Monday, 18 December 2017

The family budget

The word budget is catching on in Ghana; we have gotten to a point where when there is budget reading, things get to a halt.

It is usually the media’s major focus for the day; no news is more important than the budget on the day that it is read.
How about the family situation? Does the word budget do anything in your family?
Does it make attitudes change or what happens? Let me first ask whether your family goes by a budget or things just happen once money comes in.
In Ghana, many women are socialised to think that it is a man’s responsibility to take care of the home financially. This is emphasised by statements like “If a woman buys a gun, it is kept in a man’s room”, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen”. And usually during marriage ceremonies, I think I have heard advise like, “If you go to marry and there is debt, take it to the man’s house, but if there is gain, bring it home”.
For me, this is one thing that perpetuates domestic abuse and violence, but that is a topic to be discussed another day.
In my opinion, every home and every individual needs to live by a budget and a plan, and I think it will be prudent if families get together to make a budget.
It could be a monthly budget, a weekly budget, a quarterly budget, or a yearly budget depending on the sources of income.
Many couples will testify to the fact that it is not just the man that provides for the home; in some homes, women are the major providers while men supplement.
Different families have their own way of sustaining themselves financially, and that should usually be left to the couple to decide.
Family financing is a big thing which in my opinion should be discussed and agreements abided by even before we enter into marriage; however, usually at the beginning of the marriages, certain scales have still not fallen off the eyes and many would-be couples will see it as not important.
Now to my dear fellow women, never decide to become totally unemployed simply because you got married and started having children.
Yes, children are very important and it is so worth it deciding to dedicate your whole life to them, but while at it, try and do something no matter how small to earn some income.
It will disadvantage you, dear woman, if you decide to depend solely on the man.
Try and earn a living on your own, no matter how difficult it may be; that constitutes empowerment.
Remember Proverbs 31. Woman, the Bible says she considers a field and buys it. If my understanding of this scripture is right, it means that the woman sees a piece of land somewhere and thinks I need to buy this, she actually goes into her coffers and buys it.
She may decide to discuss with her husband, but ultimately it depends on her to buy it. That is empowerment. Woman, you need to be empowered financially.
I understand that it is difficult during the time of childbirth, and when the children are young to be able to work as effectively as you can be but never decide that for that reason alone, you want to be a house wife
If you must be a housewife, I recommend you become a professional housewife, where you decide that your husband at least remit you regularly to prevent you going to him every now and then for even the slightest of need.
And that Twi proverb just came to mind, “A man is not a pillow for you to rest on.”
And to the men and husbands out there, you actually stand to gain if your wife is working.
It makes things easier for you and the children. The woman stands to be able to improve herself, and a knowledgeable woman brings a whole lot of value to the table.
An empowered wife, who can find? In drawing the family budget, put many factors into consideration.
Consider helping each other to stand on their feet financially; getting your finances right is another major ingredient to a happy home.
So as December and Christmas approach, make sure you have a family budget.

Hannah Awadzi (Mrs)
Senior Journalist (Communications Specialist)
Ghana News Agency (GNA)
Executive Director: Special Mothers Project
(Advocacy on cerebral palsy issues)

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