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The moment my phone rang, I knew it. Bimbo had sent me a good morning SMS that morning, and she was calling barely an hour later. I needed no other reminder that the end of the month was almost here. If there is a major disadvantage to being a salary earner, it’s that everyone around you knows when you’re getting paid. Like clockwork, the calls start coming in around the 20th and they don’t stop until the 2nd of the new month. There’s the person just calling to greet you (and remind you to remember her), your hairdresser’s son who needs money for exams,your driver whose wife will soon deliver. The list is endless.

At first, I managed the situation by allocating specific amounts to ‘family and friends’ in my monthly budget. I disbursed the amount on a first come, first serve basis – that didn’t work for very long. There were just those cases touching enough to shake my resolve till I found myself diverting money budgeted for other things. Because life must go on, monthly expenses are usually sorted and it’s often my savings plan that suffers. Next month, I tell myself, I will save next month; but nothing ever changes ‘next month’.

I finally became really smart. I backed my resolve to save with necessary action. I set up a direct debit mandate to my Money Market Fund Investment. I even put reminders on my phone alerting me to lookup the offer rates of Treasury Bills and check out stock brokerage opportunities. Guess what date I put for the reminder? The same date my salary comes in. Now, as I get the credit alert that announces my salary, I also get the alert that reminds me to invest and the one that assures me I just invested. It’s been very effective, I am finally building what I like to call an ‘emergency fund’ and if I continue this way, I should have enough to attempt getting my own property soon.

So, I no longer wonder what date it is before I pick phone calls. Even if you call on salary day, the answer is simple, and true. ‘Ah, Bimbo, I don’t have money o. My cash is tied up…’

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