Two weeks ago, my seven year old daughter came to me and said. “Mummy, you always pray that God should give you plenty money but I don’t see the money”.
“I was surprised but I managed a weak response. I said to her, “the money will come. We have to keep on praying hard”.
She said, I have prayed hard but the money is still not coming. How do I know that the money has come and where will it come from?
“The money will come through the work of our hands. That is why we work so hard so that we can make more money”. She seemed satisfied so she left and I went about my duties.
You see, the reason why my daughter was thinking about money was because we have a family project and they were all hoping to see the project accomplished within a short time. We have told them that because it is capital intensive we need plenty money to be able to get it done. So from last year they all promised that they will help us by putting money aside to contribute to this project.
It is interesting but I find it difficult to explain to my children what “plenty money” means. I don’t how others do it but as much as we tried hard, my husband and I still couldn’t explain ₵20,000, ₵50,000 or $10,000 to a seven year old. So for the past one year, the kids have been trying to put some money away (this is separate from their own savings). They keep gathering their coins and two, five cedi notes and after many months, thinking they are close to the target, they come and declare their money only for them to know that what they have is only 20 cedis or 50 cedis which is nowhere near the targeted amount. They still don’t know how far away they are from the tens of thousands we need for that project.
After that question time about money, I thought I was free until a few days later when my little girl emerged again. I was watching the MTN Heroes of Change TV show whilst enjoying a piece of chicken and a drink. She sat down and said” “Mummy I know how we can make more money”. I didn’t know what she was up to and I was very eager to hear what plan she had in mind.
She said with emphasis, “we have to STOP SPENDING”. I was startled. I said how do you mean? How can we stop spending? I pretended I didn’t know what she was talking about?
She said, “No, I mean let’s stop buying unnecessary things and save that money? The shoes and dresses and especially the ice cream, drinks and chips. Let’s stop all of them and save the money so that we can gather plenty money for the project, she said.
I looked at her. I called my husband to listen. He was watching a serious match but he just turned and I asked her to repeat what she said which she did. He was shocked but quickly agreed. He also shouted, “Alright, let’s do it. You are right. That’s what we should be doing anyway”.
My daughter turned to me again and retorted, “even this chicken and drink, you must stop eating them. Let’s stop eating expensive food and eat only small small fish and simple food”.
Before I could say Jack, she run to her sisters and announced her austerity measures. Well, the rest of us were not happy but we had no choice.
Many people in Ghana claim they don’t have money; others claim their salaries are not enough; yet most people live far above their means. This is why some parents leave children’s school feels unpaid for several months, sometimes years. Some are unable to pay for basic textbooks.
Also it is amazing how many people cry they don’t have money yet they are able to attend funerals and sew all the clothes that goes with every funeral. Many young women change their hair styles every week, buy very expensive hair attachments that even Managers of big companies cannot buy; they buy clothes and accessories and pay for expensive make up yet they claim they cannot pay for their fees.
People close to me know that there are so many things I do not do and one of them is buying funeral clothes. I learnt it early in life, from my mother.
To achieve the big things we desire we must sacrifice. We are always told to live within our means but I will venture to say that we must not just live within our means, we must live lower than we can afford. This is why I heeded to my seven year old investment advisor’s instruction. We must stop buying things we don’t need. The shoes and bags that are over flowing in our rooms, the expensive magazines we hardly read, the designer perfumes and jewelries we hardly wear and the electronic gadgets we love to display in our rooms.
Are there any lessons here for you from Elinam the seven year old? I bet there are. This is not to say that it is easy. Just last week she asked me to buy a drink for her after school and I quoted her words back to her. She begged and said, “Mummy, this is the last last last”. After this, don’t buy any drink for us again. That’s how it always starts and before you know it you are off track again. Aluta continua…..