Firstly, I would like say thank you very much for all the ‘money questions’ that you send in. I love to hear from you and I appreciate your contributions because it lets me know exactly what you would like to learn about and ensures that the content on my website is relevant for you! I am at your service after all.
Secondly please read my disclaimer here before you go any further as I would like it to be very clear that I am not a financial advisor or planner. I am an educator and as such anything contained on my website is for information purposes only. Kindly read the disclaimer here.
1. PM from Lusaka Zambia asked: Dear Lele, I am a single lady who has problems with money. I make enough to get by but I have a problem with how I spend it. I am a waster. I hate it that my lack of discipline with money makes me broke before the end of the month. Kindly help with budgeting tips.
Lelemba: Well done on having already recognised what your problem is. It is the beginning of getting it sorted out. You can’t solve what you deny.
A key step in learning how to manage your money properly is to develop a money consciousness. This simply means knowing at all times where your money is and what it is doing.
This can be achieved by tracking your expenses for a few months (I recommend a minimum of 3 months). You can do this by moving around with a small book and writing down how you are spending your money as the day goes along. At the end of each day sit down and categorise each expense. Total up your spend at the end of the month and see where your money is going.
You may find that you spend money on stuff like groceries, rent, transportation etc. Examine each expense carefully and identify where you may be spending ‘too much’ or ‘too little’. Ask yourself whether how much you are spending on each category seems reasonable to you. Where can you cut down? What would be ideal for you?
Prepare your budget with this base as your guideline. Remember that a budget is a roadmap for how you plan to make and spend your money. It is not just about spending! So ask yourself how much you would like to spend on each expense category and how much you would like to make for the following month. Write these down and you have your budget!
Tracking your expenses will also help you to develop some discipline. It requires consistency and patience and these are key components of being disciplined.
NOTE: Something you can do immediately to help improve your financial position and develop your discipline is to start saving. You can read more about how you can do that on page 8- 9 in my e-book which you download for free here. You can also read how our D.I.V.A of the month of September – Stella Otim from Uganda benefitted from developing a money consciousness here. It will help you get motivated to do the same.
2. CM (location unknown) asked: Hello Lelemba, I am a subscriber to Rich Woman and Rich Dad series where I read your ‘Real Journey’ feature and am so inspired. I too am an entrepreneur and one of my biggest challenges is raising start-up capital for business. You state that you had to be very creative in raising funds for your enterprises. Would you share some ideas on what you did as banks are unfriendly, specially to women
Lelemba: I think of late the banks have been unfriendly to both men and women. J
Well my husband and I did a lot of selling! Yes I know a lot of people hate that word but as Blair Singer says ‘selling is the number 1 skill in business and life.’
Whether we care to admit it or not we are selling all the time anyway. In all our relationships we are giving something and getting something in return which is basically the selling process.
Our selling was very creative and consisted of 4 key elements:
- Starting from where we were using what we had: We took stock of what we had to offer the world! This included our skills, qualifications, talents, unique value, experiences and ideas, and offered them to people. Taking stock of what you have to offer the world raises your self-worth and increases your certainty. Because of this, we both got the exact jobs we wanted, with the exact salaries we wanted.
- Doing what we love: This is a key ingredient to ensuring that your fundraising activities are sustainable. This is because you will most definitely meet blocks and setbacks. However when you are doing what you love, getting back up is easy because you are inspired and it requires no external motivation. All our activities were around things we loved.
Example: I went into shoe retail and developed my own fashion label because I love clothes!
- Listening to what others needed: The thing that makes a lot of people hate selling is that it probably reminds them of that crazy sales person that bugged them for months, trying to sell them what they didn’t want or need! Dr John Demartini, ‘says selling equals caring.’ When you care about someone you listen to what they want and need and would not do anything to harm them. This applies to selling too. Give people what they want and need and you will always be welcome!
Example: We run a small fresh water fish retail business. When we moved to Cape Town, we missed fresh water fish! Through interaction with others we realised that we were not the only ones looking for it! We found a reliable source in Johannesburg that could deliver in Cape Town and started to retail it.
As bonus I met some of my best friends in Cape Town through this business.
- Realising that selling doesn’t have to be about money all the time: This required our starting to think about what we needed the money we wanted for. Was it for business cards? How could we get business cards without having to pay money for them? What could we give in return? We did a lot of battering of skills with other small entrepreneurs as a result.
In addition we attended a lot of workshops on selling by professionals such as SalesPartners, and also read up on it to educate ourselves further.
NOTE: For more on service and how it can ensure that you are never broke, please read page 12 and 13 of my e-book which you download for free here.
3. JM from New York USA asked: How do you juggle being a wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur, writer and investor? Are you stretched thin?
Lelemba: Two key words: ‘Support’ and ‘Structure’.
I have an excellent support system in place which works well for me. A key person in my family support system is my maid Mary. She is invaluable to me and I love her to bits! She has been with us for over 6 years and is family now. She takes care of the home and the kids whilst I work. We also use a shuttle service to pick up and drop off the kids and this has been a total blessing. The shuttle owner is also like family now.
I have learnt not to be afraid of asking for help and part of being an African means family doesn’t just mean mother, father and kids but the whole community. This applies to my other roles too. I have great support systems for each role.
Secondly we have a structured routine/timetable. This wasn’t always the case and it took the help of a professional to get it together. At some point during the time we were still settling down in Cape Town it felt as though the household was running crazy. Mwenda our oldest son was displaying signs of insecurity and frustration and Mwai, our younger one was constantly tired and irritable.
At that point I met Angelique Victor, an Equal Zeal practitioner at an Xtraordinary Women networking breakfast. Part of what Equal Zeal does is that they are personal development coaches for kids. We took Mwenda to the 4 week Micro Zeal program because we felt he would benefit from it and little did we know that it would benefit the whole family!
During the program he was able to communicate what was really important to him and we as parents were able to do the same with him. We also learnt the importance of a structured routine and went on to develop a daily and weekly routine. This has made a huge difference because it ensures that everyone’s needs are taken care of. I will talk more about this in a future article.
Finally I do not feel stretched thin because I try to do only the things I love and remain true to myself. I love all the ‘hats that I wear’ and one always makes time for the things they love.