Kia Johnson: I stick to a very tight budget

11/14/2016


Radio and television personality Kia Johnson is a co-anchor of Radio 2000 breakfast show, Planet Haaibo host of Night Live from 9pm to 12am. She also features on DSTV Kyknet’s Dagbreek show and is the Cape Town based insert presenter. As CEO of CatEye Productions, a company that focuses on Corporate Branding and Television Programmes for Local and International TV channels. She is also a celeb blogger/reporter for Zalebs. In this interview, she talks about her money habits.

In this economic climate, have you downsized your lifestyle at all?

Most definitely, I would be living in a complete bubble thinking that our current economic climate hasn't affected me and my household or even my family and friends.

Out of all your responsibilities (bills, groceries, etc) , what do you find to be the most expensive nowadays?

Rental is by far the most expensive. I'm getting married next year so we have some goals in site to get our own home. But for now renting is the main option and the conditions of some of the apartments and houses are quite shocking and don't match the advertised price.

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?

My parents were never irresponsible with money so I'm lucky to have had that background. However I went through a phase of just wasting money when I started earning my own money, so let's just call that phase "growing up". Eventually I snapped out of it. I became quite upset with how I was spending and became more aware and started budgeting better.

How do you remain positive about money in tough times?

Quite a difficult question as the world revolves around money so if you have less it makes things somewhat tricky to try and budget. But I'm always a solution finder so when I find myself in that position I ask myself this question "what can I do to improve my circumstances?"And I've learned that when you look honestly into your situation you'll find that there are other things far more important than money. So I take a breather and enjoy mother earth by taking hikes with my family and friends or just spending time with the kids at the beach and this always takes any bad day and turns it into a positive one. And one other thing that a good friend once told me is that nothing lasts forever.

How do you define financial independence?

Financial independence is not being a "worry pot". It means being aware and taking charge of your financial status and maintaining consistency. Implementing a good household and personal plan maintains that independence.


What is your number one financial priority right now?

My short term priority is to finance my wedding and obviously ensuring that my children's financial future is secure.

Do you sometimes have money blocks and how do you deal with them?

We all go through that from time to time. You can't always predict what will happen and that's where saving comes in handy. If you made sure that you keep that extra cash for a rainy day then you're set.

Have you ever been broke and how did you did deal with that period of your life?

Yes I've been broke and it was the absolute worst time of my life. Murphy's law applied here. At the time that I was down and out financially, some idiots decided to steal my car right outside my home. It was just one unlucky moment after another. First I went through denial and eventually everything just became "real" and I had to acknowledge that this was really happening to me. Finally when it all sunk in, I decided it's either sink or swim. So I had to get my mind into a better positive space first. I also cut off a lot of unnecessary spending and I started asking myself this question "do I really need it?" That helped me overcome my situation.

Why do you think we so easily fall into debt these days?

When I look at the world around us compared to a few years ago there's far more money and marketing traps are easily available. And it's so easy to fall into them if you don't monitor yourself. You know that feeling when you walk into a fashion shop and all you want to do is buy and when you get home with the items you don't even wear it. Too many of us are influenced by that and by the media and social media portrayal of 'socialites' and celebrities living the life when in actual fact they're only providing a service to the entertainment industry. Be aware of how this affects you and empower yourself to know better. Never live beyond your means.

If you have the choice between buying a home or investing in shares, which would you choose and why?

I would prefer to do a bit of both but I would say investing in a home. Once that home is yours it's yours and you can choose to live in it, rent it or sell it.

When you think of a comfortable retirement, what does that mean to you?

Having the financial freedom to get by well enough each month and to be able to travel in my later years - that would be the perfect retirement.

What’s the worst money mistake you’ve ever made, if you’ve made any and what did you learn from it?

Having a credit card. When I fell into that trap and realised what I got myself into I cut up the card and I've never owned another credit card in my life.

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?

A pair of vintage jeans. The jeans were stunning while it lasted but quickly lost their luster. I also dropped a few sizes after giving birth so now I have these jeans that just sit in my cupboard.

Do you have a budget? Why? Why not?

Oh yes I stick to a very tight budget. It's the best guideline to ensure you don't go overboard with your spending.

What tools or resources do you rely on to keep your own personal finances in order?

These days it's quite easy as most of us use internet banking. So for me to keep an eye on things is that much simpler.

Do you have rules for lending money to friends or family?

Yes I do. The money must be paid back within a certain time frame or I'm never lending you money again. There's been the odd occasion where someone has had it tough in their life so I don't expect them to pay back the money but those have been few and far between.

Do you have a philosophy for building wealth?

Start small and work your way up.  Things won't happen immediately so I try to be patient knowing that what I put in now I will reap the benefits later.  And save save save. Even if it's a few rands, just keep saving.

What are your money tips for our readers?

Just as companies who start out keep their overheads low so must you. If you find yourself in a bad financial position take stock of where it's coming from and acknowledge you have a problem. Then work on solving it and cut out all those unnecessary items. Best question to ask yourself is "do I really need it?"

You can follow Kia on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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