Adulting is a journey full of surprises. The list of responsibilities is endless -the bills, the quest to stay alive seems like an extreme sport. Everyone seems to demand a piece of you. The government takes away their piece, the landlord, your local, Netflix, and your family. We generally allocate a budget for all the items apart from how much we contribute to our family and friends’ needs.
I know it’s a sensitive topic, but we must address it.
It could be the leak in your financial ship.
How much of your income unexpectedly goes to family and friends?
Think about it, that contribution for your friend’s bridal /baby shower, contributing to a family member’s hospital bill, bailing out that cousin who got arrested for the fifth time this month. It all adds up. The social tax we end up paying is a bill that generally runs high. So high that we end up borrowing money to cover for these bills.
It’s a lot.
It drains you emotionally, financially and the worst effect of social tax is that it delays your goals. You end up barely making ends meet.
It does NOT have to be this way. You can have your cake and eat it too.
Let’s discuss how.
1. Budget for these expenses: When creating your monthly budget, allocate money that will cater to your family and friends’ needs. Do this after saving and creating your personal budget.
Pro Tip: If you support your family by buying the food or paying the electricity bill, discuss with your family how much you can afford to contribute and include that as an expense item in your monthly budget.
For supporting your friends during their major milestones such as weddings, plan in advance and save a small amount each month to honor your pledge.
2. Stick within your budget: Please, please, please stick to your budget. Do not overstretch your account only to run low or even get into debt. Be very honest with yourself and manage your family and friends’ expectations of you. Be upfront with what you can help with and how far you can go.
Pro Tip: If they are offended by your honesty then maybe you need to rethink your relationship with them. Abandon the leaky boat.
3. Be selective on what information to share about your income with your family and friends: You might need to set boundaries to avoid being in a situation where you are the one that is catering for everyone’s needs.
Pro Tip: Consider sharing your goals and aspirations to enable your family and friends’ understand your position. If you are paying off a mortgage, you can take your close circle through the process so that they can have a better perspective on your finances.
4. Take advantage of social services offered by the government: When supporting family and friends it can get very expensive and unsustainable for you. You should take advantage of any social services offered by the government.
Pro Tip: If you pay school fees for your younger siblings, you should ensure you apply for HELB Loans(National Government-funded student loan) or Bursary Program (Local Constituency funded student loan).
If you support your family by paying for any medical emergency, you should apply for the National Insurance Fund(NHIF) for each family member and pay the yearly premium so that when the need arises you have a buffer in the form of insurance. Here’s how you can register for the service.
5. Explore ways in which you can contribute non-monetary services to family and friends’ major functions: You can tap into your talents and strengths.
Pro tip: If you are crafty, turn to Pinterest to find some DIYs to replace your cash contribution. The internet gods have blessed us with Pinterest and YouTube. You can easily get inspiration online and instructions on how to create the items.
If you are very organized, offer to help with planning the logistics and coordination.
Take care of yourself and your goals. It serves you to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.