Reality Check!

pd

“Cause In Reality I’ll Earn My Salary
The Way I Flaunted It Then Would Now Embarrass Me”

– Nas, “Not Going Back”

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e-banking at the end of the month always puts a smile on my face. And might I add that this is definitely one month where I actually feel like I earned every last “centimes” (it’s french) of my paycheck.
But I guess my problem has never been earning money for myself.. its always been telling myself that saving it and spending it “wisely” are not always the same thing. Rewind to circa 2004, when I went off to varsity, with a safety net in the form of lump sum allowance money, books, tuition and accomodation fully paid for. I landed my first part-time job, one of many -in fact. Unlike most kids who used such side-gigs to finance some of their urgent bills, I pretty much threw the proceeds of my part-time hustling straight down the toilet.  I never saved or planned to save even one “rand” of it (it’s suidafrikaner). It all went to the cashiers at Century City, Canal Walk and Cavendish Square and when the sun set I gave away the rest of it to the bartenders on Long Street and at Primi’s.

Money has always been a taboo topic for me so I never saw the need to discuss such things with my girlfriend at the time or any of my friends for that matter. I pretty much did my own thing without realising that everyone was probably looking at me and thinking: “what a shallow prick!”.  I sensed what I percieved to be “hostility” and “cold hater stares” and I just ignored it. To me, I imagined it was simply a “haves-versus have-nots”  type of thing where those that have money must spend it and must be seen to be spending it whereas the one’s that dont spend their money were those that didnt have any of it to spend. Words like student budget, saving, investing, price comparisons, affordability meant diddly squat to this young freshman on campus who was just too excited about making his OWN money for the first time and finally being out on his own.

Well, times have changed, I’m older, wiser and I’m glad I can look at that time in my past as an important lesson rather than a recurring nightmare.  I’m on a different path now. Being on my own for real with a whole new bright future to look forward to, definitely makes me want to plan my moves much more carefully than I once did. As for my earnings, I’m saving it all up…(promise!).
Seriously though, I wont sit here and act like I’m not grateful for having grown up in a privileged single-parent home and I’ll be the first person to admit that I have squandered a million and one opportunities to make something better of myself. But I believe its not too late to start. And voila, here I am, telling you that I plan on spending my time wisely and saving all that I can, because in this life we live: “everything adds up!”

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