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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Law of Averages

Submitted by Ben Sholes

So, roughly a month ago now we started encouraging the Fulani men to consider using a budget system.  It quickly had an initial impact of showing them how much they were actually spending on the items they decided to track.  However, the cool thing about budgeting is that it gets more effective over time (if you have the discipline and the right techniques).

As of the last Fulani session, we finally had enough spending data to start taking a look at trending analysis.  Across two spending categories, we were able to take weekly totals over a month and derive an average of what they "should" be spending on those categories (from a purely historical perspective).  Today, we got to see the results of using those "average" numbers, and they were surprising.  Not only had the men used their numbers to try to limit their spending, there were cases where they were purposely changing their habits to "beat" their average number. A good example of this is one of the men consolidated his normal twice a week trip to get food to a once a week trip thus cutting his food transport costs by half.. He said it required moving money around from other purchases, but he understood that ultimately he would be spending less money overall. Can you say, "I think he gets thepoint"?

It will take a lot more time, discipline, and experience to perfect juggling finances for these guys.  But, I'd say they're on the right track.  Great job, fellas.

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