The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
It’s drilled into us. Get a job, save money – not only for a home – but for emergencies, too. But don’t forget your retirement, though – that’s important. Quite right; it’s very important. God forbid you’re struggling to put food on the table as an octogenarian. Yes, the sensible and responsible thing to do is to manage your money wisely – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun once in a while.
I firmly believe that money isn’t a one-trick pony. It can buy you freedom, joy, convenience, and a smile – even if it’s just for a second. While millions in the bank would certainly alleviate a host of problems, I’m not even talking about that type of money. I’m talking about the finances you deal with on a monthly basis. If you’ve been blessed enough to a) have a job, b) be debt-free, and c) have disposable income, chances are that you’ve saved a decent amount of money that could tide you over should something happen.
A very close friend of mine is fortunate enough to find herself in the above position. She lives a relatively frugal life – she doesn’t drink, go out, wear expensive clothing, or drive a fancy car. But (before Covid, at least) she would hop on a plane at a moment’s notice and travel to whichever country took her fancy.
I could never wrap my head around the amount of money she was willing to spend on a short-lived holiday, but to her, that’s what money is for – spending, travelling, and enjoying life. For some time, I struggled with that financial ideology. Money was for saving, I thought. It’s to invest with and create a comfortable nest egg.
Turns out, we’re both right. Recently, I’ve found the sweet spot between the two. Yes, I still prioritise saving and practising good financial hygiene. But, I’m no longer allergic to spending money on things I like. Personally, I have a penchant for sneakers and cars. Despite this, my shoes were always rather tatty and my cars pretty much the same. Now, I choose to enjoy what I love – but within reason, of course.
I realise that myself and my friend are incredibly blessed to do so. We live in a country where unemployment is rife and people rack up debt just to survive. But I’m certainly not suggesting that you lose your inhibitions and purchase things you cannot afford, simply because you like it. Saving and patience go a long way, of course.
Getting over the guilt of spending my own money was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I get to enjoy the rewards of my hard work – but not before paying myself. It’s important to remember that saving comes first. Investing in your future is the ultimate long-term gift to yourself, and only after that has been done can you consider treating yourself to something nice.
Of course, it’s important to weigh up what your true loves are. If you find yourself wanting to travel the world, drive a classic car, wear expensive clothing and eat gourmet food, your budget – unless you are incredibly wealthy – will simply implode. Focus on the things that bring you joy and lose the guilt.
Most importantly, remember to keep your nose out of other people’s finances. Yes, you may wonder how your friend is financing their European holidays, but you don’t see the sacrifices they made to get there. You spend your money; you make your choices. Yes, it’s important to save. But it’s also important to spend sometimes – it’s finding the balance that makes it just right.
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- The sordid topic of student loans – On the Money with Jarryd Neves
- Keeping track of your spending – On the Money with Jarryd Neves
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.