Couples should live within their means | © Fola Daniel Adelesi

Following the article, ‘Should you fake it till you make it’, I remember there are couples who are in serious mess because they are not living within their means. The husband and the wife are both living an extravagant life or are both trying to live a life that they can’t afford.
A few weeks back I was in a place where I overheard the conversation of some middle aged women. One of them is a banker, another is an HR expert and the third is an accountant. The banker was telling them about how so many other young bankers working in her establishment would have taken all sort of loans available to them for vacations abroad. Amazingly, she said they will come back and still ask her for a loan to buy batteries into their cars. Please note that there are couples who have enjoyed extravagant life together and when something goes wrong in the finances, they can’t stay together anymore. Not living within one’s means has broken some marriages because it has constantly strained the family’s finances.
There’s another setting where some relatively young couples are living. That’s a place where they all pride themselves in the kind of schools that their children are enrolled in and the kind of cars they ride or the cloths they and their children can wear. Something later came up. One of them was to throw a birthday party for the child so he suggested collaborating with one of the other men since the child was also celebrating his birthday. They both said it was going to be a moderate arrangement but somewhere along the line, the first guy just began to make extravagant plans and was preparing for a loud party. It was later discovered that he was relying on funds from some relatives for the party. The second man had to pull out.
The third person among those young families that I know very well began to tell me how one can be easily misled if you are to follow what you see them doing. At some point he discovered that one of the men was cheating in his office in order to make money. It’s just so clear that you can’t live your life going by what others are doing!
You should not say ‘that family has taken a vacation so we must also take a vacation.’ That other family may have a sponsored vacation and you may be taking your own vacation in debt just because you want to ‘level up’ as they say. There’s no point proving to someone that you can afford what they can afford! When you start suffering the consequences of wrong decisions, those people you are trying to impress will not be there to help you.
If a family friend you know has moved to some luxurious part of the city you don’t have to move there just to make a statement. They may be living in an apartment that’s either paid for or subsidized by the companies they work for. You will not know that. They will just tell you they moved and you will want to move without knowing why they moved or what moved them!
I have also seen couples trying to dress up just the way some other couples dress up. They want to buy a certain car just because one other family they know has just bought that type of car.
As a couple you must tell each other the truth. If one person desires the extravagant life you should be able to talk to each other and put more considerations on your future rather than make immediate impressions. If you can’t afford a vacation today you will be able to afford it later. What’s the point taking a vacation as much as you want and you remain a tenant? Your landlord does not even know the way to the airport yet he gets richer through your misplacement of priorities.
A few years back I remember a young man who was probably already preparing for marriage walked into an office where I was working. We got talking about marriage and he asked a question. I don’t remember how he asked but I remember the answer I gave him was, ‘you always have to sort the food issue in your house first as a man. Once that is out of the picture, the pressure is reduced. Buy food in bulk and have some money that can take you out of the house when you need to go out to work or for business meetings.’
You both should cut down on your unnecessary spending. It is nice to give each other a treat and have some nice outings once in a while but you must keep that within a strict budget. Many of the things that we try to do as young couples are things we will get tired of doing as older couples. I know life is about chance. Some people don’t seem to be sure about living long together so they want to enjoy the moment. Let me remind you that your priorities will include getting a nice apartment for your family, feeding them properly, providing simple but decent clothing, educating your children in good schools, advancing your career and the luxuries can come after that.
If you can’t afford it, don’t pretend about it! You both can be denied today but will also both enjoy tomorrow!

Fola Daniel Adelesi
Edible Pen.
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