Nigeria has gone through a rough patch in 2016. We officially entered a recession and experienced one of the worst shortages of foreign exchange. The Naira took many hits and plunged far below the dollar. A lot of expectations have not been met and many that I know have experienced difficult moral situations trying to respond to actions of the current government. It would be a shame to go through the same in 2017 so I have come up with a little manual on how to enjoy the new year with no stress or moral dilemma.
This recession manual is about saving. The recession means that our government no longer has the spending power it used to have. It also means that there will be less money that will trickle down from the biggest spender in Nigeria. Saving and cutting down on expenses can save you a lot of stress. Here are ideas on what you can cut out of your life for peace of mind in 2017:
- Side lovers: See, I am not here to judge anybody. It is your life and only you can decide how you want to live it. But facts are facts. Side lovers are a major source of expenses and many people, men especially, do not realize how much more they spend with each additional lover they have. You can negotiate with your main partner or wife. You can say no to them especially when you have been together for long. But once that new side lover opens their mouth to ask for something, you are falling over yourself (like investors falling over themselves to come into Buhari’s Nigeria) to please them. It is not your fault. It is nature of forbidden love (or sex). Consider sticking to your wife, girlfriend or partner in 2017 and see how much you will save on movie tickets, popcorn, data for Skype or FaceTime, nails, weaves, clothes, gifts, and even fuel. As one who has recently become monogamous, I can swear by this and how much savings is involved in it. I do not know how you are going to break off from them — as a child of God that is not my area of specialty. Some people I know have pretended that they found Jesus and told their lovers that they didn’t want to keep living in sin. Others I know have told their side lovers (especially ones they were financing) that they have become bankrupt and those side lovers who were there mostly for the money disappeared. The danger of this is that if you have a side lover that has caught deep feelings, then this excuse cannot work. In that case, I sympathize with you.
- Pretentious fruits: This is a thing in the big cities — Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt. Seedless grapes, kiwi and the like which are imported into Nigeria, cost a fortune. These pretentious fruits are hardly even ever fresh because of the distance they have had to travel. Pretentious fruits are often involved in (a) above because one often needs this with side lovers. If you cut out side lovers it is easier to convince your main partner or wife that these overpriced fruits are not really necessary and that it is far better to buy whatever fruit is in season in Nigeria. Fruits in season are fresher and often come from around, so you will be buying healthy fruits but also patronizing Nigerian farmers which will in turn grow our economy. #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira
- Weddings: If you have done or helped organize [or even just attended] a wedding in Nigeria, you will agree with me that if you are on a budget, no matter what you do, people will still find something to complain about. Unless you give out iPads and Smartphones at your wedding, people will complain about the color of your jollof rice [and say you were stingy with the tomatoes even now that the price of tomatoes has dropped] or the fact that the meat was too tough or too tender [hence overcooked or already going bad when it was boiled], or that the DJ was probably a jealous ex of the bride [and thus played the worst music to ruin her wedding], or that the takeaway packs were too small. Something. So don't stress yourself. Also, if you have been invited to a wedding, do not feel pressured to buy the too-expensive ashoebi. Buy the couple a gift and if they are really your friends, they will forgive you for not being able to indulge in their extortion.
- Walking and car pooling: I know how the people most ashamed and tormented by signs of poverty, are poor people. Poor people are afraid to be seen trekking. Poor people are afraid to ask for things, before somebody will abuse them and call them long throat. Rich people are not afraid to take a walk. I remember once I was taking a walk some people saw me and said poverty was worrying me and I was trekking up and down in Abuja. So I stopped taking walks pending when I would become rich. That has not yet happened but I am trusting in my prayers this holiday season. My point is, don't be like me. Sometimes, walk. It is healthy. And you get to see your city in a way most people never see the city. If you have a car, sometimes see if someone is going your way so they don't have to use their car so that they will also feel free to offer you a ride another time. That way you cut costs.
- Beans: Look, I know the stigma that beans has. I know that if you have visitors in Nigeria and you offer them beans, that will be the beginning of foul rumors about how you have fallen from grace and you are so poor that you offer visitors beans. But see, beans is nutritious. It is tasty. It stays in the stomach for a long time. It is cheap. There is no plastic beans. Don’t allow the devil use rumor mongers to stop you from saving money. God will judge rumor mongers. Beans also helps with weigh loss if you eat more of it and cut out the heavy carbohydrates and starch. Just make sure to balance with vegetables that are in season.
I pray that as you make those phone calls cutting off those side lovers, God will meet you at the point of your needs in 2017 and cushion the effect of the recession.