Let me start by qualifying what I mean by being broke!
In this case I take it to mean, “Overdrawn”, or “in the red”, that is the books are not balancing. One becomes broke mainly due to going beyond one’s means in expenditure. The desires of the heart are not covered by one’s income thus
there is a tendency to go into debt to be able to procure such things. In my country, we have official cycles during which the majority of people become broke. This usually occurs after the festive season, early January. Such phenomenon has been coined, “the January disease” and it afflicts many people at the same time such that it could qualify for a pandemic.
What usually causes the January disease starts around the month of November as this is the time when most people receive their 13th check, in the middle of a festive frenzy. Without much discipline one is lured into spending this windfall on things that look like necessities yet they are far from being that. It is the overwhelming desires that would have been shelved during the year as one hopes to finally be able to afford such luxuries come bonus time. Coupled with wide bombardment from all marketing angles in the media and on the shop fronts, one is enticed to plunge in, oblivious of the effect this will have on the rest of the basket of needs. Some people become wild and go on a joy ride so to speak as they partake in bingeing, drinking away their hard earned cash. Men, who could not hitch women during the year, suddenly become very attractive as they splash currency around thereby attracting hordes of women whose sole purpose is to get at the cash. A fool and his money soon part!
Our schools generally open in the second week of January for the first term. During this time parents are expected to pay school fees as well buy new uniforms for their children. Prices of commodities shoot up at this time and the cost of living rises. This is the time when one finds that they cannot pay for these necessities. The disease strikes and the budget goes into negative. The loan sharks surface and this is their busiest time as they offer loans at exorbitant rates to the helpless parents. Those that blew up their earnings
during the festive season find themselves in this deep hole where it is not easy to climb out except by divine providence. It is really a difficult time, and many relationships falter at this time as people find it hard to survive each day. Those with the means develop a cold heart as if to punish their wayward relatives and friends. The purchases made in November/December stand there as white elephants as the owners battle with survival.
It is not a good feeling to be broke. I’ve been there before when I decided to borrow money to buy a car whose cost was beyond my means. But I had dreamt of this car for a number of years and so felt justified in my actions. So I went ahead and borrowed. But what happened after that was a series of events that made it so difficult for me to pay back the loan while at the same time paying all my bills as well as school fees for my children. I went into a crisis cycle that would move from month to month as I lived from hand to mouth, having more month at the end of my salary for several months. I was broke.
This is such a painful experience that I have made the following resolutions going forward:
· I have decided to accept the fact that I can actually do without certain luxuries –I need to trim down a bit.
· I will not go into debt again. I think it is best to save and wait for one’s dream to manifest rather than paying it forward.
· I have started budgeting and recording my expenses so that I know where my money is going so that I can plan effectively.
· The idea of a second income is enticing and I have decided to try building a solid internet business in my spare time. I have joined SFI and have started working at building it up so as to earn a second income and avoid going broke.
· SFI is perfect as it is free to join initially and does not require a large investment to scale up. It is perfect for someone just starting out.
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Mosline Farawu is a creative writer who likes to share her thoughts and observations . It is my hope that many will find healing through such writings.