Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie Menson: When the going gets tough….


My niece came over to spend the weekend with us; we all had been looking forward to it.  Family time is such an important thing for me personally because I have very busy schedules.  My schedules do take me away from those closest to me (my family) for weeks, sometimes.  So when such opportunities come up, I relish it.

Seyram is one of my many nieces and I hadn’t seen her since her last birthday in September of last year; she says I’m her favourite aunt, and I wonder why.  Would it have anything to do with the fact that she gets almost anything she wants from me?  Or that I allow her to stay up till whatever time she likes when she comes to stay over?  Maybe it’s all the ‘sinful snacks’ she gets to eat when she comes over?  It might be the tonnes of books she gets access to (but cannot read all at once) at mine…you don’t think so, huh?

We went out to the shops to buy a few of her favourite things to stock up; it was a long holiday weekend and we meant to pig out!

“Let’s get some biscuits; I like the chocolate covered Digestive biscuits,” she said as she reached out for 2 packs of the biscuits.

“We have Digestive biscuits at home,” I quickly said, taking the packs out of her hands and placing them back on the shelves.  “But it doesn’t have the chocolate coating”, she protested.  “True, but we have chocolate at home so we can make our own chocolate Digestives”, I tried to explain. “Really”, she asked in the most uncertain of tones.  “Yes, really”, I chuckled back at her and we made our way to pay for the other items at the checkout counter.

“Aunty, why didn’t you want us to buy the chocolate Digestives in the shop?”, Seyram queried me on the drive back home.  “Well, the real reason is that I find it quite pricey now” Plus, I really can make chocolate Digestives.  “But we used to buy it anytime I came over; what has changed?”, she persisted.

“Let’s get home and I’ll explain”, I reassured her.  The traffic was getting thick, and I wanted to beat it to get home in good time.

Have you heard the news lately?  About how prices of everything have shot up, either double or triple the price?  Surely, you must have.  Partly as a result of the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war which has affected the global price of fuel (which literally fuels the movement of people and goods), and partly because as a nation our taste is for Western foods, products and services (which we have to import or buy using the US Dollar mainly). Our Ghanaian Cedi is too not as strong as it should be.  Currently US$1=Gh¢7.12*, so, in effect, you will need 7parts of your Ghana money to buy 1 part of anything from the West.  That definitely is a lot more of your money going out to the West.

The bottom line is that we need to change our spending and consuming habits in order not to eat into all our savings.  As a habit, we all must save for a rainy day, and that rainy day seems to be upon us now.

How can you contribute toward saving, you wonder?  There are several ways; let me list a few

  1. Eat what you have – Remember how Seyram wanted a pack of biscuits which I could improvise at home?  Yes, that’s saving.  You want to buy apple juice while you have apples sitting at home? Think again.  You want to buy orange juice while there are lots of oranges available at a cheaper (and healthier) price?  Go on YouTubeand learn how to make your own orange juice (or any other juice for that matter)
  2. Saving fuel – Fuel prices are going up on a daily basis; it’s alarming.  How you can help your parents to save their fuel is by getting ready for say, school, on time.  This way, you can leave home early and not stay in long traffic which guzzles up fuel like one would do to water on a sunny afternoon
  3. Minimise waste – many of you get a bottle of water when you’re thirsty…it is the natural thing to do.  But you are unable to finish it in one drink, no problem.  Keep that bottle of water on you for when you next need to drink water. No need to go for a new bottle an hour later when you’re thirsty again

Are there other saving tips you can think of that will help make things a bit easier on your parents’ expenditure?  I would love for you to share…

*BoG rate

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