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Managing Your Money

Don't waste your money to create an impression

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Last weekend, I attended two functions; a wedding and a birthday party. Both were miles apart in terms of the hosts but they had a similarity; extravagance. Everything about the birthday announced wastage. The hosts are not super rich.

For the wedding to be a success, the groom-to-be had called so many get-togethers to raise funds to cater for dowry and wedding expenses including the honeymoon. In fact, the meetings became so many that some friends started avoiding him and ignoring his calls.

Knowing that it was a struggle to have the wedding, why strive to make it so big "that people will marvel at the splendour"? So what if they marvel? Isn't it a fact that there will be a more lavish one after your wedding and another just to outshine the latest?

A modest wedding makes sense. It is not the one day event that makes a marriage but the love and commitment to each other. Give your guests good food and ensure it is enough for everyone but it is not necessary to exaggerate the ceremony. Your wedding is not the first neither will it be the last.

If friends have been generous enough to give you sufficient funds, budget for your wedding in such a way you also have some little money left over for a smooth start in your new life. I have heard too many stories of newly-weds who do not know where their next meal will come from after the honeymoon because they overspent.

At the birthday party, the lady took a loan. Yes, a loan to throw the party because a sister-in-law had celebrated a major one for her one-year-old son. So she wanted to create an impression that she is the one who is better off.

There was a chef from one of the five star hotels and the guests were made aware of this, to create an impression. The band entertaining guests was one of those that charge per hour.

All in all it was an event meant for show off; the child who had the special day was ignored as adults were being made to understand that the hosts had 'arrived' as they say.

After eating and drinking to our fill, it was time to leave. As she saw off every guest, the hostess handed over a gift bag to each person. Inside, there was a 'thank you' printed card and a gift that had specific words like thanking the guests for being 'a friend'. From my window shopping experience and general estimation, the gift bag cost not less than Sh250, the card at the supermarket costs Sh280 and the friendship memento goes for between Sh350 and Sh500. If there were 20 or so families, do the math.

Were these additions really necessary? Probably she was happy she made her statement to her sister-in-law and any other person that thought 'she was struggling'. When reality strikes and she starts repaying the loan, the pain of show-off will be too much to bear.

There are many women out there that deny themselves so much just to show off. The thing is, the people you want to impress do not give a damn. They have their own struggles which they do not talk about and probably did not even notice your effort.

Do not live for others. In fact, it is my opinion that a birthday party is a children's affair. Let the child have his or her friends coming over and let them decide how they want to enjoy their day. Do not hijack the child's day. More so do not waste your money to create an impression.

Instead use this money to do something more tangible. Use it to offset that loan whose interest is ballooning every month. Or use it to start a business on the side to boost your income as you invest towards a major project. For goodness sake, stop killing yourself financially to make a statement. It is all vanity. And at the end of the day, you are the one who will feel the pinch as you repay your debts.

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