I’ve honestly always been money conscious. By money conscious, I mean stingy. Jokes! I’ll give when I am led, but for the most part, I don’t like spending my own money (like many sane people). My first experience with money was getting a job at a deli. I’d reached an age where I realised one thing: I was broke, and asking my money for money to cover my various wants wasn’t going to cut it. So, I took to a classified ads website, and threw my application left and right. At the end of the day, I finally had a job.
I remember when the realisation hit me that I’d gotten the job. I went in early for the interview, and the lady was so nice. It was a family owned store, and so I guess you could say things were tightly knit and comfortable. I was going to be earning about $7 per hour! From there, I went on to KFC. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those lucky folks who bagged an actual retail job e.g. working in Cotton On or so, but I did have a good time. The best things about the deli and KFC job were the money, and of course, food! Nothing more awesome than getting to carry home food that hadn’t been sold for that day! I had pies and chicken for days. I also had terrible acne because of this over-zealousness. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.
So, the other day, I got my hands on a copy of The Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu. I felt like dancing, because I’d been waiting for this moment for ages. I kept hearing people rave about it, and wondered if it was worth the hype. I have high expectations, and so I have started on it. School work won’t let me be great (school work exists for me to be great, but let me whine a bit, okay!), but I’ll be able to finish it eventually.
So far, I see a nice and simple story line, nothing overly complex or slathered with all sorts of deep metaphors and what not. At the end of each chapter, there is a little write up on African women and money, followed by some tasks the reader is to carry out.
I can’t actually do some of the tasks, because they do not relate to my position in life right now. I don’t own a piece of land somewhere which I can call my asset, and I don’t have debtors (don’t plan to actually). My first impression of the book is that I like it, and I hope I can maintain this impression until the very end.
The #GirlBoss Mirage
When you think of yourself in 5 years, what do you imagine? Whether a guy or a girl, I’m sure you want to be in a good place. I’m sure you don’t want to be living from hand to mouth, struggling to pay for the slightest things. I’m also pretty sure you don’t want to be someone who feels their heart constrict when they lose 50 Naira because it has an important use, maybe its your budget for transport.
Not saying 50 Naira is not important, but honestly, I’d like to be someone that doesn’t even notice 1000 Naira leaving my account. Of course, one should always take note of where their money is going, but I want to be someone that isn’t drastically hurt by it, you know?
I want to be successful in 5 years. When I think of my future self, I see myself decked in the hottest corporate wear (likely made in Nigeria, #buyNigerian, people), looking powerful as my shoes click clack against marble floors in an air conditioned office. I want to have my hair (whatever style it is in) on point, matched with nice makeup. I would hold a file in one hand and a nice bag in the other, going about my business. Most of all, I want to have a balance and be at a happy place in life, both on the outside (physically, bank statement-ly) and inside (hint: spiritually).
However, the other day something hit me. This something, was actually quite disturbing.
Needs vs Wants
So, the other day, while inspired by the Smart Money Woman bits I’d read so far, I decided to think about my finances a bit more. I think about my finances every day, but this time, I needed to figure something out. I’m sure we’ve all heard about the needs v. wants gist, and how we should always put our needs at a priority.
I glanced at my online orders pending delivery, and I felt a bit down with myself. Sure, the things I’m ordering are awesome and will help a lot in several areas, but I thought about the long term. How will a 3 colour highlighter (psst, It wasn’t Fenty btw) palette help me in 2-5 years? Yes, my highlight may blind my enemies, but how will it make me more money?
How useful will makeup products be to me? Sure, I can have that beat face and attempt that Instagram baddie look I’ve been lusting after low-key-high-key (story for another day), but how will it contribute to my personal development? So what if those earrings are dead cute, how will they help me in the long term? I keep thinking of one of the points Sophia Amoruso made in #GIRLBOSS, about your money looking better in your account than on your feet. I like saving, but I also like shopping.
Related: 5 #GIRLBOSS Lessons x Quotes
It dawned upon me that I had no goals. You see, I have my basic needs covered – water, food, shelter, electricity, clothing (well, I have the basics to keep warm, anything else falls into wants). When you have those needs covered, you can then advance upwards on the triangle created by Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Since I have transcended this, I have come to a level where I need to start developing myself, setting myself up for the future.
The issue is, I have no life goals. It was a disturbing fact which hit me, lingering in the depths of my mind as I went on my morning commute to university. Yes, I have the picture of the successful lady who looks good both inside and outside, and generally my ideas of what I consider as successful, but I have no concrete plans on how to get there. Of course, I want to have money, I want to have nice things, but how? I want to bag degrees, grow my CV, but those are so wide and vague. Where are the nitty gritty parts?
What are those steps I will take each year, month, week, day, in order to get to a particular point? I felt so sad upon realising this, and I know that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I like order (though my room is cluttered and a hot mess), and I don’t want to just ‘go with the flow’, just floating through life and all its experiences. I recall reading a post where the author had saved up to spend i.e. saving up money to buy a particular thing, as opposed to saving for the long term. I feel like that is what I’m doing. What am I saying? I don’t need to feel, it is what I am doing.
Frankly, I like money. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want to be financially buoyant, able to support their dream lifestyle? So, I’m trying to take charge. I don’t want to just float. I need a concrete idea. I’ve always been conscious about money, didn’t really need to be taught certain things. So, I’d like to share the journey to better money consciousness with you. This has been inspired by the Saving With OJ blog, and also the Smart Money Woman book.
Right now, I don’t really consider myself to be an adult. I’m 19, and I have most of my needs catered for. I’m not in a place where I’m completely independent and have to manage things myself, but I will be eventually. Until then, I just want to start documenting the process of being money savvy, from when I have so little, as well as gearing myself up for that adulting thing.
I hope you, my readers, also enjoy this journey with me, and can also engage and share tips! I mean, really, who doesn’t want to be comfortable? Until the next post!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have life goals? How did you set them?
Help a sister out!