Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Get on a budget with Kerron Clarke's BudgetLeaf

Published:Monday | September 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Creating a budget and sticking to it is something that is more easily said than done, but through her own struggle with keeping on top of her finances, Kerron Clarke, has created a book that helps us keep track of our own with BudgetLeaf.

Clarke went on her own after completing a degree in graphic design/visual communication at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She found that she was having difficulty managing her money, as she would pay her bills and then halfway through the month, she did not know where the cash went.

"I started to try and make a list of my expenses on pieces of paper but I found that when it came up to month when trying to find all that paper and follow up was a bit difficult. So I said to myself, 'Kerron you are good at graphics you can develop a better system than this' and I did," she said.

She designed a book and printed it solely for her benefit. At first, it highlighted just how poorly she was managing her money. In the first month, she saw that she spent $15,000 not only over her budget, but her income.

"I didn't even know where the money came from, but I know that I was spending it," she admitted. This allowed her to do a reality check and because the book asks for detailed spending, she knew just where she was spending excessively and tried to make the necessary adjustments.

Soon her friends were asking her for copies of the book and then Clarke decided to make a business of it. The book had helped her to get her finances in order and allowed her to budget properly so that she could live within her means, debt free. Understanding how to budget and how to manage one's expenses is something that everyone needs to learn.

Clarke had never studied accounting, in fact, she admits that she had not been business-minded. So while she has always been artistic, having a passion for art and drawing which led her to graphic designing, did not exclude her from being organised in this respect.

"I am so not an organised person," she said laughing, but admits to being a person who is always working towards self-development.

She would not say that she grew up poor, but her family was not upper class. There were times that she would have to use what she had and stretch it in order to meet her needs as well as to give her offering every Sunday at church.

"No matter how small the money was, I needed to make sure I had an offering every Sunday. Daddy saw to that. He taught me that discipline, because he was a God-fearing man."

Eventually, Clarke wants to see BudgetLeaf in schools, because she believes children should learn how to manage their money at an early age. The earlier the better. Her book is compact, with green design, and can be slipped in almost any bag.

Clarke hopes for her book to help individuals to better monitor their income so that they can live a content, debt-free life.

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