Waswa - Love for a local delicacy turned into a financial lesson


Wasswa, from Mukono, tells how a simple love for a local delicacy turned into a financial lesson he'll never forget:

I was lucky to have a job by my first year in university and was earning some extra spending cash. I was saving nearly half my income every month because I had an objective of being able to move into my own place, paying rent for a year and buying all household equipment I would need to make it in the big world. I only touched my savings account in times of emergencies. You could say I was doing well.

In my second year, I had a family incident that required me to use up all of my available savings. One day, I found myself with no food in the house. There was a slightly expensive restaurant near my home that cooked a fantastic chicken luwombo at a price of 15,000/=. The owner had intimated to me that I could eat on credit and pay in the future but I had never taken advantage of this offer. This led me to a decision that would haunt me for months to come. I decided to eat the luwombo on credit. What followed was a subtle and slow degradation of my credit and my moral judgment regarding the glorious chicken luwombo.

Despite my earning money, I found it easier to eat bountiful meal a few times a week on credit, as the restaurant was small and usually lacked proper change. It wasn't until about two months later that I saw how much my bill had grown from my wild spending habits on life's little dinner munching. I owed the restaurant 360,000/=!!!

I could not pay off my bill in full even with a full month's salary, which was the first time I was not able to do this! I attempted to pay it off in installments, but other expenses kept popping up and I started to lack spending cash, with the restaurant hot on my heels to pay my outstanding bill.

This all came to a head when I needed to pay half of my tuition fees and my savings account had a wholesome amount of zero! I was going to have to borrow money from family! This realisation led me to reevaluate what I was doing financially. How had eating a fantastic meal a couple of times a week led to my financial world crumbling?

I started with an expenditure recap using the restaurant's bills to me and found that my enjoyment of this delicacy had increased exponentially over a month. Instead of eating a total of five times as I had been doing every month, I had more than doubled it! This was because I wasn't feeling the pinch directly out of my wallet, rather just signing off bills. I then made a budget of my expected income and how to best divide this income to get me into a financially safe place again. I was going to drastically cut down my love for the delicacy and probably work on Saturdays to pay off my bill and restart my savings campaign.

Yes, I still do love and enjoy my chicken luwombo, just not as often and I always pay cash.