How to make it through hard financial times

Below are simple tips and tricks of surviving ‘in this economy’

In Summary

• We are in the trenches of inflation and must tighten our belts

• Forget the Yolo movement, we are in the Hunger Games now!

Many a conversation nowadays comes with the grumble ‘in this economy’. For instance, a group of friends cannot talk about making plans for a getaway, a shopping excursion or outing without one wondering how to possibly do that “in this economy”.

This year has been tough on many financially. Personally, 2022 has been the hardest fiscal year for me in the last decade. I am confident that like every ebb and flow, this season, too, shall pass. Given the major instances that have rocked the globe this year, it is apparent that the harsh economic times are not just for me. I have heard too many discussions or conversations on the subject. In fact, there are even rumours of a looming global recession.

Because of the Russia-Ukraine war, prices of wheat, fuel and gas shot up earlier this year. Consequentially, there has been an inflation of every other basic commodity in the market. One can hardly buy vegetables at the market without gasping at the new prices of items. Even the mama mbogas will shrug at you indifferently and claim, “Mafuta yamepanda”, meaning their new prices are a result of the high fuel prices, which have affected the transport costs and inevitably increased the vegetable prices.

As the default shopper in my family, I am familiar with the cost of most household goods, from cooking supplies to baby products. I became aware of how prices of goods would change in between my trips to the supermarket. The price of an item would increase as soon as the old stock was cleared. Sale prices are merely the original prices of items, which currently sell at new and inflated costs.

As such, I had to devise smarter ways of navigating through these tough fiscal times. I am sure most of you have your own survival tips. However, I have summarised some overlooked and underestimated things that could affect one’s budget or disposition.

1. Avoid the shops when you can

The days of being lured into the shops because of the crazy offers and promotions have been buried under the rubble in the aftermath of the Russian-Ukraine war. There are no sales, no offers that are worthy of you veering off your budget in these tough economic times. Sales and promo ads are a marketing gimmick to get you in the door and a guarantee that your bank account will have far less zeros by the time you leave the shop.

2. Make treats at home

Families often like to go out and enjoy treats that are delicious and extravagant occasionally. However, the current situation has most of us clinging to the safety of our homes as we cannot bear to put ourselves in temptations' way in this economy. I have become wiser in the last few months and understood that treats are still treats when you make them at home. They taste the same (if not better) and cost a fraction of the price! Baked goods such as pizzas and cakes are a treat for the whole family and cut down on kids’ requests of going out.

3. Take a break from the treat-yourself mentality

As a previous subscriber to the Yolo movement, I have come to understand that you might only live once but the consequences of the choices you make can last a lifetime. Okay a lifetime might be a little of an exaggeration, but we all know that a few months of absolute brokenness does feel like a lifetime. Either way, since we are in the trenches of inflation, there is no room for the ‘treat yourself’ philosophy. We are in the Hunger Games now!

4. Remind yourself of the sacrifice

It is important to be mentally aware that the current situation is temporary. It might be hard times, but they will pass eventually. It is important to remind ourselves frequently to avoid falling into despair. Just think of it as a time that you sacrificed a lot so you could have everything in the end. Just like every storm that has ever raged before, remind yourself that this, too, shall pass.

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