Simply #MoneyDiaries with Belinda Mountain
In telling us about your #MoneyDiary story, the following questions are guidelines:
1. Do you have a monthly budget? If yes, when did you start budgeting and why?
Yes of course! We started budgeting when we moved from the UK back to South Africa in 2009, as we found it difficult to get a handle on how much things cost in Rands, and what we could afford when it came to rent and groceries on our salaries. Some months we won’t update the spreadsheet, but then we’ll quickly realise we need to relook at things (!), and then we’ll update our figures with any changes to income or expenditure. I therefore recommend that everybody records their budgets every single month.
2. Do you have a specific method and strategy for saving e.g. using an app, and/or particular savings instruments (e.g. index funds or a broker or a website)?
Yes we have index funds, RAs and various other saving mechanisms.
3. Does your saving strategy include a fixed amount or percentage of your earnings?
4. If you have a partner (e.g. husband), do you have tips for how to discuss and negotiate money that you’ve learned work well?
My biggest tip is TO TALK ABOUT IT! There’s a common misconception among people that’s it’s rude to talk about money, which I believe is to their detriment. Ignoring money is one sure way to get yourself in financial trouble. I’m not saying money is the be all and end all, but I believe we need to have these sorts of discussions with our partners, and with our families, if we want to build positive relationships with money. I also dislike the adage that money is evil. Yes, people do evil things for money, but used the right way, money can also do a lot of good in the world.
5. Do you have any life hacks for saving and investing that you’d like to share with other women?
I remember my mom telling me at age 25 that I needed to start saving. I ignored her for a while but I quickly realised how right she was! I’ve therefore generally always lived within my means, budgeted extremely carefully as a 20-something when my income was low, and never spending more than I earned. This meant I was able to buy my first property with my husband before I turned 30. We then lived together in it, with other people renting rooms in our home, even though we were already married! My husband was adamant that paying off the bond quicker (using our tenants’ rent money) was worth sacrificing people in our space for a year or two, and although it was challenging - I do appreciate that it was worth it in the end. I guess the moral of the story there, in terms of finances, is that a little bit of discomfort is often well worth it in the long run.