Toby Nwazor: After December Pay the Dues

Just before the end of last year, Harrysong’s hit song –After the Reggae play the Blues trended on twitter. Just like the Christmas season and the month of January, the hit song reminded me of the fact that some things are just meant to follow each other in succession. If you eat a lot of eggs and beans for instance, I don’t need a prophet to tell me who to suspect if I suddenly perceive a foul stench around you.

To borrow from our dear senator, it is just common sense. It is common sense for example, to expect that you will be asked to pay after eating in a restaurant. It is common sense to expect failure if you write an examination without preparation. It is equally common sense to expect pregnancy if one has unprotected sex.

As a boarding school student for instance, we knew that after ‘the dinner comes the prep’. We knew that a compulsory siesta comes after lunch. We all knew the time table. We therefore planned our days with the school time table in mind. That too, was common sense.

My current landlord is a very nice man, and most of his tenants love him for that. The only place wey many people dey vex with am na for the area of house rent. No, it is not about the amount, but the timing. Of all the months in the year, Oga landlord chose the ‘worst’ time to ask for his rent. His policy is that every rent expires in December, so we all have to renew our rent the first week of January.

A lot of people are already complaining, “This is January naa, things are hard. Which kain winch be this? Em no know say everywhere tight?”

I am sure you must have heard a lot of people say that January is the driest month in the year. It is a bit understandable since the rainy season starts in March. The one I don’t understand is when people say that January is the longest month of the year, while December is the shortest. This logic beats my imagination since both months have 31 days in them.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand totally if you coincidentally happen to be in a tight corner in January, or just at the same time an inevitable financial responsibility comes knocking.

Let’s assume that your close relative was just rushed for an emergency surgery, and the bill wiped your savings. It will be exasperating to have your landlord come knocking at the same time, especially if you are still trying to pay off the car loan you took.

I totally understand that. We are in an imperfect world, and sh*t does happen at times. What I don’t understand, however, is why you now make it a habit to always be the one grumbling every year or month when NEPA or LAWMA officials come knocking.

Of course I know that all fingers are not equal. And this is not an attempt to look down on those who may not have everything they need at the moment. What I am trying to advocate for rather is for proper planning and intelligent budgeting.

Why must a man spend his year’s savings partying, eating, drinking and chopping life in December, when he knows he has school fees to pay in January? Also, why cry foul in January if you chopped six months’ salary in December?

January is just a month in the year friends. I don’t think there is any organization that chooses not to pay their staff for January. The bitter truth is that no matter how small your income is, if you plan enough, whatever you have will be enough.

I remember my mentor telling me some time ago, “Don’t ever live in a house where you need to pray and fast for the house rent. And don’t ever put your children in a school where you need to ‘believe’ God for the fees. Sew your coat not according to your size, but according to the size of material you have”.

That to me is one of the wisest counsels I have ever gotten as a young man that is still starting life. It helps me plan my days, weeks, months and years properly, to avoid any form of crunch.

It reminds me of one of the most powerful laws on earth – the law of cause and effect. To paraphrase it, whatever effect we see was caused. Unfortunately, this law is one of the things we are not taught in school.

How do I mean? Let’s assume that Oga Titus lives in a flat where his rent is #360-400k per annum, and he earns #180k a month. He should be astute enough to know that #35k out of his monthly income must be kept aside for rent.

Let’s equally assume that he has three children, and the school fee for each person is #35k a term. It means he should spend about #315k per annum on school fees. Without being told, Oga Titus should set aside roughly #30k a month for school fees and books.

In this situation, I don’t see why he should be crying whenever the children need to return to school. Neither do I see why he should be dodging his landlord. All he needs is proper financial planning and budgeting. And if the bills seem too much, he should either aim at increasing his income, or look for more affordable alternatives.

Whether we like it or not friends, January must come after December. And while some people are crying, some are rejoicing. According to the law of cause and effect, if you are crying, it’s a pity but na you cause am. If you are rejoicing, na you cause am too.

