Hello! It's THRIFTY THURSDAY!
I believe that for us to have more resources available to us, we don't only need to increase our earning capacity and create other streams of income. I believe we also need to reduce our spending and track every expense we incur as Smart Stewards.
In our part of the world; West Africa, Nigeria, to be precise. We have this habit of following the bandwagon. Doing things exactly the way others do. This is immaterial of our financial status. We have the penchant of conforming to the norms without questioning whether they are empowering or not. Especially as regards our spending on ceremonies and parties like birthdays, anniversaries, namings, burials, weddings etc
One particular rule should hold sway for a Smart Steward - the rule of 'nice to do' and 'must do' (absolute necessity). Oh yes! We are back to that. N2H(nice to have) and MH(must have). This time around, it's N2D(nice to do) and MD(must do). Lol!
Take for instance naming ceremonies. Some of us go all out, spending thousands of money to buy a cow/ram, hire a live band, rent a hall to celebrate the naming of their child. Sometimes, the very first child. Probably because of pressure from parents or family. This need not be so.
A larger part of this fund(especially if you have surplus though some people don't) could be invested for the child. It could be used to buy shares, landed property or just used to open an account in the name of the child. Who says heaven will fall if you do a parlour party? If you don't kill a cow/ram? Or if you give out small chops and drinks to family and friends after the ceremony?
My hubby and I decided before marriage that we will only inculcate those beliefs and empowering habits from our respective families; to adopt in our homes. We didn't kill a ram, goat or cow for the naming of any of our three kids. Instead, we made sure we opened an account in their names. A certain amount is paid into it every month and we survive on the remaining. People have come to see us as being stingy. Guess what? That's their opinion. Lol! Those accounts had helped us a lot when paying their school fees. I bless God loads of people are getting smarter. Are you?
Wedding Reception/Ceremony: This is another ceremony where we go overboard. We want to do it the way others do theirs. We want to make a statement. We need not have a society wedding with all the thrills and frills if we can't really afford it. And guess what? Even if you can, you don't have to if you are a Smart Steward. Really, a lot of the thrills and frills are just N2H but not MH. They don't determine the bliss in or the lifespan of the marriage.
Simple is classy! As a Smart Steward, you can opt for a simple registry wedding with a church blessing and reception if you so wish. Remember, WEDDING is just a day's affair while MARRIAGE is for a lifetime. A lot of couples started their married life with outstanding debts to pay the photographer, the musician, the baker, the aso-ebi maker etc. This causes stress and anxiety in their homes and make for a bad foundation.
Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations: I can go on and on about this. Let's check out 'Children's 1st birthdays. This is a common phenomenon in our society. You actually have to ask if the party is for the party hungry parents and their friends or for the 'poor' 12 month old baby. Parents gather to drink and party while the child is very grumpy, cranky, stressed up and crying. Totally overwhelmed by the number of strange faces staring and cooing over him or her.
Don't get me wrong! My hubby and I actually did for our first son/child. We just wanted to do what other parents do without actually thinking it through. 1st Birthdays certainly fall under N2D and definitely not under MD. And for my two other two wonderful kids, your guess is as good as mine!
In as much as I find it necessary and expedient to glorify God on my birthday, for crying out loud, he keeps me every blessed day! I might as well praise and celebrate my birthday every blessed day. Dates are just numbers! Using them as an opportunity for a party where you spend and overspend is just not smart. I know some people that just have to celebrate in a grand style. Especially milestones. Niiice. Very nice. But must you? Invest that money. Let it work for you.
"Let's practice the principle of DELAYED GRATIFICATION. A time will come when you can splurge on yourself without a care in the world. Go places you have always wanted to go. A time when your dividends from your investments will begin to foot the bills! " Those are my take home nuggets from a training given by Mrs Ibukun Awosika, the first female President of the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria.
Same principle applies to every other ceremony we may be contemplating. Check out your reasons. The 'whys'. Is it because of the 'Joneses'? Do you want to because that's what's expected of you or because you need to? Are you working with a belief that( if thoroughly scrutinized) won't stand the test of 'MD'? Why don't we be smart and invest in our future? Why don't we stop borrowing from our future to finance our present?#SmartStewardsThink
On a daily basis, we feature words of financial wisdom from different Smart Stewards members and sometimes from Guest Contributors. You'd be glad reading them. Enjoy!
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