Let me first of all tell you how I stumbled on this life transforming idea, well the how is not as important as the why, so let’s begin with the why! My DH (Dear Husband) and I have always informally set out fixed sums for domestic expenses, as I’m sure most of you do. My routine was the same month after month, I’d go shopping with an endless list, with no prices attached. In the market, I would casually throw in some extra cans of corned beef, mayonnaise and spices I barely use, plus orishirishi raised to the power 10.
On getting home, I would look at what I bought, barely sufficient for one week’s menu, and then the whining begins. OHHHH!!! Things are so expensive, how did this money disappear abeg! Chai, I feel so robbed. (Raise your hands if you can relate). Brethren, when things finally tripled in price, my mouth could not talk. I realized I’d been screaming LION…..LION…..LION OOOOHHHHHHHHH, and when I finally stood face to face with the lion, I looked up, down and to the hills and everyone was saying, ‘you’re playing again girl’!!! So, I decided to take it like a real woman.
One important thing I have learnt, is how to say NO. Learning how to use those two letters can change your life. I can tell you this, my mind suggest to me at least 250 times an hour, to spend money on things I shouldn’t be spending on. Such as, Cupcakes (why not buy some cupcakes for the kids) Chinchin (you don’t have anything to serve guest at home) oh and that conditioner looks really organic, didn’t you say you needed a new bottle? (yimu). I’m exhausted from saying NO to myself at the end of the day.
Stop screaming Lions and Tigers, try these tips:
- Don’t just make a list, put prices on them. That way you know exactly what you intend to spend and you are more likely to stick to the list. (You would know where your money went)
- Identify the items you spend the most on (meat and milk for me!!!) Then find ways to cut down on them (for instance, I put a small measuring spoon in the milk jar. Biko are we taking milk with pap or pap with milk? Hol up!! Hol up!! Millet contains proteins too)
- Buy in bulk or with neighbours or colleagues and share, this should be a separate post, top items in this category include: fish (stock fish, dry fish, crayfish,) meat, grains including millet rice and beans, Garri etc. I promise, you would be alarmed at how much money this would save you.
- Plan a monthly menu. If you have moi-moi for dinner on Tuesday, beans and plantain on Thursday, beans and yam or rice with on Saturday for dinner, not only have you have cut down significantly on meat, but working with a menu lets you know exactly what items to stock up on when shopping.
- Finally this is a widely known tip, don’t go to the market when you are hungry (for the same reason your mother stuffed you with food before you left home for any party). I wish I knew this earlier, all those banana and groundnut sellers in utako market, I’m watching you.
What tips do you currently have on budgeting, please share in the comment section below, don’t eat alone.
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