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From a budget to a lifestyle

I know what you’re thinking, yet another blog post blabbing on about the importance of a budget, planning, or finance. Let’s get one thing straight, budgeting is not only crucial financially, but beneficial to our daily lives and the decisions we make when trying to succeed in them.

One request, even for just the length of this post, let’s open our minds to the possibility that maybe, just maybe: “A budget is more than just a series of numbers on a page but indeed it is an embodiment of our values, as the wise Barack Obama once said.

Perhaps cash is king, but budgeting can be used as a vital tool in all parts of our life, not just in finance. So yes, budget your finances. But also budget your time and most importantly, budget your life!


At some point while reading this, or once in your life you probably thought to yourself “budgeting takes the fun out of money”. Simply put, it does. However, it plays a major role in creating a habit of responsibility in you as a person. A trait that individuals seem to want to buy, and not earn these days.

Despite the general adversary towards budgeting, lets weigh up the:


  • Provides a realistic view of personal finances: A personal budget provides an honest snapshot of how much money you make and how much you can spend. It can help you avoid deceptive financial thinking, thinking you can buy that new Airmax 95 release at Jack Lemkus or those new Apple Mac ear-pods on one day only, when you really need to save that money for an upcoming bill.
  • Helps you avoid excess spending: Because a budget gives you insight into the total picture of your income and expenses, you can make realistic decisions about spending. As above, a budget can help you avoid a having faulty sense of your financial resources and remind you that even if you just got paid, most, if not all of your cheque may need to go toward fixed expenses.
  • Assists in goal setting: Since you get to decide how to allocate your money, a budget can help you set goals. For example, if you create a yearly budget, you could plan and account for an upcoming family trip and start saving money for it in advance without worrying about having the money at the last minute.


  • Budgets take energy: Planning a budget takes dedication. Since most students lead busy lives and are balancing different demands like work, school, and time with family and friends, it can be easy to slip up. For example, if you have a stressful week at work or school, you might overspend while going out with friends and forget how much you budgeted for leisure activities.
  • Results take time: Since most budgets cover a time period of a month, year, or even longer, people may become frustrated waiting to see if their financial situation is better than it was before. Frustration can lead people to abandon their budget and go back to overspending or neglecting to save.
  • Budgets may be strict: Remember that one of the important strategies for creating a successful budget is earmarking money for “treats” and extras such as entertainment. However, in an effort to become more financially disciplined, some people make budgets that are too restrictive and unrealistic. This can backfire and lead to overspending in one area or abandoning the budget altogether.

Evidently, budgeting is more resourceful than not. The pros outweigh the cons, which can only help you and not restrain you.

I get it, fresh out of High School, studying or even starting your first retail job, the world is your oyster, right? Well, what High School or any other Tertiary Institution fails to disclose to you are the new friends you’d make in the upcoming years. You’ll meet them around 25ish and their names will be car repayments, student debt, rent and so much more. These are the best type of friends. You don’t always want them, but you need them…

Start simple, a straightforward budget for weekly or monthly expenses. People often avoid the hassle of sitting down and taking the time to draw up their budgets. Mainly because of the expected complexity and overflowing detail they think is needed to be included. There is no need to dissect every cent in your account and track where it goes. If you end up in a negative every month then I suggest you do! (Jokes). It’s important to remember that any kind of plan is better than not having one.

Let’s think of budgeting as throwing a dinner party. You need to feed so many people therefore you need to make enough food to ensure everyone is fed. What if there is an emergency and ESKOM decides to throw their coal out the cot by implementing Stage 5 Load-shedding? Be sure to have a plan B, whether it be putting something over the coals, (excuse the pun) or getting take-outs. What if your extra friend has suddenly become an overnight Vegan? Buy them a veggie pizza! This therefore shows how important it is to include an “emergency” portion in your budget, does not have to be much. It is important knowing that it is there.

Keep your card safe and warm inside your wallet. Only take them out when you need to give them some air. Be a little more cautious when it comes to spending during periods of special occasions (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries and other celebratory events).

Before we end this discussion about working with money, let’s debunk the myth that you only really need to start budgeting once you get a job and start earning decent money. This could not be further from the truth.

When I was a kid, instead of my parents buying me clothes, my dad would give my sister and I each around R1500 every season. This money was given to us with no limitations on what it could be spent on.

It was made very clear to us that with this set amount of money, we had to make sure we got EVERYTHING we needed, no concessions would be made to receive any clothes or more money until the next season arrived. From our jeans to socks, we were responsible for covering every little thing.

