Budgeting on Shoe Strings
By Emeka Uzoatu
Today we’ll dwell on the shoe. Yes, that popular apparel of the foot worn by all the world’s men, women and children.
For starters, some are made to be put on just like that, with elastic bands and buckles holding them in place. In this corner there are loafers, reverends and their like.
Meanwhile, some in a different corner – the lace-ups – need to be tied to the wearing foot via strings. Here we talk of the brogues, derbies, oxfords and their heels, soles and upper bodies.
Now, whenever the string is mentioned without its shoe in a sentence, know you that trouble is about. Meaning that though the subject in contention may be no member of the eponymous rock band, he, she or it must be in straits so dire. Implying that conversely, inversely or both, such entities must be rounding the bend that leads to Debt Boulevard.
O yes, for more often than not, its mere mention mostly has experienced minds veering to the budgeting process. And as to budget invariably has everything to do with money – money at hand, in the bank or attractable as a loan – it’s truancy refers.
Ideally, money is never spent without planning. Whether short term or stretched out into days, weeks, months or years, it all depends on the whim and caprice of the spender. And his/her capacity. But much unlike the famed porridge in the pot, the incapacitated had no hot or cold option displays to toy with.
Though budgets are often over-dramatised by countries, individual budgeting is often the one that is more definitive. Like stressed by many economists, it’s the aggregation of these individual plans that determines the economic viability of nations. More than those humongous plans obtained by punching figures into already set templates.
Bringing the analogy on home, what we find in our beloved country is a situation where many are left with nothing to budget on. Never mind the often bloated – or padded – releases by the budget office in the thirty-six states and their centre. The wait is often on Abuja to do the needful. Any wonder the rising call for a return to pre-military structures is being stifled at birth.
Well, of that later.
Meanwhile, the truth is that given our un/underemployment statistics, most families are left with no spare cash after each meal. A situation spared their country on account of affording different blocks to obtain loans from. If the West demurs, there are always the other cardinal points to explore. And that with just a little concession of overabundant sovereignty.
Any wonder it’s different strokes for citizens and country. Take Ade Animashaun, for instance. The thinly-salaried former haberdashery artisan used to be well off as the job lasted. It just took his having to cut his coat according to his cloth for the ends to meet somehow. And he seldom complained.
But not any longer. Ever since the multinational concern he was employed in shut down to a weighty avalanche of economic pressure. Now all the effort is about daily bread as stressed in the Christian principal prayer. Unless one can budget for the hour, if you know what I mean.
And he’s even better off than many. A bachelor to the core, he has since been discounted from its eligibility cadre. With how hard he finds it to feed his mouth, he has since jettisoned the idea of bringing another – more so in matrimony. What with its well known dividend of spawning siblings.
A fate garnered the hard way by his erstwhile colleagues Taiwo and Kehinde Tinubu. No relations to their tribal man of the moment, the twins were also surviving like Ade. But flying in the face of the boom antecedent to their initial employment, the identical twins had entered into apparently-harmless amorous relationships. But no sooner had their paramours commenced cohabiting with them than the tide turned. Inevitably, both now have extra mouths to feed on its account.
And it seldom stops at that. Sadly for the duo, so many ancillary expenditures have since come along to complicate the trajectory of their survival. The most glaring being the attainment of school age by their offsprings. Now their personal budgeting is stuck at the sourcing of funds level.
And unlike their beloved country as oil funds dwindled, they had no much alternatives to fall to. For instance, there were no citizens to levy taxes on, let alone more solid minerals to scramble for with armed bandits. Sadly, too,the only other people in their enclaves are mere minors whose upkeep was another onerous responsibility for then to confront.
We can go on. And on. After all, it’s the person wearing a shoe that knows where it pinches. As well as when to either tighten or loosen its strings.
Emeka Uzoatu, a seasoned journalist and writer, is the editor of Nairaweb.ng. He writes the occasional column, Penny Wisdom.