The pitiable economic situation is reflected in the performance of most commercial and industrial concerns most of which have folded up, or have had to lay off hundreds of workers, or put workers on a half-week-half-pay condition. In effect, a majority of commercial and industrial workers have since experienced an unbearable declining standard of living. Even, petty traders who form the bulk of the self-employed are not spared this pang of economic poverty. They are also faced with low turnover, and this implies declining profit and therefore shrinking income.

Those government and quasi-government employees who enjoy relative security of work tenure are not better off either. Even though some of this category of workers can still earn their salaries regularly, the salaries are from the rising commodity prices. It must be stated that the effect is not confined to a particular income group. The lower income, the middle income, and the upper classes are all affected though in varying degrees

So whether you are a wage or salary earner or you belong to the business world of profits, you are equally being affected by the downward rolling economic trend.

Just as the country is unable to maintain a favorable foreign balance of payments, individuals and families are equally finding it difficult to make ends meet. Most families are living from hand to mouth. A lot of people are unable to pay their rent regularly. A lot more are unable to set their electricity bills, transport bills, and child-care expenses easily. Under this condition of economic hardship. one needs not talk about such extensions to life as sports, recreation, holidaying, or parties which to most people have become things of the past.

In general, a lowering of one’s standard of living a standard already used to-is to an individual a very unpalatable thing to think of One naturally strives to maintain that level at least if it cannot immediately be improved upon

Need For a Right Attitude

Found in this type of situation, what then should one do? Many people are prone to be despondent and feel helpless and hopeless. It must be pointed out that these are negative attitudes that do not in the least help the deplorable economic situation. There is a need to develop a positive frame of mind to deal with the situation. It is very important to realize that the appalling economic situation one finds oneself in is not a phenomenon that should be ignored under pretense is a phenomenon that needs to be realistically accommodated. It is not a situation to be stared at but a situation to be squarely faced. More significantly, it is the condition that warrants brooding about t is a condition to be fearlessly attacked.

Two Basic Approaches

Regarding the foregoing, it is essential to develop major new initiatives, adopt practical self-help measures, and evolve policies that are designed to respond to the harsh economic climate.

The expenditure side represents consumption in essence. This is expressed in ‘terms of the cost of all we consume and the total cost of all consumption items represents the aggregate cost of living. Revenue on the other hand simply means income. Income is earned in exchange for goods produced or services rendered.

These approaches-expenditure and income to be the major focus of attention in the bid to survive a turbulent economic weather. In other words, these are the targets to be aimed at and upon which economic engineering efforts should be diverted.

On the expenditure side, genuine efforts should be directed at minimizing as much as desirable, the various daily aspects of consumption. Interestingly, the magnitude and nature of human consumption items are generally not fully appreciated and more often than not, totally overlooked. Yet, their number can be amazingly high and their range very broad. Little, for instance, do we take cognizance of the fact, that consumption is involved in almost everything we do at home, at work, at leisure, as well as on the road.

Right from the time we get up early in the day, we probably start by switching on the radio to know what goes around or to listen to some music. This for convenience can be regarded as the commencement of consumption in terms of either battery or electric power use. Followed by this is the need to get the teeth properly cleaned which is another aspect of consumption in the use of toothpaste.

We go on to consume a bit of soap at bath. What looks like a commonplace activity like polishing a shoe is an item on the list of consumption. We then move to breakfast which of course is a visible and major item of expenditure. As we get the children into the school bus or car, we go on consuming as reflected in bus fare or petrol cost.

Thus, we continue indefinitely consuming and this does not exclude the time we are asleep when we probably put on the electric fan or leave the kerosene pressure lamp burning. From morning till evening twenty-four hours a day, it is consumption unlimited. This is dictated by the need to keep healthy via good food, adequate shelter, and clothing, as well as the need to care for the children and fulfill other social responsibilities.

In summary, the first principle that concerns expenditure is to attempt to rationalize consumption by evolving and applying several cost-cutting devices in our everyday activities (we shall dilate on this in Chapter 2).

A note of warning may, at this stage be necessary in our attempt to prune down aspects of daily consumption. It is important that in applying this principle, care should be taken to ensure that living is not reduced to bare existence. In other words, those basic needs and habits that are essential to healthy living should not be sacrificed on the altar of economic prudence.

Otherwise, a state of ill-health resulting from those measures, if not judiciously applied, may produce a boomerang effect. The other side of the coin as we said earlier is represented by revenue. This is the income, weekly, monthly, or yearly-accruing to the individual or individuals that make up a household. Income is represented by wages and salaries in the case of employees and profit in the case of traders. Other aspects such as gifts, rents, dividends, royalties, inherited wealth, and grants are also included.

As far as wage and salary earners are concerned, they are subjected only to periodic increases in their pay, whereas costs of living are continuously rising. Those who live on profit are also subject to a decline in consulting from lower turnover during an economic depression. Found in this situation, the second principle rests on a genuine effort to augment one’s regularity using indirect means.

This borders on finding alternative avenues of revenue. What is being advocated here is an extraneously generated income outside one, such as surplus to productive use. Here, emphasis needs to be placed on leisure. Everyone, whether an employee or self-employed has some hours after working day, particularly on weekends and vacations left to himself or herself to recreate or look at era hobby.

It is part of these periods of leisure that we are talking about. Therefore, on no account should doing a leisure time job, or what may also be termed a secondary job, be allowed to paralyze the efficient performance of one’s regular or office employment. This is not a difficult thing to do if the will is there and the measure of one applied. Sacrifice in this regard is the watchword.

Another way similar to having a secondary or part-time job is the idea of do-it-yourself. This entails learning to do and doing several things in the home which in other circumstances other people are employed to do. When this is done, one is indirectly earning what might have been paid into someone else’s purse. Examples of such things that could be done on a do-it-yourself basis are many, they include laundry, growing vegetables, car servicing, and sewing children’s clothing. house painting and a host of other things (we shall dwell more than this in chapter 3). There is hardly an extent to which imagination can be stretched and initiatives taken in this regard.

The two principles which respectively focus on expenditure and income could be applied simultaneously the overall objective being to make both ends meet. Alternatively, one may wish to concentrate on only one of the approaches with little or no emphasis on the other. The essential thing to remember when caught in this web of a rapidly declining economy is the need to be debt-free, and at the same time maintain a level of living above the poverty line.