The funniest thing about coming from an African home is that more often than not, we have the same stories about growing up. No matter which country you lived in, you probably once asked your parents to buy you fast food, and they politely declined. The reason? “There’s a lot of food at home.” At the time it sounded senseless, but once you grow up and as you continue to try and create a better future for yourself, you realize the importance of reminding yourself that there’s food at home every now and then.
You see, when our parents told us this, it’s not that they didn’t know that we were specifically craving fried chicken or burgers. They knew. They were once that age and they once craved fast food. There’s food at home is a mantra that implores the values of perseverance and delayed gratification. Learning not to spend money at every impulse is a savings plan in itself.
There’s food at home qualifies the use of the ego in the sense of the Freudian theory. For those not familiar with this theory, Freud Sigmund, a psychoanalyst, categorized the brain into three: The Id, the superego, and the ego. The Id acts on impulse, the superego applies rationale to these impulses, and the ego prevents us from acting on our basic urges (created by the id) but also works to achieve a balance with our moral and idealistic standards (created by the superego). Learning to apply the ego, and especially when making financial decisions, will save you a lot of money.
We’re constantly faced with dilemmas. We find ourselves in situations where we are torn between buying new clothes and utilizing what we have already at home. Maybe it’s even more expensive financial decisions. You have a car but you want to buy another one. You have a T.V but you want to upgrade. You have a house but you want to move into another. Using the mantra that there’s food at home will teach you that you don’t have to buy a car when you already have one at home. You don’t need to upgrade your TV when you have a fully functional one at home. Teaching yourself that there’s food at home will help you to learn the power of saving your money for later gratification.
It’s the small things that count. Small expenses add up to make for a large amount. Think about it. If you buy fast food worth 500 shillings every week, at the end of the month you have spent 2,000 shillings. This, in a year, adds up to 24,000 shillings. Is it really worth it? There are so many places that you would have otherwise invested this money and generated interest. But, in that moment where you’re craving that chicken, it seems like just 500 shillings.
I’m not saying that we don’t deserve good things, not at all. You deserve the food, house, car, and furniture that you dream of. All I’m saying is that we should learn not to act on our emotions and impulses. Learn to remind yourself that there’s food at home. Take time to make the decision to buy something. Is it within your budget? Can you afford it? Do you own something similar? Is it a need or a want? If you already have the item, buying another one is perhaps that’s not the greatest use of your money.
Learning to tell yourself, ‘No, you don’t need that. You have that at home,’ is a great practice, and it will help you to save your coins.
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