This small exercise taught us more to life than any book or lecture could. We quickly learnt that planning is so important in life. If you forgot about something simple as socks, your Saturday outfit would have you wearing two different colour socks. I know you know what I’m talking about!

We learnt that you have to foresee the future and plan for it! Easter coming up? You best believe you need a Church outfit for this. Perhaps futile at the time, looking back now, I realised exactly what my dad was doing. He taught us an invaluable lesson, a skill that we would use for the rest of our lives. Budgeting tools are so important to learn, even as kids.

This teaches us responsibility and paves the way for independence. It makes room for kids/teenagers to learn how to deal, manage and anticipate the unpredictable nature of life.

Pro-tip: Whether you’re 15 and having to budget for your very first date coming up with your allowance, or 45 and budgeting for your golf trip to Hermanus with buddies. Make sure to approach your finances in a proactive rather than reactive manner!

  • TIME

This is more than just buying a watch and diary, believe it or not. (I know you laughed, it’s a pleasure). When I say budget your time, I mean find balance between the areas you choose to invest your time in. We all strive to lead a “balanced lifestyle”, which is, without a doubt such an important trait. But, what steps are we actively taking to ensure this?

Setting a time budget means proactively allocating shares of time for the things that matter to you. Similarly, to a financial budget, you define the ideal amount of time to invest in each of your important life areas, and then stick to that budget for the duration of its allocated time.

What to spend Time on:

  • Getting organised: Although getting organised and staying organised takes time, it’s worthwhile to budget time for it. Think of these two as different budgets, you either choose either one, or both to budget your time.
  • Utilize a calendar/app: To truly budget your time like you budget your money, allocate a certain amount of time for everything. Something that can help you tremendously would be a calendar app. With a calendar app, you can set appointments, reminders, block your schedule for important projects or work pieces. Manage your schedule so you can manage your time!
  • Creating routines: Routines will help you budget your time better. See below examples:

⦁ Make meals ahead: Whether you take breakfast or lunch with you to work, school or university each day, it takes time to prepare. Start making meals during the evenings so that waking up does not have to be an Amazing Race challenge.

⦁ Choose clothing: A good idea is to budget a bit of time to choose clothing each evening for work or university the next day. That way you’ll quit spending time you don’t have sifting through your closet for the perfect outfit. You will be rewarded with saved time in the mornings when you set aside time to prepare for the next day.

  • Staying healthy: Something you should budget your time for is getting and staying healthy. This does not only mean eating right but drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest. You’ll also want to exercise to get fit. Quit eating junk food and limit your desserts (Yes, even the peppermint tart!). These steps will reduce that sluggish feeling you experience during the daytime. Other benefits are that your work speed will increase, and you will have more time for other things.

Drink lots of water and do not be sedentary. Exercise in small increments if you are busy and lack time. A little physical activity is better than none.

It will be hard for you to avoid being tired if you do not budget time for sleep. Lack of sleep is a common issue for many that can lower your productivity at work, university and at home. Get plenty of rest so you can be at your best.

  • Schedule time for emails: Budget time and allot certain times during the day to check your emails. Set it up on your calendar so you get a reminder but stay on task the rest of the time. Check and respond to your emails first thing in the morning, mid-morning, and again mid-afternoon and at the close of the day
  • Relaxing and recharging: If you want to continue working productively and at your best you need to relax and recharge occasionally. That is why you need to budget your time for it just like you would budget money for it too. This doesn’t mean take an expensive vacation. Instead, stay at home, take a few days to relax and have fun. (Especially in these times).
  • Setting goals: One of the most important things to do with your time is setting goals. Both personal and work goals are important. They inspire and motivate you to work hard so you can achieve them. In other words, setting goals can increase your productivity and efficiency at home, school or wherever you work.

Having a budget for your money is important to your financial well-being. Budgeting your time in a similar way is also important so you don’t waste it. After all, you only get a certain amount of it in this life.

  • LIFE

One of the most important things to budget, is your life. This is vital to your relationships, friendships and the strength thereof. How much time you invest into each relationship is important. Spend time with family and friends even during these hard times. Spending time with them does not have to be face to face, video call or message them. Show them that you care!

Ultimately, we’re like a deck of cards; different colours and symbols but one cannot work without the whole set.

As we finally come to an end, I hope that you are still reading. (I appreciate you!) Let us remember the importance of budgeting in all 3 aspects of Money, Time and Life.

Until next time


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