If you are crying this January, don’t worry. All you need is to make better financial choices this year. But if you choose not to, get prepared to cry again next January, because after every December, you must pay the dues.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

13 Comments on Toby Nwazor: After December Pay the Dues
  • Destiny January 8, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I remember my first year of working aged 22.

    December I was spending money like I had just won the lottery. Eating out, partying, shopping up a storm and burning through my salary like I had a money tree in my back yard . Come January 2nd, the harsh reality hit that it was going to be a very very loooong month. At some point I had to tuck my tail between my legs and ask my mother for money for petrol to get myself to work. That January I lived on air, hope and bread for the entire month.

    Safe to say that I learnt my lesson well and have never repeated that mistake.

    • Toby Nwazor January 9, 2016 at 3:49 am

      That is a fantastic one Destiny, I am glad you learnt your lesson early and took smart decisions based on the lessons you learnt. You know it is not all about having an experience, but about the lesson one learnt in one’s experience.

      Kudos

  • Ade January 8, 2016 at 10:57 am

    LOOOOOOOOOL.

    I am just imagining the looks now on those who blew all their money for in malls.

    It’s December that people usually eat out in the restaurants they have heard about all the year, change phones, etc

    But hey, that aside,

    God is our source! January, February, anytime….

    • Toby Nwazor January 9, 2016 at 3:52 am

      Hahahaha. Well, no matter what happens, God go still dey shaa. But wisdom that if you are constantly facing reproach, you should change your approach. The law of cause and effect is as powerful as the law of gravity. The only difference is that it’s effect seem not to be immediate.

      It is still wise to make wise financial decisions to avoid one’s children asking one what one was doing when one’s mates were preparing for the future

  • Ade January 8, 2016 at 10:57 am

    in malls”

  • Joanna January 8, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Now this is fact aand bitter truth. Thanks

  • zeebaby January 8, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Hahaha. I feel u @ Destiny. 2012, I got a new job with an NGO. In Dec, d organisation paid 13th month salary plus Christmas bonus. I thot I had hit jackpot! Spending galore thruout d break. Somehow I blew d entire cash! I was cooking lunch from home thruout January/ making indomie in d office kitchenette’s microwave. Some of my more sensible colleagues bought cars and lands from d bonus. Well it didn’t happen to me d next December . I got wiser.

    • Toby Nwazor January 9, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Zeebaby, did you just say 13th month and even extra bonuses? So such organizations still dey this naija? Babe you may need to hook a brother up for real o. That kain thing dey dey good for my body o, (Jokes apart). Lol.

      I am glad you are now wiser though. That is why experience is the craziest teacher. It first sets the examinations then it comes back to teach the lessons. Crazy teacher! Lol

  • Chi! January 8, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Nice one Toby! Happy New Year n pls keep up d good work. I don’t miss reading ur write ups. May dis year be ur best year so far n may u make greater positive impacts in our lives dis year thru ur write ups.

    • Toby Nwazor January 9, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Thanks Chi. I wish you the same

  • Luvnaija January 8, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Wise counsel but how many will heed all in a bid to keep up with the jones! My 1st job was below 40k years back, later got another almost 4times higher I still lived as though earning 30k, got promoted improved by extra 20%, got another mega job above a mill and half per month still conservative and investing wisely. Not competitions with anybody and living life in my own terms. When you invest,spend wisely, you retire nicely!

    • Toby Nwazor January 9, 2016 at 3:57 am

      OMG! Did I just read that right? Luvnaija, inokwa n’ofe (u dey enjoy o). Lol.

      I love your comment. Because your financial state is not really a function of what you get, but a function of what you do with what you get. That is why I know that soon enough you will be operating in higher realms than you already do.

      Kudos Luvnaija, and keep reading.

  • Asa! January 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I feel like this is something I could have written. Kudos Toby. Your writing always makes sense. After December pay the dues! Haha! I see what you did there. Personally, it’s during the Christmas holiday season that I become very frugal. I’ve not earned money for long, but I had to learn even from my days at uni. Like father would say, anybody can spend anyhow, but it takes financial wisdom to have your head above water when others seem to be sinking. Jisike

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