There is a bitter sweet irony in grown men and women waltzing into selected boutiques to purchase uniforms for the popular first day of the year event known as ‘Back to School’, forgetting that in a week or two they will need to be making the same trip to purchase actual school uniform for actual proper school going children.
This has almost become a permanent feature in the lifestyles of many young parents.
The incessant spending and flagrant disregard for the fact that the festive season is merely a two-weeks stint of a long and hard 52 weeks is a regular feature of year end.
A local entrepreneur, who was smiling all the way to the bank, explained that during the festive season it is like consumers are all infected with temporary insanity, driving them to a frenzy of shopping sprees that has them inevitably spend money they do not have.
Once the hangover haze clears, banks open and statements start coming through, reality also finds its way and only worsens the cocktail of problems.
Food, electricity, school supplies and other daily utilities will be beckoning and many have learnt the hard way the unpleasantness of this situation often worsened by an empty bank account.
Dubbed Janu-worry, the first month of the year has proven to be the most difficult and yet people never learn to prepare for it and continue to wallowing in unnecessary debt, leading to an equally miserable rest of the year.
What’s one got to do to avoid this?
While there is no one winning formula, a number of people have suggestions they are confident that if used one could have a good start to the year. Seabelo Modibe, a music producer and promoter who benefits a lot during the festive season, suggested that there is a need for a complete behavioral change.
“I feel festive season spending has been sensationalized hence the business community has capitalised on people’s impulsive and irresponsible buying behavior,” he says. “So the best way I think will be for people to change their behavior towards the festive season. Because during the festive period people tend to go wild.”
For her part a young professional, Baboki Kayawe, is of the opinion that people should learn to plan ahead.
“I think people should get used to December and the festivities, and not forget that life doesn’t stop in the 12th month. Instead of focusing on being the centre of attraction at home and all the other places people visit during the time, let us focus on financial discipline. The fact that one has spending/purchasing power shouldn’t mean that we buy just anything. Planning, and sticking to what we need during the festive period is crucial. Parents should teach their off springs well because this Janu-worry thing is generational ÔÇô it’s caught from parents.”
As people sober up from the festive season frenzy, they make all sorts of threats to their lifestyles, known as resolutions and vow to make changes but once their financial mess mends they revert to their old ways in preparation for another Janu- worry.