By JOHN KARIUKI
A study of militarism reveals that a lot of thoroughness goes into the preparation for any war â whether big or small. For example, Americaâs celebrated General, Collin Powell thoroughly prepared for the First Gulf War in the nineties. He took months to assemble troops and prepare, even to the last detail of the fuel for warplanes and tanks and drinking water for the troops.
Powell even planned where to take the wounded soldiers for first aid in friendly countries in the region, including Kenya, before the onward flight to America. It was only after such elaborate preparations that he marshalled the military arsenal against Iraq in a well documented blitzkrieg "Lightning War". Like in war, peopleâs financial success or failure depends not on the shortage of money or ideas, but on how well they are prepared to invest. There are people who start projects they are acquainted with but fail because they are unprepared. Witness the many hurried and broken marriages and deferred further studies and so on.
Our unpreparedness often takes a comical hue. For example, once some people get cheques, they assemble relatives and creditors to town promising to clear all pending debts and expenses - but upon presenting the cheque at the bank, they are told to wait for three working days â wasting peoples time and money.
Omar Hassan, a manager with a local bus company who has overtime, witnessed unprepared travelers overspend, advises them shop early for the public transport companies that ply direct routes to save money.
"Instead of some people preparing adequately, they think that it is better to travel, say, from Mombasa to Kisumu piecemeal with shorter trips to Nairobi and Nakuru and then to Kisumu, but when they add up, the costs are one an half times more," he says.
Ken Waweru, a secondary school teacher from Nairobi says the recent Form One intake showed that unprepared parents end up incurring more costs.
"Itâs amazing that parents forgot to bring some requirements like dictionaries, atlases, bed sheets, games shoes and so on. As a tradition in many schools, they had to be go back for these items, incurring the more costs on bus fare and actual shopping," he tells Shillings$Sense.
Waweru advises parents taking children to schools and colleges to go through the list of items required; ticking them off as they acquire them instead of sourcing them in an ad hoc style. "It is always good to shop early so that one can avoid the last minute rush when small things are forgotten," says advises.
He says partial payments in educational institutions are costly in the long run though few people to scrutinise such hidden costs. "A cheque leaf costs about Sh100 and this fee rises by the number of partial payments done. In addition, one incurs extra hidden costs of car fuel or bus fare to take these cheques or deposit slips to school," adds Waweru.
He cites a nursery school that divides the term fees into installments to fit clientsâ expectations. "The term fees are actually Sh3,900 when paying at once but the management breaks this down into three monthly payments of Sh1,400 which is very popular with parents. What many parents donât realise is that they end up paying Sh4,200 by this method in each term, which is Sh300 more," he observes.