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How to Be Smart with Your Money (3) By Tunde Oyedoyin

In the two previous articles, I talked about the importance of knowing how to be smart with your money and checking your bank’s monthly  statements . I once went over a mini- statement I printed from an ATM and noticed an organisation had taken the money they shouldn’t take. Guess what, I called and told them about it and had my £10 back in my account. Was that a lot? Definitely not. It’s not enough for a night out. The titanic wasn’t sunk by a big hole, you know. Watching your pennies without letting the pound slip out of hand is all in a day’s job.
In this concluding part, therefore, I’ll be discussing  a very important part of the equation – planning for your money. Those who have gone on to acquire great wealth know this very important part of the jig -saw. If you make no plans for your money, you will soon discover that others will, irrespective of whether you earn just a little or much.

In order to plan for your money, you must first see it as a tool and as a means to an end. Your salary, or allowance or even pocket money, is a tool. It’s the means by which you actualise your dreams and move towards financial freedom. So, you must plan (budget) how you’ll spend it before the money comes in. Those who never plan for their salaries will always desperately look forward to the end of the month or next pay day. Such people never do anything with their money apart from keeping body and soul together and perhaps, just pay the bills.
Planning or budgeting for your money is very important , because you can allocate bits and pieces – or percentages, if you like- to various aspects of your life. Remember that one of the key points mentioned in part one is that it is not the amount of money that you earn that determines whether you need to be smart with it or not. So, whether your monthly income is N50,000 or £1,000, you need to plan for it before it arrives. One reason for planning for your money is that you can see problems and opportunities ahead.  That gives you a head start in knowing what to do. For instance, if you need to pay your  car insurance  premium every month and  you realise It  always leaves you with very little after all other expenses, that’s an opportunity to either  find a way of getting rid of that type of car or reducing your other expenditure  in other areas.
Apart from not wanting to repeat the mistakes of others , planning and allocating your money also saves you a lot of headaches and prevents you from embarking on guilty trips if you’re unable to meet other people’s expectations . Remember that if you do not plan for it, others will, hence the reason they will want you to meet their expectations. This is not just doing charity, though. Others may come to you with investment plans, wanting you to be part of it. If you have never planned nor allocated what to put into such, you may be talked into doing what you will regret many months or years later. Nothing stops you from saying, “hey, I’m not ally ready to buy those shares now or it could be saying ‘no’ to flying on a business class.
Apart from meeting your daily and regular expenses, you need to plan for the medium and long term with your money. By planning for your money, you know what to allocate for that forthcoming birthday celebration or christening, or perhaps, wedding. In addition to planning for your social commitments, you should also plan for your career development with your money. So, whether you’re near the bottom of the ladder or thereabout, even just one per cent of your salary put together towards a career plan, can do wonders in the medium term.
Never forget that it is not the amount you start with in life or earn that really matters, it is the plan you make with part of it. Whether you hope to take a summer course or go on pilgrimage next year, now is the time to get smart with your money and what better way to do it than planning how you will gradually raise the funds to make your dream come true.


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