New Era (Windhoek)

12 December 2012

Namibia: Workers Prepared for January

Windhoek — Since December is the time for bonuses some people have learnt a lesson from past experience when they found the going tough following their no-expenses spared holidays.

However, some people who have experienced the so-called 'January blues' have come up with ingenious ways to deal with being hard up and near penniless, which affects many Namibians across the board in one way or the other, since there are school fees to be paid, new school uniforms to be bought, as well as many other expenses, including the usual household expenses.

The symptoms of this self-inflicted, money-related malaise include a zero bank account, an empty purse and high blood pressure, as well as flaring tempers irrespective of work status.

The 'January blues' strike in January leaving in its wake short-lived New Year's resolutions and spawn fly-by-night church-goers who seek divine intervention to take care of the school fees, food and municipal bills.

January is rough and it has become customary for many Namibians who find themselves financially comatose to attempt to dig their way out of their financial graves by resorting to micro-lenders and in so doing create a vicious cycle of endless need.

For Linus Fillemon, who works as a carpenter, last year January holds only bad memories, for he ended up going without food because he squandered his bonus on alcohol and entertaining friends as if there were no tomorrow.

"I squandered my money on alcohol when I went to the north to spend Christmas with my family, but this year I'm not going to repeat the same mistake," stressed Fillemon.

Fillemon says last year he ended up deep in debt after he approached his employer to help him with some money to sustain himself during the course of January, while he was waiting for his first pay cheque for 2012.

"This year I will leave at least N$300 under the mattress that will sustain me in January. I have learnt a hard lesson. I don't want to approach my employer to lend me money again," he said knowingly.

However, Fillemon is going to spend most of his bonus on his family in the north. He says even though he normally pays school fees, he intends to use the option of advanced payment from his 2012 bonus.

Lazarus Iipinge, a worker at Checkers told New Era the best way to spend a bonus is to divide it according to your basic needs. He said because the bonus is usually a large amount, people should always plan ahead in order to avoid the so-called 'January blues'.

Teopolina Haoses said since she is a mother, she will use her bonus to pay her children's school fees and their school supplies while it is still early, because school supplies are normally expensive in January.

After sorting out the needs of her three children, Haoses said, she plans to save some money that will help to sustain her family in January.

"I will also buy food and clothing for my grandmother, take my family out for some fun and enjoyment during the Christmas days and then save the rest," she said.

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