How To Make Your Dollar Stretch Longer In These Hard Times

Today as I was walking trying to find the power to charge my laptop I was stopped by a stranger who then asked me, Do you think things will normalise?

I, a certified pessimist thought quickly before I emptied my pessimistic views on someone clearly distressed.

I conjured up a few words of encouragement that didn’t end with “chikuru kufema” and walked away as fast as I could

Survival in Zimbabwe has become somewhat unbearable. We have to learn critical skills in order to stay afloat.

These few tips will help you stretch your dollar further and tick off days off your calendar till your next paycheck or till you get the chance to refill your wallet

1. Work With a strict budget.

And no matter what never deviate from it. Gone are the days of impulse buying, make a budget, make inflationary adjustments and stick to it. If you have a surplus, strictly budget it as well. This will help in terms of discipline and will help you in more ways than 1.

2. Cut unnecessary expenditure

Unnecessary is relative in this scenario. Whats unnecessary to me may not be unnecessary to you. Make a list of all your expenditures.

Rank them by order of importance, cut the least important stuff and move on. Entertainment though imperative can be cut. All I’m saying is it’s possible to go for 30 days without paying

3. Be creative in the kitchen

Food is usually one of our biggest bills. If we find a way around it we may be able to stretch our dollars.

Find ways to make nice vegetarian meals, substitute your favourite food with its cheap vice, find breakfast alternative that is cheaper like making your own bread or buying sweet potatoes to alternate with commercial bread that you have to buy on a daily basis.

Grow a vegetable garden, etc, in short, avoid having a large food bill by being creative in the kitchen

4. Carry your lunch to work

Some people will cringe when they read this one because it has never been a lot of people’s culture to bring lunch to work.

We are fast losing the luxury of buying lunch every day, its high time we sit down and learn how to pack boss lunchboxes.

5. Whenever possible, use public transport

I can almost predict reactions to this. I for one discovered the joy of using public transport when I couldn’t afford to pack for 6 hours a weekend.

I was ashamed at first especially when I went to school. I only discovered that I was saving gas for more important errands and could now afford to buy the nicer things that I liked later one.

6. Negotiate prices 

It is sad to note that most people’s negotiation skills start and end with street vendors. The business has become so informal in Zimbabwe almost everything is on personal selling fashion.

There are some prices that are simply poised to rip you off. Try and negotiate first before you just buy. You will be surprised by the percentage that comes off after a negotiation.

7. DIY

I know some people who will pay someone to replace a broken lightbulb in their homes. The days of paying people to do simple tasks are fast vanishing.

Learn to do these tasks on your own. YouTube is your friend. I for one learnt how to sew an invisible zipper on a cushion from YouTube.

I look forward to monetising that skill soon. If your dress needs to be adjusted get a sewing kit and Do It Yourself. If your sink is leaking, study the pipes, asks friends etc and Do It Yourself.

8. Scout for Secondary Income.

We can’t look at our dwindling income and despair when there is something we can do about it. If you can’t fly then run if you can’t run then walk if you can’t walk then crawl, whatever you do just keep moving because ultimately sango rinopa waneta.

9. Downsize 

Sit down and brainstorm. Do you really need 3 cars, do you really need 3 bedrooms, is your tradition very important that it can’t be broken, do we need this vacation, do they have to have new clothes, is a new phone going to make my life easier?? Make a decision and downsize…

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