New year financial blues

For many of us, Christmas time is both exciting and challenging. As the year comes to an end, amidst all the celebrations, there are people that are wondering how they will survive come January. Some are celebrating while figuring out where they’ll borrow money to get them through the (longest) month, while others are still figuring out where the fees, rent and transport will come from. This is mostly so for people that do not save for or prepare for the festive season, so when all the excitement is over, there’s nothing left but regrets and debts. I once belonged to a group that saved money for Christmas and ensured I spent everything on myself, family and friends, the result is that more often than not, I was not spared the sting of January either.

Lately, I have the privilege of spending an hour every week with financial advisor Isaac Nkusi who has taught me great lessons about finances, especially how to make more money and how to save. The tendency for most salaried people like myself is to rely solely on the monthly income, but I’m glad this is slowly changing. Right now, many salaried people are taking on ‘side’ projects in pursuit of hidden passions or the ability to juggle more than one job. Most people can no longer afford to survive on one source of income unless it’s a good one and not many of those exist. For us to at least enjoy a semblance of financial freedom, it’s imperative to look around us and see what activities can increase our income or reduce our expenditure. For instance, is it possible to have a backyard farm? Growing all or most of the vegetables we consume in our homes will save us from taking money to the market as we’ll only buy things we cannot produce at home. On the other hand, by supporting different departments at our places of work, some of us may find opportunities to earn some extra money on top of the salary.

I tell people that before 2016 I was a poor financial manager and they think it’s a joke. While it may not work for everyone, I believe the discipline of tithing is what did it for me. For most of my working years, by the time my salary arrived I was heavily indebted. I had a constant budget of debts, rent, money to send to parents leaving very little to take me through the month, so I would have to borrow again, meaning the cycle continued. When I found myself in a church where I was happy to belong and serve, I learnt how to tithe and this became my priority. Somehow, after paying all my regular bills including my tithe, I always had sufficient money to get me through the month. I am not saying that tithe was all I needed to have more money. I believe that the discipline it took to accept that 10 per cent of my earnings belonged somewhere else flowed to other aspects of my finances. The more disciplined I became, the more aware I was of the opportunities around me to make an extra coin and I gladly seized many of them. Am I financially free yet? Not yet, but I’m not too far as it is all within my means.

As you figure out the path to your financial freedom, I wish you a successful and prosperous 2019!

Follow Jackie on

Twitter @JackieLumbasi