Whenever January is around the corner, there is a lot of panic and tension.
Many people get anxious due to financial predicaments associated with this time of the year.
End of year festivities such as Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day usually cause many to overspend.
This is the time of the year that family members demand for new clothes; meals they rarely eat at home and outings, besides the money and gifts they send to parents and guardians back in the villages.
All these demands call for enormous expenditures which leave huge financial wounds.
I have seen cases of gender-based violence and family breakups as a result of breadwinners failing to provide during this time.
This January being an election month has made things even worse. Ugandans have already elected their president, MPs and some local council leaders. It is mixed with the economic havoc presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To my dismay, Uganda is always on tension before, during and after elections, and forecasts reveal that after elections, prices usually go high due to financial distress caused by too much money in circulation.
What should be done?
People need to learn from past experience. For those who go through financial crises, it would be a good practice to learn from previous experiences.
It is failure to learn from these experiences that makes January a month of financial hopelessness. Do not spend as if the world is coming to an end. Remember that tomorrow exists and save some money for it.
Adopt a method of jointly soliciting commodities prior to the festive season. Our forefathers usually planned ahead of the festivals by forming groups.
Each member would contribute what could rescue them during the festive period.
They would contribute towards the purchase of cattle, goats, sheep, produce and joint finances. This would shield them from the pressures that raise during the special days.
In the contemporary world, it’s advisable to stock foods such as rice, millet, sorghum and maize which can be sold to raise money for the festive season and survive happily with them in the subsequent periods.
Save with schemes such as Saccos that can offer financial assistance during hard times.
This will save breadwinners who always find it hard to put food on the table.
Some resort to acquiring loans from money lenders who end up taking their collaterals.
Invest in small and medium enterprises to ensure continuous cash inflows even during crises.
Every family should start a home-based business or initiative that aims at increasing earnings as well as reducing expenditure.
Family members have got to learn skills such as producing liquid soap, making charcoal, manufacturing fire lighting sticks and practice kitchen gardening, among other initiatives.
In conclusion, people should learn the art of financial discipline and also plan for the future.
There is no excuse for crying in January when you are aware it is always a period of financial misery.
Lastly, it is pertinent to see opportunities during crises.
Mr Jonah Kiberu is the director at Gateway Research Centre Uganda