The importance of having a comprehensive understanding of issues surrounding money can never be over emphasized.
Though daunting and often times confusing, financial literacy is a subject all should have as a mandatory skill.
Stanbic Bank Botswana’s Head of Products, Wabo Moswate, through the Bank’s financial literacy series unpacks the topic of budgeting and how one can be better placed to excel in the field.
Moswate said the bank saw the need to sensitise people on good practices of using money and saving it. He said most school curricula does not teach financial literacy and that creates a problem when grown ups meet money at a later stage in life.
“Creating Your Budget may sound complicated, but all you need to do to get started is set aside some time and get organised, the benefits will make the effort worthwhile,” he promises, explaining that every good budget is born out of clear and precise financial goals.
Moswate explains that the objectives may include getting out of the traps of debt completely, creating multiple income streams, planning for early retirement, achieving financial freedom or having enough insurance to cover for unforeseen circumstances that in most cases than not, require finance. He warns that without goals, it becomes extremely difficult for one to set a solid financial goal and adds that it is therefore of paramount importance that there is a definite financial destination and hence the creation of a solid budget plan that will drive towards the destination.
Moswate swears by an eight step budget template that will get even the clueless of people well on their way to becoming budget masters.
The first step entails being analytical about one’s budget. “When drawing up a budget the most obvious and important thing to do is to make a “needs” and “wants” list. This will help you evaluate what you can cut back on,” he states, continuing that when a person starts spending less on things that they do not need, their ability to save will improve significantly.
The second step entails getting into the habit of spending what is left after saving. “This mindset shift will completely change your outlook on money. You can start by saving minimum of 10% of your salary immediately after receiving it,” he advices. Moswate highlights that as one gets the hang of things of spending after saving, the percentage of money saved can gradually be increased.
He attests that banks provide a number of tools that can help in the facilitation of the second step such as setting up a stop order or an automatic transfer between your cheque and savings account. “This eliminates the hassle involved in manually moving money between accounts,” he says.
Step three, and perhaps the most important involved getting everyone involved. Everyone in this case refers to family members (spouse and kids and or people financially dependent on you). They need to understand that there will be cuts on certain expenditures and that will affect their lifestyles. “Make sure your friends understand that you will not be doing certain activities that you used to do with them,” he advises, adding that the uprightness makes the whole process of budgeting easier.
Moswate shares that the fourth step out of the eight in budgeting is a weekly capturing and tracking of the budget. He explains that one can capture it on an excel sheet in a computer/laptop or a downloaded budgeting app available on the android app store or apple store. “Monitoring your expenditures helps you to keep your eye on the prize,” he adds.
According to Moswate, another equally important step in winning at budgeting is employing the 24-hour rule where one delays non-essential purchases for 24 hours. He explains that delaying purchases helps to avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items on impulse and can help save money and keep one in budget.
For the sixth step, he advises that once a person is free from paying interest on their debt, the money can then be used for savings. “A personal line of credit is just one option for consolidating debt so you can better pay it off,’ he warns. The second last step talks to being strict in the allocation of an entertainment allowance.
For the last step towards conquering budgeting and ultimately financial freedom, Moswate reminds aspiring budget warriors to bear in mind that the goal of budgeting is to “spend less than we make and as a result save money!” he says enthusiastically.