Home » General » Face It – There Is Always a Way [opinion]

Times are tough and it does not take a rocket scientist to attest to that. In many homes belts are being tightened. In fact, just the basics are what most people are aiming for these days. If you are blessed enough to secure the basics for your family, then be grateful. Otherwise for most, it is just getting by from one day to the next.

Gone is the cheer that is usually associated with the season we are in. This period is usually characterised by large displays of Christmas specials on shop windows and shopping hours are extended to cope with the increased demand for goodies by the customers.

With bonus payments usually coming during this period, many people would take to shopping more than usual. Christmas carols would be heard in the background as you walked around and shop after hours. This is not the scene on the streets of Harare anymore.

In fact, you would be mistaken to think this is just one of those other ordinary months. From the time I was a child, November and December, were not just ordinary months.

They were exciting months filled with good things. As children we even came to expect something special in November all the way through to December. Even when we were in primary school, we knew this was the time our fathers would have more to spend on us.

Around November 20, we knew that we would go into town for shopping trips and we would all come back with two new dresses and a pair of shoes. If lucky, my young brother and I, being the youngest, would get a third set while everyone else got two.

This was the period we could also score treats like a new bicycle, which would have to be shared between my young brother and I. We would also have our pictures taken alongside Father Christmas. It was a special time.

Families generally just had a little bit more to spend in preparation for December and the festivities it brings. This time round however, many families say festivities are the last thing on their minds.

If they can just have enough food for their families to eat that is adequate. Many more would rather worry about where school fees for the New Year will come from.

With many companies having denied their employees bonuses, many others struggling to pay salaries, a number of people are looking forward to the festive season just to get away from it all and weigh options for tomorrow.

Many speak of how they want to use the holiday period to focus more on their personal business interests, no matter how small so that they can find other sources of revenue for their families.

Others say they have since taken leave so they can focus on their plots of land and get down to some serious business there. They say they have realised that to survive, one has to till the land.

Others want to go back to school.

That way, they may just be more marketable for bigger and better opportunities. Many more are starting projects such as rearing chickens, sewing, buying and selling, among others, to make ends meet in the coming year.

They have to focus. After all, some schools have already started issuing circulars notifying parents of their intentions to hike fees in some way or the other in the coming year.

Thus, parents are bracing up for any such eventualities even though any hikes are not supported by any fundamentals on the ground.

Inflation in this country has remained at very low levels. The economy is also not performing at capacity, hence it makes no sense whatsoever to have school fee hikes or even price increases in any of the sectors.

But because we have so many chancers in the country you find that even when nothing justifies an increase, some will attempt.

Even when most people are losing jobs and companies are closing down, you find people increasing prices. This is done not because there is an interest in growing businesses but because some people have just become used to a culture where they rip off others.

There are reports that houses and commercial properties are going empty because tenants cannot afford the rentals. Many tenants are today going for months without paying rentals not because they do not want, but because the money is not available.

Thus, a landlord who just hikes rentals without looking at market fundamentals will get headaches.

One cannot just effect increases anymore because the money will just not be forthcoming. It is simply not available.

The few lucky ones who got bonuses this time round and have a little extra to spend are certainly smiling all the way to the bank. The year was tough for many and those who can invest in a little cheer for their families should by all means ensure that they spread it.

True things are tough but then again if you have made it to year-end there is plenty of reason to celebrate.

Plus, having a good time with loved ones does not necessarily have to be an expensive affair.

Throughout the year, the biggest complaint people make is how little time they have to do things with family and within the community.

Those who take annual breaks can spend some quality time with the family and also do something meaningful in the community.

Simple things done in the company of those who mean the most may just be what the doctor ordered after the stress this year has brought on many people.

There is a difference to be made when time is spent on people. Instead of drinking to excess, why not spend time in the field or garden? Instead of over eating why not exercise more during the holidays? Instead of going out, why not stay in and get to know your partner and children all over again?

Why not think of other things to do and supplement your income during your downtime? Because so many are unemployed why not think of potential projects to do and identify potential funders or investors to approach in the coming year.

There is a difference to be made in all this surely?

Source : The Herald