Beating the belt-tightening blues

Young millennials work to balance their budgets yet still reap the rewards of a hard day at work

Money Money Money! A sensitive topic that stirs a variety of emotions. Too little of it? Anxiety, stress, depression. Too much of it? Well, can we ever have too much of it?
As a young working millennial I want to live the lavish life I pictured in my head while growing up, but most times my budget won’t allow me.
I begin each month with the best of intentions – planning my finances, placing money aside and sticking to my budget. But by the middle of the month things tend to go sideways, and I can’t fully indulge in the things that I like.
We work tirelessly for eight hours (or more) each day and I’d like to believe that the very least we can do is get some enjoyment as a reward for all that work.
So is it more discipline that I need? Or do I need to earn more money? Either way, I set out to find ways to enable me to enjoy the money I receive after all those debit orders go off.
And to find ways to stretch my salary. How do other young, employed people manage their finances?
First up was Duncan Bosch, a 23-year-old front of house salesman at Water RO Systems in Beacon Bay.
“A budget is a necessity for me, it goes without saying each month. It is extremely important because I need to weigh up the pros and cons to see what I can and cannot afford.”
Bosch says he enjoys spoiling his family at month-end with some take-aways or “that bit of extra food”.
Bosch is an example of what can be done – a young man in his early 20s, already very disciplined with money.
But not everyone can be that strict with themselves. Thirty-one-year-old Ziyanda Maqanda, store manager at Bargain Books, said: “As young people these days we don’t earn enough to even think of a budget. We are also guilty of buying things that we want instead of things that we need. But, in the same breath we need to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Live a little!”
With endless possibilities, you know what your lifestyle could potentially be but you just don’t have the money to live it out, yet. I am here to tell you that you can put the life in lifestyle with some money-saving activities:
Become a crafty, do-it-yourself (DIY) type of person. If you have moved into your first apartment, a few tools, some paint and a YouTube tutorial go a very long way. You want to gift a loved one with something special? Get those hands dirty! Make items from supplies bought at craft stores – the receiver will appreciate the effort all the more.
Point Systems. Many insurance companies and banks offer you added points for doing activities like going to the gym on a regular basis, or fuelling up your car at particular filling stations. Many retails stores offer a money back system for items purchased at the store in form of loyalty cards.
So you enjoy spending time in a club with some friends? But the club fee can be a bit steep and on top of that you have to buy drinks when you get there. So, invite a few friends over to your home, pool money together and have “pre drinks”. A few hours later, share a cab to your hottest nightclub and have a “jol”. You will be saving on fuel costs and drinks prices at the club.
Want to go out to a restaurant for dinner? Discuss the finances beforehand with your partner/friends, just to know what you are working with and how you can split the bill! Look out for those restaurants offering two-for-one specials or “all-you-can eat” specials.
For all my beauty queens! From time to time beauty parlours run specials on certain treatments. So go on and get that back and neck massage on a budget. Or that well-deserved nail treatment.
Picnics! Don’t really want to go out to a restaurant and be limited by the menu, bill and time? Well, our province is full of parks and beach areas that offer the ultimate getaway on a budget.
Longing for “dinner night” with your close people? Combine ingredients as friends, see what you have in a fridge and whip up something from “nothing”.
So you have an eye for the latest fashion trends and want to look and feel “dope?” Thrift shopping is the answer. Not all the hottest fashion items are stuck in designer stores and retail outlets. You can get a lot from bargain buying.
With tough economic times where fuel and food prices have gone through the roof, enjoying life’s activities on the income you earn, is the only way forward.
Asemahle Zilwa, a 24-year-old product consultant says the highlight of his month is getting a couple of beers with his mates. “I don’t feel like I earn enough to budget. I get my salary, pay the bills that I need to, make sure my monthly transport and rent fees are covered. Then beers with the gents it is! I feel as though this is important. We work so hard, not only for ourselves, but our families too. Treating yourself at the end of the month is a must.”
On a finance website called The Balance: Make Money Personal, Latoya Lirba writes, “Being good with money takes practice: In the beginning, you may not be used to planning ahead and putting off purchases until you can afford them.
“The more you make these habits part of your daily life, the easier it is to manage your money, and the better off your finances will be.”..

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