The Herald (Harare)

25 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Let's Spend Responsibly This Festive Holiday

editorial

Today we celebrate Christmas, a day that is associated with feasting and general enjoyment among Zimbabweans and across nations. This is the time that families come together both in urban and rural areas to share the trials and tribulations of the year.

Some celebrate the day in towns and cities while others travel to their rural areas to be with their folk.

Cows and goats are slaughtered during this period while beer and drinks flow in abundance. It is that time of the year when many people drown their sorrows and spend money like there is no tomorrow.

There is nothing wrong in spending, but there is everything wrong in spending money without discipline. We have seen, from previous experience people spending money like they are a bottomless pit, but come the beginning of the year when school fees beckon, they move from one bank to the other and from one house to the other borrowing money to pay for their children's school fees.

This is where discipline in spending money during the festive period becomes very important. Let people enjoy, for it is only for a few days, but they should do it bearing in mind the demands of 2013.

Some clever people have already transferred money for fees and bought all the uniforms and the tuck for their children in boarding schools. This is good in that their hearts will not beat fast when they go on a spending spree during the festive period.

Indeed children, relatives and friends need to be spoiled and there is nothing bad doing that as long as the money is there.

But it must be borne in mind that when schools open, children expect their fees to have been paid so that they can go to school.

They will not excuse you for failing to pay their fees just because you spoiled them stupid during the festive period. To them that is not an excuse at all.

It is surprising that every year people complain they are stone broke in January and this seems to happen every year.

We would have thought like the old saying that goes: "once beaten twice shy" people learn from the scars of the previous year.

It all comes down to planning. We believe families need to sit down when they have received their salaries and bonuses to plan how they would spend the money.

They should obviously set aside some money for celebrating Christmas Day and New Year's Day, but the bulk of their money should take care of their children's schooling needs.

Once this done, then the crates of beer and soft drinks can be bought in abundance while money can be splashed on the rural folk like confetti. Yes, Christmas comes once in a year, but for many people they have experienced countless such days to warrant any excitement.

Lending houses always make a killing in January as people flood them to borrow money, especially for school fees. Some people have lost household property after using it as collateral to borrow and failing to repay the loans within the agreed period.

Let us not always be excited during this period to the extent of forgetting there is tomorrow with its demands. Let us enjoy with our families, relatives and friends, but we should always remember to do so responsibly.

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