I hear that there are some who aren’t affected by the recession. I also hear that there are some who are making money from it. Must be nice.
As for me, I’m an employed human being – I work for someone who pays my salary. And they haven’t deemed it fit to increase my salary according to the inflation rate. This, I can completely understand especially because the cost of doing business has risen and, from the looks of things, is still rising. My organisation has an obligation first to its shareholders. And salary increases are a definite no-no because they will eat into the business profits.
So, left to my own devices, and to my salary that is now only worth a third of itself from a year ago, I have had to make some changes to limit the number of times I find myself in the land of the broke. Not that I’m not still broke, but at least I can deal with my broke-ness. The list below just sort of helps me ensure that
- I am not owing anybody
- I can put food on my table
- I can take myself to the places that matter
I won’t be surprised if many of you have had to make similar changes. Read the list and see if anything sounds familiar.
1. No Travel.
This one was pretty simple to stop because exchange rate. Would have been nice if we could spend Naira outside this country, then I would be happy to take my small naira and tender it for services, room and board. But no. Our naira cannot take me anywhere. Oh wait! I went to Niger (the country, not the state), and I was able to tender my naira there. But it was a day trip and so didn’t count. And here I am, at the end of 2016 with no holiday under my belt for the year. I did content myself with a weekend trip to Epe resort though and I have to say it was well enjoyed. So, maybe local travel has become the new international travel. At least for me.
2. No Shopping.
No new shoes, no new bags, no new clothes. Because I didn’t travel. I bought plenty of Ankara sha. And the number of modern-styled pieces in my wardrobe has significantly increased. But tailor prices are starting to really annoy me now. They are threatening to stop my rise to Ankara fame. How will you be sewing one small dress for 10k? On top of buying the fabric? Am I not better off going to buy ready made for 15 or 20k? This point is being reconsidered at the moment. Anyone who has better ideas (or a cheaper tailor), please send me a message.
3. Less Eating Out.
I wish I could have stopped this altogether but once in a while, I have to go and eat this particular rice that they sell at The Place and their peppered shrimp. Thunder fire that place. They’ve probably washed something into their food for me. Otherwise, I rarely eat out these days. I buy my indomie and eggs jeje and cook coloured rice without serenren. All na food, as long as I belle full.
4. No DSTV.
If I’m honest, this was the first one to go. It didn’t help that their subscription fee had risen to 14k for premium. First, I downgraded my subscription from premium to compact. Then I realised there was nothing to watch on compact. So I never renewed it after that. Got a message from DSTV this December saying ‘we miss you’ and I responded to say ‘is it me or my money that you miss?’ Of course, that was a waste of texting money, because I didn’t get a reply, but it didn’t occur to my ‘angry-because-I’m-Broke’ mind at the time. @DSTV, #bringbackmy4naira.
5. No Spontaneous or Unplanned trips to VI and beyond.
Because fuel money. I live on the mainland. One trip to Lekki and back and a quarter of my fuel tank just fizzles away. I’m like “Jesus is Lord”. At N145 per litre, I have no love for any place at the other end of the 3rd mainland bridge. So I limit myself to one trip to that side of town every two weeks. And only on a weekend day – preferably Sunday when there is absolutely no chance of traffic. Cos sitting in traffic on a trip I don’t need to make is like throwing N100 notes in the air on a windy day. It just means No More Turn Up. Sorry friends. This sister is on the hunt for savings.
6. No More Grocery Shopping in Supermarkets.
Those guys are just unarmed robbers. I had to dust my market slippers and start wearing them again o. And if you know how much I hate going to the market, then and only then will you understand how badly this recession has hit. Because you will go to those Shoprite places and by the time you have 5 items in your basket, the cash register is showing 15k! For what now? Please, I can buy 5 giant tangelo for N300. Can’t be paying thousands of naira per kilo. When things get better, I will reconsider. But for now, the market is my friend.
7. No More Mother Christmas.
Yes o. I have become tight-fisted. Not very proud of it, but it has become necessary. You see, as things have become tougher, people are asking more. And more people are asking. If only these people knew that I myself, I’m just short of asking, I who don’t like to borrow money. In addition to that, I’m now very diligent in chasing my debtors. Before, I would let them pay back in their own time because I was forming comfortable. These days? Sorry o. I chase so much now, that once they pay me, they don’t come back to borrow. They might be there thinking ‘Stupid bitch. Someone cannot even borrow money from you.’ But me, I’m thinking ‘Mission accomplished. So long sucker!’
8. Downgrade from Dry cleaners to Wash man.
Because those dry cleaning companies are just mad. The type of money they are charging someone, I can’t even mention it out of shame. You’ll just think I’m being proud. So, when my sister introduced her wash man to me, and I saw the price per item, I was like “Praising the Loooooooorrrrrrd, always”. Now, Jeans that I used to wear four times or more before washing (don’t judge me. You know you do it too), now I can vex and throw it in the laundry basket after the first wear. Like a boss!
9. No Road Rage.
Or dragging of road. Hmm. Anybody that knows me knows I’m a danfo driver in fancy clothes. And for this reason, my car sometimes gets scrapes, cuts and bruises while I’m there refusing to give some idiot chance. But you should see me now. I’m very calm. You want to enter? Feel free. You want to overtake, in fact I will pull over so you can pass. If you want to take the road with you sef, carry go. Because I can’t be spending unnecessary money doing body work for my car. I’m determined that no weapon fashioned against my headlamps or rear lights shall prosper!
10. No Treats.
I like to treat myself for many reasons. When I’m stressed, when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’ve achieved something I was working towards. But lately, I’ve been stricter. I’ve been craving ice cream for the past 4 months now, and my neck and shoulders and back have been aching from all the slouching over my laptop at work. Yet, I have managed to stay away from Hans & Rene and have stubbornly refused to succumb to my need for a deep tissue massage. You’ll find me ‘unlooking’ when I drive or walk by those places that I know I have a weakness for. I’ve even done more movie watching at home (streaming and shamelessly buying bootleg copies – don’t judge) than going to the cinema. And you can’t blame me. Since I don’t have DSTV, finding movies to watch has become such a difficult task.
Anyway, these are some of the ways that the recession has changed my life. I know that for some, recession is just a word. But I like to think that mine is the plight of many a Nigerian, and I don’t even have it nearly as bad as the majority. I’m still looking for ways to cure this perpetual broke-ness, so any new thoughts are welcome. What other ways has the recession changed your life?