Costs, Cuts and Boycottables

Penny Wisdom

By Emeka Uzoatu

Not many still recollect the vibrant thinker, politician and Africanist Mazi Mbonu Ojike. Yet even upon his death in 1956 at the prime age of 44 years, his anticolonial catchphrase ‘boycott the boycottables’ still rules as though it were posited yesterday.

How the times change. Back then his call had been for us here not to swallow western ways hook, line and sinker like many were in won’t of. Sadly present goings-on in our beloved nation has re-energized the call, albeit in a different way.

In the present dispensation, it now urges us to refrain from those exigencies that needlessly deplete our personal economies adversely. Like the saying urging us to cut our coat according to our cloth, it now hinges on all the ways we can cut costs to make ends meet.

  1. Leisurely Liaisons

First here should be liaisons of the leisurely breed. You know, like many of us had gotten used to in those days of our various booms. When all yet had a quantum of excess cash at hand after all personal and family obligations had been met.

Ya! The type that had many even not obligated by religious obligations to think of raising another family. This often saw even Christians marrying new wives just to avoid being glued to only a type of soup that monogamy afforded.

Up close, this also has so many hypocrites keeping side chicks as though their lives were dependent on them and their nefarious assets. 

2. In Tune With the Times

Next in line should be the trimming of personal and house obligations embraced as the economy boomed. Like that highbrow apartment many packed into for the sake of status. It’s time these types learnt that their yearly rent could afford to pay for virgin property in the outskirts of town.

Or those expensive schools you had enrolled your children to keep up with the Joneses. Such candidates need no reminders that the time is nigh to re-enroll them into more-affordable institutions. After all, like time has proven, education is not better gained in five-star schools.

    3. Electricity and Other Utilities

Perhaps there is no better time to hail the inventors of energy-saving devices. What with the ever-rising cost of electricity. And, of course, fuel-efficient engines. With the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products, this becomes most paramount if one has to keep all manner of fuel guzzlers in the garage.

Pertinent here too is the amounts we end up paying for subscription to cable television and other communication networks. Like it is, one must not pay for the premium packages. After all, that is why the graduated alternatives are there to be availed of. Explain the changed times to your spouse and children. They’ll understand.

       4. Association and Church Bills

Another heading in the cuttables list should be the social clubs and other organisations we belong to. Effort here should be to prune them down to the barest minimum possible. This done with, one can then skim out how to paddle its waters in the new dispensation.

This should also apply to our membership to the religious organisations. The days are past when tithes rise like taxes each new year. Particular effort should be made to see that whatever is payable is tailored into the new dispensation for the avoidance of had-I-known.

    4.  Donations and Other Liabilities

Now, this is no admonition for a guy of means to avoid engaging in those spendings that hangs his name on every lip in town. Only that in line with our subject, one ought to know the level where his coat is hangable. And that is after it had been cut according to one’s cloth.

If, for instance, one still had personal bills to settle, it’ll be foolhardy to go to the nightclub with friends to feast on champagne and other costly cognacs. Nay the inevitability of some females joining the melange and its effect on the bill.

Another plausible escape route is to entertain friends at home. Taking friends out to those posh places in town often come at heavy costs. Now is the kind of time to invite them to the house. After all, east, west, north or south, home remains the best of bets.

       6. Extra Budgetary Spending

Like all savings advisors insist, perhaps this is the best time to latch onto the budgeting process. Yes, it’s never the prerogative of governments. Each family ought to start a romance with the effort the more so in these piping times of distress. Needless to add that it happens to be the only way to make every kobo count.

Like where the family is yet to come to terms with its core needs, it may be inadvisable to embark on that overseas holiday. After all, vacations can wait while hospital bills cannot. 

Or perhaps the acquisition of that extra luxury car to effectively shut your wannabe neighbours up. Nothing stops the superfluous escapade from waiting a fortnight or two to see that ends tail in afore investing in the luxury.

      7. Deaths and Sundry Celebrations

Another dismissable way capital is often wasted in  Nigeria is in the organisation of often lavish celebrations in honour of both the living and the dead. Mostly, those in honour of the latter being the more infuriating. 

Most times your relative alive may have only needed an infinitesimal amount to receive healing. Yet at death double the amount would be lavished at the burial to the chagrin of all.

Added here are several other celebrations aimed at the spending of surplus capital. Maybe a birthday, an anniversary or the like. Only that time ought to be doubly taken this time around to avoid a guy spending from a guy’s capital rather than from his profit.

Emeka Uzoatu, a seasoned journalist and writer, is the editor of He writes the occasional column, Penny Wisdom.