The mentality of the poor is to imbibe what Benjamin Franklin said “A penny saved is a penny earned”. This days a penny saved is an idle or lazy penny. This saying comes in sharp contrast of what the rich or wealthy conscious parents teach their children – “A penny put to work makes the most sense”.


A well aligned family budget puts your money to work which in turn guarantees greater values of returns. Parents have a real task of preparing a budget for the family by employing the steps listed below which starts with the use of putting pen to paper:

  1. Understanding what family budget entails: A family budget entails providing sources of income for you and your family and drawing up a spending pattern. It helps you determine how much comes in and how much goes out and also make informed decisions about your daily spending and investment goals.
  2. Set out a cool evening before the new month sets in because budget planning takes time and energy and also ensure you do not have pressing obligations that evening. Start with a goal such as paying off debts, paying off children school fees, house rent or some embarrassing debts, building projects etc.  You owe no man an explanation to justify your goals and visualizing it can help keep you on track.
  3. Get a calculator close by, pen and paper and some light refreshment. Be absolutely ready to be truthful to yourself when putting down figures as exaggeration of your expected income may cause a devastation on the actualization of your set goals.
  4. Bring everything to the table: Everything that reflects income and expenses should be honestly brought to light. Carefully state out your income sources first, then write down your expected expenses. You must ensure this meets your set goals and not peripherals. E.g. you may have a goal to pay off your rent and thereafter, procure paints to give your home a new look. You must ensure to pay the rent first and not the paint work. Set your priorities right and give attention to the big picture.
  5. Be disciplined and determined in the execution of your budget: This will help you curb unnecessary spending. If you are the type that desires a bottle of coke and a sausage roll during traffic or every outing you embark on, you may need some extra lessons on effecting financial discipline. This will be extensively discussed in our next edition. Let’s take a little analysis on this; if the uncontrolled spending on coke and ‘gala’ is allowed to go on a daily basis, let’s say a token amount of N200 daily will amount to about N72,000 annually and in ten years if that habit goes unchecked, a whopping N720,000 will be expended on unnecessary purchases. This in my opinion, is tantamount to Subject your mouth to discipline the same way you discipline your child when he or she does something wrong.

    Here’s a piece of advice for parents; THINK OF DROPPING THAT LITTLE N200 INTO YOUR CHILD’S OR CHILDREN’S PIGGY BANK (kolo} WHENEVER THE URGE FOR SUCH UNNECESSARY SPENDING CROPS UP” These funds can be put to work by investing in shares for their future.

  6. Collect your change after every transaction: Monies waived carelessly affects your family budget. If you must part with your change either with the fuel attendant, shop attendant or cab driver, ensure you do so from your leveraged budget.
  7. Regularly compare actual figures with budgeted figures. This can be done weekly or monthly as a yard stick for self and family assessment. Subject yourself to doing this especially in the evenings or at the weekends).

If you are preparing a family budget for the first time, it may appear foreign, never mind, go on with it for at least SIX TIMES, thereafter you spirit, soul and body will begin to accept it and it will eventually become a life style.

In our next edition we shall dwell extensively on financial discipline as well as the vital roles of our women in family budgeting.