To listen to the podcast version, press play below:
The moment 2018 started, I knew that something I was going to dedicate my year towards, was doing something each day that my future self will thank me for – and a major way that I have incorporated this practice is through my money and career. I have found myself developing a strong awareness towards what I do with money and how my decisions will impact my future self. As a result, I would like to share a few new habits, practices and actions I’ve made to date, which I have done in two ways A) via the podcast recording above for those who appreciate detail (I apologize, I was quite ill with flu while recording, hence the incessant sniffing) and in post form for those who prefer words.
I embarked on this journey for a number of reasons:
- I wish to become wealthy and successful one day, and certain anchors have been holding me back from acquiring true wealth.
- I truly possess an abundance mentality: that there is more than enough money in the world for all of us – we just need to learn to keep fiercely focused to acquire it. Anyone (and all of us) can acquire anything, and if you haven’t acquired it yet, its either not your time (I believe in perfect timing) or you simply still need to learn something first.
- I run a career, finance & lifestyle publication for Pete’s sake – and so it goes without saying that I should live the values & ethos of this publication.
First and foremost, I had to decide what I VALUE most in life:
- My property (shelter) and owning real assets
- My family & the legacy I leave behind for them
- Disposable income
- Lifestyle & Travel
Throughout the podcast, you will hear many elements which allude to my value for property and family. I believe that in ANY journey that you embark on, you must first know what your values are, as they drive the achievement & destination of the said journey.
It is important to note that I didn’t wake up one day and decide “I’m going to live this minimalistic & voluntary simplistic lifestyle”. It is a decision made over many months towards the end of last year, and for a myriad of reasons, too.
I decided that this year, I was going to live a voluntary simplistic lifestyle (and observe minimalism in my dress sense) not because of scarcity (I don’t believe in focusing on ‘lack’) but because I believe that if I deliberately live a life of no excess, minimal consumption and, instead focus on what I DO have, it will yield much, much more (and it has). I am not being contrived when I say that because of the choices I’ve made this year, I actually feel richer and happier. My best friend keeps saying “the Zimasa I know this year and the Zimasa I met 5 years ago, are two totally different people”. So without further ado, here is what I have done this year to date:
STEP 1: WRITE DOWN WHAT I HAVE
I sat and wrote down everything I currently possess from a financial standpoint; which is my Sectional title property, my SATRIX, Unit Trust, Savings, FOREX Account, Life Cover, Bond Cover & Retirement Annuity. I then looked at areas where I was ‘bleeding’ money – @Home account, levies, subscriptions, clothing, DSTV, Hair/cosmetic purchases.
STEP 2: PAY THE BILLS (in advance)
Living in an estate, I receive a monthly levies statement indicating how much I owe in regards to my electricity spend & water spend. The statement also includes a monthly levy owed to the body corporate for the security and amenities they provide all tenants. This amount fluctuates (since electricity spend differs) but mine usually looms around the same figure most months. The moment I received my bonus this past March, I paid a lump sum towards my levy statement to settle them – I took the amount I usually pay and multiplied it by 12 months and paid that towards my levies account! I now look at my levy statement every month with such glee when I see a huge negative sign before a large figure; which indicates that I have credit and owe no levies for the year! This has freed up so much cash flow (about R2500 a month) which I have redirected elsewhere (see below).
STEP 3: LIFTED ALL ANCHORS
We all have anchors that halt our progress when it comes to achieving our money goals – be it too many debit orders, lack of discipline, a penchant for eating out or otherwise. My anchors are most definitely my love of clothes and never-ending obsession with beautifying my home, which is why the first thing I sought to do this year was pay off and close my @Home account. Fortunately, I had always been good with making payments towards the account and watching what I spent, but let’s be honest – having to pay an amount towards an account is unnecessary and really eats into your earnings. That being said, by February of this year I had paid off the said account and no longer waste excess money paying towards it every month. My house is fine – I DO NOT need to consume and purchase so much; I do not need so many things! This has also left me with more cash flow than before, which I have since redirected (again, see below).
Other anchors included subscriptions: running an online magazine and being a person who is obsessed with aesthetics, I had an Adobe Creative Cloud account which contained software such as Photoshop – whereby I would edit and crop photos to suit the dimensions and look of the site. This was costing me $10.00 (R120.00) a month and I would justify it by telling myself, ‘its for my business’. Well, thanks to it being 2018 and there being some genius out there, many online photo editing apps have since emerged, making Photoshop a complete waste of money – so I cancelled my subscription. I also used SkillShare – an online resource that contains videos and tutorials on absolutely everything under the sun (it’s amazing, really) – which required that the best classes and tutorials be paid for. Of course it wasn’t a huge fee, but it was a fee nonetheless, and so I cancelled it and replaced it with LinkedIn Learning which is just as amazing as Skillshare and most importantly, it’s free! I have since redirected the funds I used for Photoshop & Skillshare towards purchasing two new books a month on my Kindle. The beauty of Kindle is that since the books aren’t in physical paperback form, they are faaaaaar cheaper to buy, and so the R200 I was using on Photoshop & Skillshare can sometimes even get me 3 books! Purchasing more books has also made me a ferocious reader & my mindset has truly changed as a result.
[Visit the TCC Instagram page, where I’ve shared some of my reads from this year].
