I have been excited for the longest time to contribute to The Happy Economist and I couldn’t imagine a better subject to speak about than money. I have a long history of being unapologetically vocal about a lot of issues and emotions that society is scared to address; love, death, suicide, success. Just like most of the issues I discuss, Money is an emotion for me, at least that how I see and treat it. I know a lot of people get this but they don’t get it.
A lot of people are so scared of talking about money especially amongst their peers. Conversations about money sprouts feelings of fear, shame, discomfort or anxiety. Just like any of these emotions, money is a feeling you can get over. I got over money and here are some excerpts on how I did it.
A little background story. I didn’t come from a hard life growing up neither was I overly empowered with financial resources in my youth, in fact, if anything I was not given the luxury. I learned how to manage money on my own, not because of my background or my environment, it was entirely a decision; one that took a long time to cumulate to what it is today.
I haven’t blown on the internet neither do I give motivational speeches while flaunting anything I think I have but I can afford anything I want without thinking about it. Disclosure: It’s not pride if it’s true. My methods are a bit unorthodox but it worked for me. It’s a lot but I’d try to keep it brief or maybe do a series if it is that deep.
A lot of people don’t give not because they don’t have enough but because they don’t even know what they have. You can create value from anything if you can be real with yourself. Here’s a little story, I work as Engineer at an Automobile Garage and I’m black in a western part of the world. I see the way people look at me when they drive in and realize I am the one servicing their vehicle. I could choose to be intimidated or ashamed but instead, I use my skin color to compare to how dirty the oil or other fluid in their engine is to encourage them to spend a little more and get those things changed out with my organization. I say “your engine oil is even darker than I am”, we both laugh and it gets the job done. If you are broke, you need to realize that is the reality right now, don’t let it cause you shame or discomfort, accept it with your full chest and make it your fun story. Let it be the first thing you tell people when you meet them and you’d see it hurts less when they say it to you. Just know it’s not permanent, it doesn’t have to be.
Small Girl, Big God.
This one is about the popular saying that little drops of water make a mighty ocean or so I was told by my English teacher. A few years ago, I started setting asides an amount of money with a friend I trusted with my life. The amount initially was an average of how much I spent on gifts, entertainment and chilling every month, basically, it was an amount I could do without, money I can dash out without blinking. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time and in fact, I wasn’t saving for anything, I wasn’t getting interest on the money. I did that to cultivate a habit, I called it my war chest. The amount was insignificant but I later found out that whenever I got my paycheck for the month, I couldn’t spend shit if I hadn’t set that money aside. Savings had become a habit. After doing this for a year, I doubled the amount I was setting aside with my friend and opened a new account and started another savings plan alongside. It was not a big deal, it was a big habit. Fast forward a few years down the line I shared this idea with a few friends and they decided to try it, today I help manage a pool of funds from a handful of people and it just keeps rolling over in Treasury bills, none of us has ever had to withdraw a penny from it and that’s not even our primary savings.
So this was a big one for me. At a point in my life, I gave all that I had. I wanted a fresh start. I know I was crazy and back to square one. I also had a new job, before I got my first salary, I had to source some money to attend training school and get corporate wears — all that. Anyways, once I started earning a steady income, I realized I was broke and in fact broken two weeks after payday. I did an audit of my spending and after realizing how many times I dial *737* in a day, I decided to leave my village people and face the bigger elephant in the room, me. I created a budget and all those white people things but what I realized here was that I was in control and I had a choice. So my budget was broken down into monthly, weekly, daily. So, now when I run out of airtime, I keep praying that the week should come to an end so I can buy airtime for next week because I made it a point of choice, if I buy airtime when I wasn’t supposed to, I wasn’t dipping into some infinite purse, I was sacrificing my meal money for the next two days. I had a choice, so I sat up. If I wanted to buy myself a new speaker, for example, I don’t just go ahead and buy it, it’s either I get the speaker or pay for my unlimited internet for that month, I did opportunity cost with everything because all my money was well programmed, no chance for misbehaving. There’s rice at home.
I tried to keep this brief, I did try but I still have a few things so maybe I’d extend this piece. In the meantime, I hope this makes sense, I hope it helps someone. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the opportunity Tolu XOXO.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Guest Writer: Emmanuel Chukwure
Have a great week, and until next time,