I grew up in a middle class (or maybe upper middle class) background. We were able to travel abroad for holidays, had fantastic toys, lived in "The Estate," etc. We had some hard times though. I remember having to move from a large duplex house in GRA Port Harcourt, to a small bungalow in another part of town when my dad had to change jobs and money was very very tight. Thank God, the family moved on to "The Estate" after that and life has been better since then.
When I moved back to Nigeria, I took a pay cut (hello NYSC salary) but I was living rent-free, and still getting an allowance here and there. I was able to save a healthy sum (that recently came in handy). I remember when this blog first started, I was going from restaurant to restaurant, from cinema to cinema, to plays and all sorts. I always had money to spend - again, remember I wasn't paying rent or any house bills.
After NYSC, I got a job with a manageable paycheck, but a few months later, I was planning a wedding. Then came being married and having financial responsibilities at home. At first I did very well with budgeting and making sure I saved a tidy amount every month, so that when it came time to renew the rent, I wasn't scrambling around looking for money to add (Cakes and I split our bills - sometimes it's in half, other times it's on a pay-what-you-can basis). In my budget, I had money set aside for fun, for bills, and for savings. Unfortunately, by the time our second year of marriage started, I became lazy and stopped budgeting. I could not account for spent money anymore and I have to tell you that last year was particularly tough (still tough now, to be perfectly honest, and the crashing naira is NOT helping matters).
Apart from not budgeting, being unable to account for money spent, there were also issues with my salary payments (going months without pay). It can be VERY depressing. Going from a couple of years before when I was eating out every single weekend to now worrying about whether N2500 is too much for a meal when I can buy a bunch of plantain for N500 and be full at home. I see other bloggers buying up all of Maju's pretty pieces, shopping at Grey Velvet. You know times are hard when you have to think veeeery long about opening up the N5K Shop's website. Your friends have businesses you want to support, but you have to think about "Do I buy this item for N3000, or do I ignore it because we have to top-up the toll account soon?" One of the things that's paining me now is agreeing to buy asoebi last year - because you're paying for the fabric AND paying someone to sew it too (hence my love for sewing separates so that I can wear them multiple ways e.g. Vlisco and Lace).
Today, as I write this, I feel like I'm still in a hole. I thank God that Cakes is an entrepreneur and in a business that brings in cash every day. Even at that though, his business runs high on costs and too many friends and customers asking for discounts which cut into profits, so the business could be doing better, truthfully. One thing this is teaching me, I guess is to definitely depend on God for provision and worry less. Worry could be my middle name if you allow me, but I keep getting the word to "Be anxious for nothing." Another lesson I'm learning is to be frugal, and I mean frugal! There's no more shopping for clothes and shoes - in fact, I want to sell those my High Heels I can't wear anymore. We're cutting back on eating out - only going out on special occasions like our Anniversary.
It doesn't mean we won't enjoy ourselves. I'm still bent on going to the spa by force, and I'm stalking Dealdey for good options (please don't go to the random ones that look like they just put a bed sheet on one thin mattress and called it a spa). Instead of going to the movies, stay home and chill, or visit friends (or have them over). I would have liked to include that we stay in and play board games, but he'd rather play FIFA 16 with his friends, so if anybody wants a Monopoly or Scrabble game, I may be willing to give it out :p
Anyways, why am I telling you this? I'm not really sure. Maybe to inspire someone who might be having difficulties with financial responsibility. It's not the end of the world. Just take it one Naira or Dollar or Pound at a time. I'm definitely trying to do what's necessary to get my money right. This is definitely a good arena to practice my Word of The Year. I hope I also get practical tips and the re-motivation at the upcoming #My2016Goals Workshop.
And this is where I end this post. I hope someone has learned something, or is inspired to do better with their money. If you think anyone you know will benefit from this post, SHARE IT!!!
Have a darling week!