason for a to-do list is to make sure that I do all the most important things, no matter how busy I am. With a to-do list, I am saying to myself: "Simtha, I don't care how busy you are today/this week, but this you have to squeeze it in somewhere: wake up earlier, steal time from work during working hours - I don't care. Do it!" That's what I am saying, literally!

Another thing that a to-do list helps with is to help you to be alert of the things you need to do, so that when you have some spare time you can actually look at the list and start doing those tasks you wrote.

Do you know the relief you get when you scratch out that task off the list?! My goodness! It's like heaven on earth - I tell you! It's like screaming, "Freedom! It's done! Thank you Lord!"...I most probably say that in my head actually (lol)!

So, when you get to a point where you feel like you have a million and a half things to do, consider a to-do list! You won't have to pull your hair, lol! 

To-do list or continue pulling your hair out 'cause you don't know how to get all these million things done?! Lol!
I trust you found the blogpost useful. Please do share your thoughts/ ideas on the blog's Facebook page:

Until the next post 😊

Thursday, 17 January 2019

31. Becoming employable

Some of the Co-opt students in the skills development programme at the office. Had so much fun with them. Missing them already before they are even gone back to varsity! Lol! 

Becoming employable as a recent graduate is a challenge that is faced even today. It's understandable, because for many of us who study through tertiary (i.e university/ colleges), we may have been exposed to the studying of the theory of the career, and not so much the practical part of it.

The challenge with being employable as a graduate stems from the fact that the work place requires more than just knowledge. In fact, the work place needs us to apply the knowledge we have. It needs us to bring solutions using the knowledge we have. More importantly, it needs people who will be efficient in the work they do.

If a company was to choose between an individual with only a qualification and an individual that has vast years of experience in the field of work that both individuals are applying for, the company would most likely take in the one with the experience. Why is that? It's because the individual is competent to perform well in the company, helping it to either stay performing well or progressing even more.

What I have discovered is that there is a solution to this issue. There are steps that you as a graduate or unemployable student can take. It is a matter of finding out.

Where I am currently completing my traineeship, there is a skills development programme that assists all current, even graduated students. Students are given exposure to everything accounting-related. More-so, they are given an opportunity to learn basic soft skills such as answering the phone, sending emails to clients and following up, under supervision of senior staff.

The purpose of this skills development programme is exactly what it is: to help students develop skills. Such programmes are provided by training offices and other organisations. It is ideal for any student to find one, be it in the field of work you wish to be in, or simply to acquire skills.

Some students may not even know which career path they want to follow. It wouldn't hurt to take advantage of any skills development programme in whatever field. Regardless of whether or not you will like the field, at least there is a skill/(s) that you will have acquired that may help you complete certain jobs that may open doors to other opportunities! There is a big difference between being unemployable with no skills and being unemployed with skills.

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Until the next blogpost. 😃