Monday, 27 December 2010

Lean tidings at Christmastime..

The forecasts are for weak disposable income growth in this country for the coming year, and possibly beyond. The true effects of fiscal tightening are expected to become more apparent going forward. But for me though, its as if my disposable income has been in the grip of decline for several months already, as I find that I'm just not able to do the sorts of things that I used to do before.

About a week before Christmas, I caught myself carefully examining every single detail appearing on the receipt the checkout lady at the supermarket handed to me. I mean this is something that under normal circumstances I would scowl and swear under my breath if the person before me in the checkout queue was standing there wasting everyone's time by inspecting his receipt. After all, the items he'd just placed in his shopping bags were items that he'd picked himself from the shelves. But on this day, I saw that I'd spent at least one-third more than I thought the shopping should cost, and I thought perhaps there might be some mistake or something. But no, there was no mistake at all. It seems that all that talk on the news about rising prices of food and other household products is true after all..

Ah yes, Christmas.. that time of year again. Alarming as this may seem to some people, I have spent nearly every Christmas over the last two decades alone. Well, its not because I want to be alone, its usually been because everyone I know always has somewhere else they want to be, (or have to be) at Christmas. Sometimes, one or other of my siblings is feeling rich enough to make the long trip to London to spend Christmas, and that has been lovely when it has happened. For some odd reason though, I on my part, am reluctant to impose myself on others at Christmastime, when you know that what people really want to do is to be with their husband or wife and their children. Of course I've been invited several times to different people's homes, but having consistently been politely declined in the past, those invites have become less and less frequent.

So for me, Christmas has evolved into ME time, a time when I can selfishly and mindlessly indulge myself prodigiously in vices of all hues, ranging from chocolate to pornography; a time when I can treat myself to an expensive item (or two); a time for toying with the idea of whether I should splash out on the TAG Heuer or the Longines, and maybe fantasise about that Patek Philippe I've been ogling for months. And then of course the wardrobe is due for its yearly update and characteristically, I would tease myself by flirting with the idea of purchasing a couple of bespoke suits from some insanely expensive gentleman's outfitters, knowing full well that this is way beyond my means. Eventually I would settle for some middle of the road off-the-rack suit or two, from a reasonably respectable men's clothing store.

This was just to give you an idea of what Christmas and the prelude to it have been like in the past, at least until the Christmas of 2009. Christmas 2010 however, has been decidedly different. Which brings us back at where this post started, the hike in the cost of living. I mean this year has shot past and I've found myself so busy with seeing to the day-to-day, that by the middle of December, I was wishing it was possible to have the Christmas postponed for another couple of weeks yet, since I simply was not in the position that I'm accustomed to being when this time of year comes around.

Christmas has now come and gone. Like most people I have celebrated it in the best way that I was able to. No, I did not acquire any luxury items for myself (for obvious reasons). But I did receive a few gifts from others, notably, a gaudy ornamental mug and a fruit bowl. In keeping with the low key, I too handed out numerous greeting cards, a couple of cosmetics gift packs and some handkerchiefs. Somewhat embarrassing, really, but nothing compared to what is portended for the lean times ahead. Today I took the car out for a good shine and polish, since for the time being and indeed for the foreseeable future, a car upgrade is completely ruled out..


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C'est Moi said...

LOL! are funny, Anengiyefa!

It's so weird how i could also identify with some of the things you said....looking thru my receipts after Tesco's of all places! ( like you,a recent development too for me)...

Christmas alone & not wanting to impose...

Feeling like & intending to make "me happy" by splurging on " me,myself & I" during Xmas...but eventually settling on something good,great quality but not pricey lol

Yeah,its almost like the dark clouds are gathering on the horizon of the new year (in terms of spending & disposable income,that is)..and one can almost sense & feel the gloom amongst the general public,in this regard.

But...HAPPY NEW YEAR in advance...may it bring for us good things and fulfilled desires by God's grace!

Anengiyefa said...

Hi C'est Moi

Happy New Year jare, ore mi..

Yes o, and the VAT hike is something that people haven't really been thinking about, well, of course because it hasn't happened yet. But its only a few days before that comes into effect and I foresee purchasing power dropping sharply. Thank goodness food is VAT free..

The other day when I completed my shopping at Asda, after examining the receipt, I also had to go through the items in my trolley one by one, just in case I'd paid for some mysterious item that I wasn't aware of.. but no, it was the usual cornflakes, toothpaste, milk and shampoo stuff that I would normally go to the shop for anyway, so I wondered how come it cost so much..

Well, we're going to have to brush up on our accounting skills it seems. But I always disliked numbers and barely scaled through my maths exams. In fact much later, I had to resit professional accounts three times... so that must say something. May God help us..

C'est Moi said...