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Learn to manage your money

Managing Money
                                       How to manage money PHOTO: COURTESY

I have a friend who runs a popular business baking cakes for a living. But she confided in me that she finds it hard to bake for her family. Our conversation reminded me of the fact that most professional chefs, I know, don’t cook well for their families! They spend the day making meals with exotic names like ‘linguine with lamb, asparagus and gremolata followed by a pink grapefruit granite with hazelnut wafers’, by the time they get home, all they want to see is ugali and spinach!

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And so their poor families don’t benefit from their culinary expertise. The same is true for money experts. In my experience, accountants and bankers tend to be some of the most undisciplined people when it comes to money! 

Consumer Culture

Discipline with money is tough in our consumer culture. All of us have, at least, once bought something impulsively that we later regretted. Impulse buying is based on emotion. Advertisers have studied our behaviour. They know how to use key words and images that trigger our emotions. They play on our fears and aspirations. Their whole intent is to get you to want it and to want it now! Whether you can afford it or not.

 The Bible has a completely contrarian view on this issue.   Proverbs 21:20 says, ‘Stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it.’ Ouch! Talk about a blunt assessment! If your money burns a hole in your pocket and you’re not able to set aside some every month to save and invest, then you’re not following God’s financial plan for financial freedom!

Financially Secure

 Financial freedom doesn’t necessarily come from making more. Your watchman or messenger at the office may actually be wealthier than you! He may have lower income and lower standard of living, but what he has is his, and not on loan from the bank. And in the event you both lose your jobs, you may be surprised to learn that he would survive much longer than you without a salary!

Many of us think, ‘If I could just make a little bit more; if only I could get a pay rise, then I’d be financially secure’. But here’s the problem, if you can’t live on what you’re making right now, you won’t when you make more. Why? Because your yearnings will always exceed your earnings. That’s the human condition; we always desire more than we have. So if we have a problem with less, we’ll still have a problem when we have more.

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The solution? We must learn to manage our money with the same discipline that we use to manage our organisation’s money. Just as we could never imagine our companies operating without a clear budget, we too should not operate without one. We must learn to keep tabs on what we’re spending and learn to delay our gratification. This is a critical issue!

 


 

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