“SLAYING” IN RECESSION
It is no longer news that the nation is in a recession.
While I can understand the fact that many are reluctant to accept the fact that some things should change in their spending pattern (inertia and denial being the twin culprits) I refuse to understand how on earth it is possible to experience a reduction in income and a soaring increase in the cost of the most basic of household items and still expect that you can keep spending and living the way you have always done with no catastrophic results.
Truth is that for many families, something has changed and the earlier we acknowledge that the faster we can start making the necessary practical adjustments. This however depends on how wise you have been in times past and what you have tidily tucked away as savings. Do not deceive yourself if you have next to nothing kept apart. Make a decision to get practical and to become wise.
I suggest a two-pronged approach – start thinking of ways to increase income and at the same time device ways and means of trimming your expenses. Starting with the latter, I humbly propose the following especially for the ladies.
Let that Aso Ebi pass, especially if it is not the usual affordable Ankara fabric. Even that for some, (depending on your budget and financial standing) should still pass. It adds up, you know, especially when you consider the fact that the cost of sewing usually can triple the cost of the fabric. What seemingly looks like a harmless ₦3,000 expenditure suddenly grows fangs and teeth in this manner:
Ankara fabric ₦3,000.00
Stoning & blinging ₦3,000.00
Head tie to match ₦3,000.00
Makeup artist/head gear designer ₦4,000.00
Shoes/Sandals & purse to match ₦15,000 .00
You can see from above how a seemingly meagre ₦3,000 expenditure has grown into a ₦34,000.00 capital project.
Let us be real ladies. We usually don’t start out planning to spend that much but there is just a way it creeps in on us. For instance, you plan to just spend ₦1,000 making a simple “funkified” version of our traditional easy to sew Iro & Buba then you suddenly realize a few other girlfriends attending the same party are going to town with curvy designs complete with all the frills and thrills and that familiar voice tells you why not? That urge to show off a bit comes on you… after all, they say if you have it, you flaunt it. Pronto! Caution gets thrown to the wind and the diva in you sits high on the throne, and you get convinced to “slay” a bit, surely, nothing can be wrong with just a little bit of “slaying”.
So, you excitedly add some extras to your design. The bling-bling and the stoning to just enhance the fabric and stand you out a little bit. You get my drift?
Next, you convince yourself that a new weave is an expensive project, so you settle for a matching head gear or better still and cheaper still, you decide to buy the new reigning queenly turban and there goes a few thousands again. Having gone this far, you decide there should be no “slaying” in half measures – after all what is worth doing is worth doing well. You go the whole hog and add the lovely chandelier ear rings with a pair of strappy sandals and a matching purse, all in the same colour tone – too irresistible to let go.
Trust the still small voice of fashion to remind you of that small make-up studio that is just by the corner of the street that leads just up to the exit gate out of your neighbourhood, the cost of that make over is worth the effect on your looks you conclude and you are indeed right!
So, you arrive at the party, giving the chief celebrant a run for her money, “slaying” in all directions and getting those looks of approval and glances of admiration we all so love to get thrown our way. The party and compliments trading last for two hours and you are back home to reality: It is time to account for the shortfall in your budget and you realize with a bang that you have once again lost control and gone overboard in your spending.
Even though the ₦3,000 for the Aso Ebi Ankara fabric came from your ₦10,000 savings from your last salary, the cost of sewing it literally took you back to ground zero. You’re back to having not a single dime in savings after being in gainful employment for one full year!
The ₦3,000 you threw in for the “blinging” and “stoning ” came from your son’s lesson teacher’s salary that will be due for payment in a few days’ time.
The lovely scrappy sandals and purse to match and the glittering chandelier ear rings were funded from the monthly house-keeping allowance and the thoughts of how to cover up without an obvious drop in the family’s standard of living makes you break out in a cold sweat.
Just as you are wondering why you always do this to yourself and questioning your rationale for agreeing to buy the affordable Aso Ebi Ankara fabric, your younger sister walks in to tell you JAMB forms are out and she will be setting out tomorrow to pay for the entrance exams into the Nigerian universities. You ask how sure she is because you heard over the news a few days back that the examination date is likely to be shifted due to an anticipated delay in the delivery of the application forms. The make-over was actually paid for from the money your sister kept with you for the purchase of the application forms for the examination. You were sure your next salary would have been paid before the forms are out for sale. How very wrong you were!
The euphoria of the party instantly disappears. While the celebrant is congratulating herself for a wonderful event, all you have as memorabilia of that event are the embarrassment of debts unpaid and the misery associated with working so hard for a pay and having nothing in tangible assets to show for it
The lessons here are:
- The need to always be in charge of your expenditure. No sentiments. It is good to “slay” but ask yourself, “at what cost”?
- Draw up a budget, keep to it and always resist the urge to let your guards down and “go to town”.
- Be innovative with substitutes. She could have used a pair of sandals and purse she already has even if in neutral colours and still look good.
- Make up your mind to live within your means. The stress and regrets associated with not doing so are never ever worth it.
Truth is we all have been at this point at some time. I have been under pressure to look good and I overlooked good financial judgement in the process. I confess to “slaying” men and women at costs that were mercifully manageable. Now I know better. Please feel free to share your “slaying” experiences. Remember to include the costs too. We ain’t gonna judge you, we just wanna learn in the spirit of sisterhood. So long!