Credit Crunch

Yesterday, I was a royal mess. My head was spinning after I left the bank and no amount of walking in the hot sun and dusty streets would help me calm down. I had just banked half of my salary and had an expenditure that would fit about 90% of what was left and that would leave me broke for the rest of the month. And the rest of the month is 18 working days and 4 weekends. If you’re counting the four to five working days it takes a cheque to clear at my bank, then that’s 23 working days. I did the Math and it looked grim; I had been doing the Math and obsessing over the infinite possibilities of something going wrong and it came to me like a flood: it was either bank double of what you do in your saving account to bridge the gap created after your resignation or be prepared to deal with the grimness of not meeting your target at the end of the year.

I plan to go to graduate school next year. I also plan to venture into a new business before the close of the year – the fruit of which I should be able to harvest by April, 2014. But that’s if I’m up and running before December. Nagging me in the periphery of my thoughts is the student loan I have been repaying in bits each month – so I would pay a fine five times as much as what I send in. I hate debts so much I don’t ever want to take a loan for anything – unless I’m paying for my home as rent while I live in the house and even that has its limits. I, for instance, despise the thought of paying a mortgage for 10 years and over. I also have little faith in insurance policies, though I dread there being no buffer for when something bad happens – premature labour, cancer, arson, a natural disaster, etc.

So I leave the bank, walk to the central business district, walk to my stage, pick a matatu to Westlands and start dividing up and sending out what I need to. There’s tithe, the new chama (merry-go-round) at work, a month-old pledge for a new mattress at some relation’s, the money I borrowed from the boyfriend’s account, my monthly HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) loan repayment, and gas and a little shopping for the house.

Upon looking at what I had left, I almost wept. It was something, at least. Something that would cover a nice dinner and drinks at Java – and by drinks I mean tea. It could buy a nice pair of heels or a leather boot. But for now it has to be my fare to and from work for about 4 weeks.

I drew up a plan for spending and included cake, coffees and a lunch with friends and I am happy to announce that it is all quite possible. Since my nutrition practice on the side has been a little more active and I am able to save on lunch money and make something on the side from singing on occasion, it looks like things will work out fine. Money will still be tight, but at least I can look forward to meeting a goal I set half-way through the year when I was out of a job and uncertain about the future.

I can’t wait to tell you all how it goes!


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