Every now and then, a twinge of conscience, an account in red or a well-meaning (or not!) adviser – friend, relative, busybody article, banker – will prompt you to do something meaningful about your budget, or rather, your inability to stick to a budget. Don’t do it! A budget is a dumb idea, it always makes you feel bad. And me? Me, I’m on your side! Blowing budgets is art; a form of self-expression… (and I am Picasso, TRUST ME!) You ready to take this leap of faith into previously unplumbed depths of poverty? Let’s do this!
- At the beginning of the year, in true I’m-serious-about-this fashion, make a resolution not to blow your budget.
This is the easiest part, and made easier by the fact that the holiday season has depleted all monies and driven you seriously into debt. Plus, it’s the beginning of the year! Time for new beginnings and all. So by all means, go ahead and resolve to budget. It makes blowing it that much more bitter-sweet!
- Then, using one of those fancy Excel templates, draw up a budget.
Another easy part, unless you’re completely computer-illiterate. MS Excel provides templates that take your every need into account. Need for entertainment, hairdos, gifts for friends on their birthdays, the works! So go ahead, budget!
- Listen to Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everyone’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’ over and over again.
Pay special attention to the part where he says, With a precious few (of your friends) you should hold on, working hard to bridge all geographical differences etc. etc. If you don’t have the song, let me know. Nothing can stand in the way of this noble endeavour.
- Use the above as an excuse to meet up with your friends at the cinemas, Debonair’s Pizza, Icecream Factory, Chocolat Royal etc.
You’re maintaining your friendship!
- Succumb to those snazzy ads and apply for ATM cards from all (ALL!) the banks you patronize, for all the accounts you operate.
Another easy…hell, all these steps are easy. In less than the time it’ll take you clip your nails, you can fill out forms in any new generation bank for an ATM card. Some don’t even need you to fill anything, they hand you the card immediately you open an account. So, get the cards! Makes it easier (notice how the word ‘easy’ keeps popping up) for you to literally have all your money in the world in your wallet. That way, ‘I’m out of cash’ can never be an excuse to deny yourself anything.
- Sign up to receive updates from boutiques and shops you like.
That way, when they have those mega sales you get alerts…and therefore a ready excuse to buy yet another Ralph Lauren polo tee-shirt (It’s on sale!)
- Carry your ATM cards wherever you go.
You never know where you’ll find that ribbed sweater to die for!
- Console yourself with the fact that your richer friends spend far more than you do.
Yeah, you’re the real thrift queen/king!
- Oh, yeah, I forgot. Make it a habit to roll with richer friends.
That way, you absolutely have to whip out your ATM cards so you don’t get left out of the action. And provides a ready excuse for No. 7. Not like you need an excuse, right?
- Scour the magazines for spring trends, summer trends, middle-of-August trends, just in case, you know, you have to buy something.
This is of course so that you can shop relevantly. And then as you browse through shops (window-shopping every weekend is a must!) and sight some item, remind yourself that Style swore it was an absolute must-have this season. And use that as an excuse to buy it.
- Find a reason to give yourself a little treat.
It’s my birthday, it’s a whole week since I had a cigarette, I worked so hard today, It’s Happy Hanukkah in the Jewish community, it’s three years since I graduated high school, it’s Wole Soyinka’s birthday, it’s Sallah (never mind that you’re Christian), it’s Easter (never mind that you’re Muslim), it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s a perfect day etc.
- Never, ever check your account balance. Never request a receipt from the ATM.
Only makes you feel bad. And that’s not good for the plan.
- And then, be sure to console yourself that someday, you’ll get a higher paying job and then, you’d be able to increase your budget and stick to it… 🙂