Lifestyle

Austerity measures that Fiolina must take to stay afloat

Austerity measures that Fiolina must take to stay afloat

I told Fiolina she needed to tighten her belt so she could take a bigger loan of more than Sh100,000.

When I committed to take a Sacco development loan of Sh293,000 so as to safeguard Fiolina’s job, I overestimated how much I was eligible for. I must have thought I had some off-shore money that would enable me to take such a loan. Wapi!

On visiting our Sacco offices, I was reminded that I was still servicing a development loan (don’t ask me what I did with the money) that I took two years ago. When we calculated, we realised that my payslip could only accommodate an additional loan of Sh190,000, but that would be putting me in a financial crisis.

I asked Fiolina to consider contributing more.

“Dre I cannot afford to take a loan of over Sh100,000,” she told me. “Unlike you who started working when Musalia Mudavadi was the Vice-President, I started working almost the same time Martha Koome became the Chief Justice.”

“But your salary is way much better, you are not paid peanuts like we teachers.”

“Not really,” she said. “I have no savings like you. Besides, we need to eat and children need to go to school on top of other life expenses.”

I asked her for her monthly budget. I was surprised, and told her she needed to tighten her belt so she could take a bigger loan of more than Sh100,000.

“A lot of cost cutting will have to be done for us to be able to protect your job,” I told her.

She asked me what she needed to change. I said there were so many things she needed to do.

“In fact, you should be taking a bigger loan than me, given that it was your problem.” I said.

“What do you mean yet all the things I bought with the credit card came to this house. Don’t you call it your house? Don’t you call yourself head of the house?” she asked.

She went on: “You should be thanking me for bringing home many things with an interest-free loan.”

“But we are taking a loan which we will pay interest for. Aren’t we?” I asked.

I shared with her some of the things she needed to do to be able to raise more than Sh100,000.

Sell property: I suggested that she sells the fridge, microwave and something she called a woofer. I did not know what that was only to find out it was the big radio in our Kakamega house. She insisted that I also sell some things back at home, but I reminded her I had nothing to sell. My motorcycle, leased to Nyayo, was a no go zone.

Salon: I proposed to Fiolina to start going to the salon once a month, not every two weeks.

“That I can’t change, it is what gives me a good image, or else I won’t keep my job.” She then asked. “How many times do you go to kinyozi? Who is asking you to reduce?” I told her I go weekly but pay just Sh30 per visit. “You even go more times than I do!” She exclaimed, adding that it is not about money, but looking good.

Taxis: I suggested to her that she had to stop using Wasili Taxi for all her journeys. “You will not die if you use matatus ,” I said.

“Me? Matatu? Never ever! Even as we try to get money, there are standards we have to keep, I will not lower my standards,” she insisted.

Outings: I told her she needed to reduce her eating-out and Friday’s outings as they were taking a lot of her money.

“You can always come back to the house for lunch instead of buying lunch in big hotels,” I suggested.

She laughed loudly. “Do you know my job involves travelling? Are you suggesting that if I am in Busia I rush back to the house in Kakamega for lunch then rush back to Busia?”

She also added that when it comes to food and drinks, she could still use the credit card, as that is allowed.

“If I were you I would never use that card again given the problems it is causing us already.”

But she told me off.

Household shopping: I proposed several things that she should stop buying in the house. For food, salt, onions and tomatoes are enough to make a meal. Royco, curry powder, mbiringanyi and many other spices that I couldn’t even spell were using more money.

“And we only need Blue-band for bread, why are you adding honey, butter and jam,?”

She accepted this reluctantly, but said. “Remember I am not just the villager you knew a few months ago. I am a high flying top-notch professional, working class lady!”.

Move houses: This was sensitive. “To be able to raise money to enable you to protect your job, you must move to a smaller house so as to pay lower rent,” I started. “The Sh19,500 you are paying for rent is a lot of money, we can get a cheaper house in Amalemba.”

She laughed loudly. “Did you just say Amalemba? Are you out of your mind?”

I tried to convince her that we could get good places at half the price.

If we implemented my suggestions, we approximated that she could free enough money to be able to take a loan of Sh230,000 while the sale of the household items would get us Sh60,000, leaving us with only Sh103,00 for me to sort out.

“Then why do I need a husband if I am going to take the bigger share of the loan?” She wondered, then asked me what measures I would take.

“A teacher’s salary is so low you can’t even use it on luxuries,” I said. “You can’t make savings on nothing!”

“Clearly I am alone in this marriage,” she said.