Party with What You Have
It’s rainy season in Kampala. I believe that the rain has an agenda against me, because well everything is always about me. What makes me think that you ask? Well it is obvious really; on weekdays, it rains at 6-8AM/4-7PM, as though life depends on it then there is not even a chance of a drop of rain over the weekend. If that isn’t wickedness, I honestly don’t know what is. I don’t know about you, but I prefer being in the comfort of my bed while it is raining to moving through the rain. And here’s the thing – it’s not even the getting drenched in the rain that I hate so much, it’s the getting splashed by unbothered drivers with muddy water probably with all sorts of diseases. (Let’s table the medical insurance discussion for another day).
It’s funny though how people react to the rainy season. In my case, it’s almost like I am experiencing it for the first time. I seem surprised by it despite the fact that it occurs more than once in a year. I still don’t have a rain coat so that means the forecast for my life is high chances of getting drenched in the rain and a possibility of getting splashed by muddy water. So the real question is, why don’t I have a rain coat to protect me during the rainy season? As a firm believer in signs, what more sign than rain could I be waiting for to get a raincoat?
Unfortunately, I do this in financial life as well. For example, Easter weekend is an annual affair. The dates might change but I know that every year, between March and April, there is a long Easter break from Good Friday to Holy Monday, therefore if I want to have fun and not end up with more month than money, it only makes sense to plan for the Easter break. My birthday is also in April, and no that date is a constant, so if I also plan celebrating it, I need to put that into consideration when I am making my budget.
I know it seems like an eye rolling affair when you hear the ‘plan for your money’ speech, but it works. The calendar for the year is available at the beginning of the year, so I have known that the Easter weekend is in April since January. My birthday is in April on the same date (though it wasn’t always – that’s a very long story I won’t get into) so I have known about that for a while. 40 Days over 40 Smiles Foundation is making 5 years this year, and I found out about the fundraising dinner in early February. Blankets and Wine for this quarter was announced in February as well so I have known about all these events for a while.
What excuse then do I have to spend all my money at once, and go through days of choosing between transport and lunch, yet I have had all this information for a while? Holidays, birthdays, weddings, events you name it shouldn’t leave you broke (because that shouldn’t be your normal). Remember the key is not to eliminate fun activities from your life, it is to plan your life in a way that you can have fun without regretting why you did. Here are some ways to do that;
- Identify the functions in a month/quarter/ year: A lot of the events are known from the beginning of the year, so make a list of events that you are interested in attending. Make a budget of what you need in order to attend an event and adjust your spending habits to accommodate. A lot of these events are one-offs so your spending adjustments are only temporary.
- It’s okay not to attend everything: Even though it is not possible to know about all functions in advance and plan for them, you need to remember that you don’t have to attend every event. You are not the host or the guest of honor, so difficult as it may sound, the event will go on just well if you don’t attend. Besides, we all know that’s why Snapchat was invented. Attend online and you’ll be surprised when you don’t die. If an event is more regular say quarterly, you don’t have to attend all the events in the year, simply choose one or two. Even though they are not the same, the concept is, so it is worth saving your financial situation over.
- Be disciplined: Attending the occasional last minute event is okay, but it should be within your budget. If you decide that you will attend two events this month, stick to that. You should also indicate how much you should spend at each event. Kampala being the life of the party, it is very easy to go home at 6AM after attending an event the day before with nothing but sheer will and determination (because it doesn’t have a money price).
- Hang out with people who feel the same way about you: In case it isn’t obvious, I am referring to positive feelings. If people care about you, they will take care of you. if you are the one always covering bills when you hang out, there might be a sign. Granted not everyone in your circle will have the same income level, but people that care about themselves share, no matter how little they have.
- Don’t attend functions with extra cash: The decision to stay longer at a function or go for a follow up plan is influenced by how much money you have, and the longer you stay the more you spend.
Praying for the strength to follow at least one of these, because I am a riyo culprit. I am also however tired of being broke. Let’s do this!