Are you living above your means?
As I see it
April 21, 2006
Are you living above your means?

Why are so many Vincentians frustrated? They are frustrated because they are living above their means.

On occasion people vexingly express “cost of living too high in this country”. Yet regardless of how poor they are, their cellular phones are always topped up, they are eating out more than ever, they want to be in the latest fashion, attend every party, have multiple partners then fatuously cry “cost of living rising”.{{more}}

In life, there are needs and wants and if people would only get their priorities straight they would see that their lives can take a turn for the better.

Years ago, people were satisfied with the basics, but nowadays persons’ perspectives have changed. When a woman or man chooses to irresponsibly spend endless dollars to purchase telephone cards to satisfy their insatiable desire for chatter, rather than put food as first priority, they definitely will run into trouble, and their children will feel the pangs of hunger.

It is a fact that fast food is quite expensive. Yet, on a daily basis people rush to the fast food outlets rather than prepare their meals.

Everything these days is all about the image. Whether or not people can honestly afford it, they find themselves in the latest styles. If people would only make do with what they have for the moment, they will see that by making sound financial decisions they will one day be able to wear the latest fashions without going broke.

How many people consider the cost to attend parties these days? Yes, they may say it is expensive, but call the venue, they are there. As the old people would say “every pan knock yuh gone”. The next day, they find their pockets empty.

I am sure the womanizers will definitely be feeling the grind too. They can blame no one but themselves. Just recently I heard a married man lamenting how much money he had lost while having an extra-marital affair. He was whimpering when he found out that the “outside woman” had another man in her life. I am sure this is not an isolated case.

Just this week, we got a timely reminder that the cost of living will not go down in the near future. Oil prices hit a record $72.20 per barrel on the world market on Tuesday. Rising oil prices will always result in an increased cost of living. In the end, it is the people who always feel the pinch.

But as a people, we make it worse because of our irresponsible actions and failure to differentiate between needs and wants. And quite interestingly, we blame the politicians for our problems. Yes Governments are responsible for providing opportunities for us to afford a decent standard of living but tell me how can our Government be responsible for external factors such as 9/11 and its ripple effects, or the Iraq war which has caused oil prices to sky rocket? In St.Vincent and the Grenadines, people associate everything with politics but we need to be realistic.

Vincentians should embrace accountability and responsibility for one’s self. People need to take responsibility for their economic wellbeing and need to stop blaming the Government when they have been extravagant and frivolous.

The onus is on everyone to ensure that they do not fall victims to peer pressure, materialism, and society’s expectations.

To start having more money in our pockets I think people should make a budget and stick to it, invest less in clothes, talk and entertainment and more on education.

As a people, we do not take criticism well and do very little self-examination.

The choice is yours – you can live large and be broke or stay focused and make ends meet.