Nonhle Beryl: I am obsessed with budgeting and checking my current account every day

Durban born Nonhle Beryl, now based in German, is a singer, actress, songwriter, emcee and author.   She is trained in musical theater at both the prestigious New York Film Academy and Tshwane University of Technology. She was a contestant on the The Voice of Germany, Season 3 and on The X Factor SA, Season 1. She has also starred in international musical theater productions such as, Disney's The Lion King, Hairspray, Hair - The Love Rock Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sister Act Hits, Sweet Charity and Pippin. In this interview, Nonhle talks about her money habits.

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

Yes, I have. I live in one of the most expensive cities in Germany. There are too many people and not enough accommodation, so the rent is high because of the demand. A few years ago I had to downsize my living space because I was living alone but paying a lot on rent.

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?

I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family but my parents always strived to provide my brother and I with everything we needed. My mother didn’t get an opportunity to get a tertiary education so she started her work life as a tea lady in a pharmacy. She then learnt how to type and eventually got herself a job as a secretary in a law firm in the 80s. Unfortunately because she was a young black woman, she was exploited. She stayed at the firm anyways, but continued to educate and empower herself. After some years, she got a job in a media company as an office manager. Her passion had always been cooking, so when an opportunity presented itself, she quit her job and started her own catering company in our living room. Today she owns one of the best catering companies in Durban. As a young girl, she taught me the importance of being a financially independent woman and inspired me to always work hard for my own money. It’s my mother’s tenacity that gave me the courage to quit my job and start my own business. My father, on the other hand, taught me the importance of being responsible with money. From him I learned to budget, save, invest, and to live below my means. From a very young age, he taught me to never borrow money and also to never buy anything on credit, besides a car and a house.

Since you don't have a fixed income, how do you budget your paychecks?

I plan. I make a yearly plan, then break it down to a monthly plan and review it regularly throughout the year. So before the year starts I plan how much I need to make per month based solely on my NEEDS and thereafter, I add my WANTS to my list. Once I know what I want my minimum income to be, I just focus on earning that. I have been very lucky and blessed to have been able to not only meet my financial goals in the past year, but also to surpass them. This has made budgeting easier for me and has also been a great motivator for me to work harder and stay focused.

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

I live in Hamburg and currently it has a shortage of housing which makes accommodation to be of high demand. So, I pay the most on my rent.

What are you doing to increase your income?

Currently a large percentage of my income goes right back into my business. I am currently my greatest investment and asset. I am building a business from the ground up and expanding my brand.

How do you deal with financial setbacks when they happen?

I use the same philosophy that I use when I have to deal with any setbacks in my life. Initially, I’m discouraged, scared and disappointed. Once I’ve gone through those emotions, which takes about a day, I go back to the drawing board and make a plan. I’m honest and realistic with myself about where I am and I try to figure out ways to move forward. Sometimes, this means having to give up certain luxuries for a short while. The great thing about writing down a plan is that you can see clearly how long it will get you out of the financial setback, so you know how long you have to live without the luxuries.

Have there been times where you’ve experienced money blocks or conflicting feelings about money?

Yes, many, many times!

How do you define financial independence?

Being financially independent means that I am able to make my own decisions regarding how I spend my money. It means taking full responsibility for all my financial failures and successes.

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

Right now I would invest in shares.

What's the balance between leading a full life and saving money?

I live on deals and sales! In Hamburg, there are major sales I think every two to three weeks, so unless I NEED something at that particular time, I never have to spend. I do shop when there is sale but I don’t buy things just because they are on sale. I buy vouchers from Groupon and Daily Deals. On those sites you can also find discount vouchers for a whole lot of other things like holidays, dining and all-round fun things to do in your city. I only spend large amounts of money on the things that I NEED and things that I cannot wait to have. Everything else, like clothes and shoes, etc, I buy on sale.
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve ever made, if you’ve made any? What did you learn from it?

There are two worst money mistakes I’ve made – the first was not loving money and the second was not learning about money.

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

I am obsessed with budgeting and checking my current account every day. It’s important for me to know exactly how much I have at my disposal all the time. I write down all of my financial goals – how much I want to have and how much I have to spend (bills, etc.)

What types of things do you tend to splurge on?

I splurge on vacations, perfume and books.

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?

I can’t remember the last time I regretted buying something.

What are your rules for lending money to friends or family?

Tricky. In general, I do not lend friends or family money. If a friend is in desperate need, a survival situation, then I will help them out without expecting anything in return. But, I will only do this once. Luckily, I don’t have friends who borrow money from me. I never lend money to family. I do what I can, when I can for my family, because I believe that God blesses me so that I can bless others.

Do you and your women friends talk intimately about money?

No, we do not discuss money.

When it comes to giving, how do you decide where to allocate your money?

I must believe in the cause in order for me to give. This philosophy doesn’t only apply to charity, but also to giving money to family and friends. It’s important that it comes from my heart and that I don’t feel forced  or guilted into giving. Giving should not only make the receiver happy, but also the giver.

In your line of work, you travel a lot.  How do you save on your travel costs?

I make sure that my travel costs are covered by the client. Because I’m very fortunate to get to travel around the world, if I’m going to a place that is of interest to me, I extend my stay there to include a vacation. That way I save on how much I spend on my vacations.

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