Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
WITH the expenses of the festive season and the rising cost of living, in general, leaving us broke, the harsh economic reality is starting to rear its ugly head on people’s lives and many of us are looking for ways to save the little that we have as the New Year rolls around.
The old adage says, “Once bitten, twice shy” but what I have learned over the years is that one thing we learn from the previous year when we are in January, is that we never learn.
It is against such a background that an escape plan from the clutches of bankruptcy is needed.
Some of the savings made throughout 2021 were blown away in extravagant fashion with wanton expenditure on wants, a situation that has left many surviving on a shoe-string budget and feeding off scraps.
Well, that is an issue for another day, but as we go deeper into January, the so-called “January disease” also deepens as well and one has to conjure up ways to survive the yearly scourge.
This week, we take a nosedive into ways that Bulawayo residents prescribed as money-saving strategies after wanton spending especially the week between last year’s Christmas and this year’s New Year’s Day.
Chronicle Showbiz took to the streets of Bulawayo to find out how people are surviving and what are some of the ways they have to alleviate January disease as school fees, rentals, debts, and everything in between is right in their face.
One thing is for sure, it is a cumbersome endeavour trying to pick the brains of people who are trying to make ends meet, but find the going tough.
One Nkulumo Banda from Emthunzini said getting a piggy bank is the way to go this January.
“This January, I’m getting myself a piggy just to throw in some coins. I mean, life is tough out here and one has to save the little bit he gets even though we live under hand-to-mouth circumstances. A piggy bank is a must-get indeed otherwise, the pity party continues,” he said.
The demand for piggy banks has left locksmiths racing against time to deliver so as to make a killing under these trying times. People as far as South Africa and Europe have also felt the pinch of the January disease and want in on the affordable piggy banks.
January is not a time to feast and be merry, but calls for outright financial discipline is what another Bulawayo resident prescribed for fellow Zimbos.
“I have downgraded my TV package as I have realised that even though I have access to hundreds of channels, I barely watch a quarter of them so why not save money through downgrading? Instead of having all the channels which I seldom watch, I have resolved to just subscribe for the ones that I watch the most and it seems to be working like a charm,” said Jerry Sibanda from Kingsdale.
Wise waters or booze as many would have it has been fingered as one of the things people extravagantly spend a lot on during the festive season and one Timothy Ushewokunze has resolved to downscale on this January.
“In December, I was always wasted and I’m now suffering the effects of irresponsible spending. This has led me to make a decision. This January, I’m going to do a dry month. So, I’m ditching the bottle for a month or at least till I get back to my feet. This will mean more time for me to hustle in a sober state so my message is let’s sober up this January and work hard. Before long, January disease will be in hindsight,” laughed the middle-aged Timothy.
Miss Jackie Nhongo said takeaways will cease to make up part of her table for both financial and health reasons this January.
“I know that I’m a fast-food lover, but for purposes of saving money, I will prepare a home-cooked meal and take it to work. I surely need to avoid takeaway temptation if this is to work. I realised that my habit of going to the coffee shop time and again was draining my resources too so this time, I will try making my own at work or switch to something a little bit cheaper to boost my coffers,” is how she would make her stance.
When Collin Gwebu was about to board home, he told Chronicle Showbiz that he usually drives, but now, he has opted to commute as a way to improvise.
“I do not usually commute home, but I must admit, this is way cheaper and affordable than using my own vehicle. This has made it possible for me to keep my head afloat. Having my car breaking down and I having to leave it at home has been a blessing in disguise as I’m now saving some money when I board a kombi.
“Very soon, we’ll have to pay fees, rentals and these two are enough reason to go through this,” said Gwebu.
In times like these, a planner with a financial head is needed and Diana Mpofu considered herself one.
“As women, we are planners and we need to help our spouses draw a budget to see us through these trying times. We should look at our budgeting in general. You may be surprised at how much better off you could be if you reviewed your income and expenses by drawing up a budget plan. This will help you take note of your spending habits.
“People should focus on the needs and ease a bit on the luxury for now, at least until things pick up a bit,” said Mpofu.
January is arguably the worst financial month of the year and sometimes, people do not recover from it throughout the year.
People need to have an escape route out of a seemingly sticky situation. With the January disease rife, what is your concoction or remedy to stay free from this malady? Let’s share money-saving tips and help each other as the month progresses. Maybe 2022 will be a happy year after all. – @eMKlass_49
Article Source: The Chronicle