The POTENTIAL VII: Managing Debt
Around this time last year, I was owing NEPA some thirty thousand
naira; today, NEPA owes me some twenty-five hundred. Funny, eh? As at
when I was owing thirty grand, my neighbours prided themselves as the
rich ones, and insisted that NEPA cut our light at the meter points
(so they could retain their connections while I lost mine). One even
scorned me the month I paid three out of thirty, she stood in the
street and argued that I mustn’t be spared. I came back to meet me
disconnected. Well, she owes just as much now, a year later.
Truth be told, we all owe at one time or the other; even Dangote.
Sometimes, as in my case, we owe because someone disappoints and we
have to take responsibility. Either way, debts are easier incurred
than settled. In fact, one often pays off one debt with the other; run
in circles, never able to break out of the rat race. Luckily, there is
a way to pay debts and stay afloat. The discourse that follows is not
to make me out as some (arrogant) debt guru, but as someone who has
seen, and conquered…
Perhaps the first step is to stop the increase.
NEPA brought a bill N1 200 more than the previous month’s. I couldn’t
pay the whole bill, but I paid the N1 200. No, I didn’t wait till I
could afford the whole bill. The next month, the bill was N3 000 more,
so I paid the three grand. And was mocked.
What my financially illiterate neighbour didn’t know was that I coulda
paid much more than i did each time, I just didn’t. If I had, I’d have
pushed myself to the brink of indebtedness just to save face. I saw
the bigger picture. And those two months allowed me to prepare for the
tough times ahead: stocked the house with food, planned for farm, be
ready for the derogatory gazes of pseudo-rich classmates.