Before now, the month of January used to be a slow month that dragged on forever; especially if like me you got paid early; like on the 15th of December and with the 13th month coming about a week later. I was always flush with cash from mid-December to the first week of February.
I remember the first time I got paid both December salary and my 13th month, I just went crazy, spending like Davido and Wizkid combined. I had no warning about January at all, in fact, January of the following year seemed so faaaaaaaarrrr away. So I binged on every conceivable fantasy.
And surely and truly by the first week of January, I was seeing, hearing and wailing wein!
And did I learn my lessons the following year?
No, not me. I’m a slow learner. Year after year, I messed up! In fact, there was one January I borrowed so much that, by the end of the month I was back to being even more broke than I was at the beginning of the year because you see, I had to pay back all my debts after I got my salary.
January after January, I fell into this trap of being broke; it was as if the month just happened on me by chance. I was never prepared for how long it usually gets and never ready to accept that before the middle of that month, I would be so broke, I would almost be broken.
Here’s the theory: when you are as broke as I was, January becomes one long stretch of discomfort, hunger, lack, frustration and yes, boredom leaving me stone-cold broke!
Why couldn’t I just break this circle? I mean, there is ALWAYS school fees EVERY JANUARY, there is allowance for the aged parents, electricity bills, estate fees, hospitals, especially when you have kids who don’t know when to stop gorging themselves on every available meal within their radius… kids who seem to sense you have no money on you and will then fall sick, ensuring you spend money you don’t even have on meds.
What’s worse, once the kids resume at school in January, parents start receiving threatening letters, telling us our kids would be sent out of school after the second week of resumption!
These school owners no get chill o, can’t they understand that we have spent so much on food, drinks and gifts for Christmas and so, too broke in January to pay school fees?
Then the landlord would come, while you are still dealing, he will come, eyeing the rice and chicken left over from the New Year’s party you hosted, and be reminding you that your rent is due.
I knew I had to have a plan. I just couldn’t continue to live in fear of January. I had to borrow brain, telling myself, you can’t be living so irresponsibly especially as you have kids, try and be a responsible mother, joo!
So, I devised a simple plan; to split my earnings into three; one part for the December jamboree of buying and buying until I max out my debit card; a part to school fees because I finally got it settled in my brain that the bills will never stop piling up regardless of the season and finally the third part went to the rest of my duties as a financially responsible adult.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed a real breather from the 45 days of January. And yes, sometimes I still get into that funk of being broke in January because some unexpected expenses just pop up but by and large, it’s been a lot easier with planning and setting my goals for each month.
So now, somehow, the days in January aren’t so long anymore. They are like what? 25 days I think.
So I can look January in the face and say, bring it on!
Happy New Year, folks.