STEP 4: REDIRECT THE FUNDS
Since I now have more cash flow than I did before, I have become deliberate about sending money to my bond account – over and above the installment I am currently paying. My husband and I are concurrently trying to pay off this current property while saving up for a stand-alone home (big task, we know – but complex/estate living isn’t for us anymore – it’s noisy, lacks privacy & we want a big garden where we can grow fruits & veg) so I have since opened an access bond and I deliberately pay the surplus money I now have into the access bond account, as the interest earned will be higher than the interest we could earn on other short-term savings accounts. Yes, I am well aware that I could save the surplus money in a Unit Trust as well, but I choose to do it this way.
STEP 5: MINIMALISM
Now, one area where I was truly bleeding money was through clothing. I LOVE CLOTHES.
But once again, with appreciation for money comes appreciation for good quality items which means, yes, I have embraced Minimalism. This essentially means that I believe in purchasing/owning a number of high quality, multi-dimensional items of clothing which can be worn in multiple ways, over multiple times and seldom need replacing because they are good quality. Some items I swear by are:
- Black blazer: can be worn with pants, skirts, dresses (for a preppy look – totally my thing!) and jeans over and over again.
- Black pleated skirt: can be worn with literally any top you currently have in your cupboard! A black pleated skirt is so multi-dimensional, it can be worn on weekends with a Tee/crop top or during office hours with a blazer or blouse. Pair it with stockings & a polo neck in winter for a chic look and you’re good to go!
- Black jeans/pants: need I say more? These can be worn casually and formally, during winter & summer, for date nights, movie nights or at fancy dinners, and with literally any top!
- Black (high quality) pumps: I was literally getting tired of the rate at which my flats were wearing out, as well as my husband teasing me every time it was clear I needed a new pair so I decided to purchase a great quality, leather pair with a durable sole from ALDO which literally go with everything – and when they are dirty, they require a simple wipe (hello genuine leather!). This is of course not to say that expensive means good quality, but I do suggest you start collecting shoes from reputable brands that you wont need to replace for years (my fave pair of heels is a black suede Dune pair with gold detailing that I bought in 2014 – they are still immaculate, they go with E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and I haven’t had to buy a black heel in ages!
This is certainly not me schooling you on what to wear or how to spend your money, I just find that embracing minimalism and voluntary simplicity has made me a happier, simpler and more creative individual! Embracing minimalism does not mean you do not purchase clothes whatsoever – but that when you do, its high quality items purchased with caution and thought. I have personally halted all clothing purchases (realising that I have great clothes and I have all that I need) and I have enjoyed finding alternative ways of wearing or reinventing many pieces.
ITS NOT ALL DOOM & GLOOM THOUGH
Although I have made a very deliberate move towards voluntary simplicity and become mindlful of what I purchase, I have still kept a few luxuries such as
- Doing my hair every month. My standing appointment with my hair dresser has remained, and without fail, I do a new set of braids; largely because I have natural hair and cant bear to waste time by styling it, parting, moisturizing it and plaiting it daily!
- My husband and I actually cancelled DSTV last year for a few months, thinking it was a waste of money – but surprise surprise – we would get so bored (and trust me we maximised all the indoor games & having people over thing) that we would go out Friday, Saturday AND Sunday and end up spending more money than if we had stayed in. Of course it doesn’t help that we both love cricket (which is only available on PREMIUM) so we were always going out to catch games elsewhere which meant spending money on drinks, food, the works. So, we reinstated it!
WHY DID I SHARE THIS WITH YOU:
- Again, I am the Founding editor of a career, finance & lifestyle magazine, and I ought to live and breathe the values of this wonderful platform. This means getting my own money, career and life in order!
- To keep myself accountable
- To help anybody who is embarking on the same journey
- To share and exchange ideas – I am no finance expert and so I’d love to have you all come on the journey and give me some ideas – comment below, send DMs, email me – just don’t text as I’ve developed major anxiety towards my phone.
WHAT HAS THIS JOURNEY TAUGHT ME SO FAR
- It’s been 6 months of living this way and I can’t believe how much I have changed – I think my husband and bestie can vouch for me when I say I feel free, happy and richer – richer not because I’m balling (LOL) but because I appreciate what I DO have, the universe keeps giving me more to be thankful for.
- You don’t have to consume so much. You already have all that you need.
- Real G’s tread in silence – money and happiness don’t have to be loud. Just because I/you aren’t posting on Instagram, it doesn’t mean you aren’t up to big things or living a wonderful life or not making money. Silence wins the war. Silence is an indication of something beautiful brewing. Tread silently. Make your money and multiply it in silence – the people of the ‘gram don’t need to know.
Thanks so much for reading (and listening to those who were able to hear me through my sniffing). I will keep you updated.
PS Some other resources that helped me on this journey
- LifeCheq – a company started by a young group of Actuaries whereby – after sitting with you in discussing who you are and what you want in life (you share your debts/spending habits/lifestyle habits/bank balance/assets/current career trajectory/qualifications/ – just be open and honest with them, that way they can give you the most accurate plan and advice for moving forward) – they provide you with a detailed financial and career plan based on actuarial principles. They even go as far as asking how many kids you want/where you want to live in future/what car you want to drive etc to aid with this.
- Google Voluntary Simplicity. I have approached voluntary simplicity as the act of halting all unnecessary or inessential purchases and directing the money that would have been used, towards a wealth-building vehicle or towards something that will result in my personal development. It cannot be emphasised enough that Voluntary Simplicity is NOT about deprivation, but about building abundance.
- I have a car, however it is fully paid off. And although I am dying to own a Mercedes Benz GLC, I’d much rather have a paid off loft apartment instead! My husband and I have both decided we will not be purchasing a car until we’ve paid off our home. Big task.