Thomas Tusser wrote, “A foole and his money be soone at debate: which after with sorow repents him too late.” Or in another words, “a fool and his money are soon parted.” These are very wise words to live by. Especially if you are a spend-happy nincompoop like me. Here’s why:
A couple weeks ago, my father sent me to collect items he’d left behind after a conference at the Panari Hotel. Naturally, since I was making a trip to the other side of Nairobi, I needed a significant amount of money for upkeep. And thus, after adding the obligatory coins for loose change, I added a 1000 bob note.
As I boarded a matatu to town, constantly having to open my wallet to hand over fare made me see the 1000 bob note often. In my mind, I somehow construed this as endless wealth. I mean, the more the zeroes the richer you are, right? Right!? I made it to town without incident but after arrival, things got a little trippy.
When I boarded a bus to Mombasa Road, I noticed it was taking a while to fill up. Some commuters were occupying themselves by eating. The cacophony of passengers munching, nibbling, crunching and slurping nearly drove me mad with envy. The aromatic smells that permeated the cabin would’ve made a monk break a lengthy sacred fast. After hearing the pssshhh of an opened soda bottle, I decided to join the chewing bandwagon and alighted to get some nibbles of my own. I walked over to the Bakers Inn shop nearby and bought myself a soda and pie. I re-boarded the bus and happily joined the munching club as we awaited set off.
When I got to Panari, I made my way through the labyrinth and multiple lobbies to the reception. I finally found it and so inquired about my father’s items. The hotel manager came to assist me almost immediately but he told me that he needed to verify my ID info on an email my father had earlier sent. Since I had to wait while he dashed to his office, he suggested I have a drink at the bar.
I acquiesced and decided to have myself a little drinky. After all, I had roughly 1000 shillings. I ordered myself a 350 shilling cocktail and before my eyes pop and the cheapskate in me could yell at the highway robbery taking place, I reminded myself I was in a many star hotel and that a certain kind of conduct was expected of me. Plus the manager knew my dad. And I was still the one who decided to buy a few drops of juice at such a high price. I assuaged my conscience by telling myself I didn’t spend too much of the 1000 bob note. I decided to perch my enraged cheapskate on a couch arrangement that faced the panoramic view of the outer Nairobi wilderness. It really was a sight to behold. It almost made me forgive the expensive bar.
The manager returned shortly and after a lot of procedural hemming and hawing, I was on my way with my dad’s stuff in a gift bag. My trip back to town was laden with endless traffic, noise and the ever present smoked scent of overpriced diesel that was quintessentially Nairobi. When I alighted from what was a looooooong low altitude flight, I just had to get something to settle my stomach. The chaos of CBD was making nauseous and queasy. By that time, I had conveniently forgotten that I no longer had the 1000 bob note but I went shopping like I had one anyway.
I dashed to Subway, obviously, and had myself a foot long sandwich with a double the retail price soda. After enjoying the calm and fresh ambience of the joint, I then went to embark a matatu for home. But after getting blasted in the face by a bunch of nganyas that smoked worse than industrial chimneys, the nausea recurred. I decided I had to have some apricot yoghurt and, of course, a bottle of flavoured Keringet water.
As I walked to the parking bays for our buses, I saw a book title I had been pining for. I immediately purchased it but was somewhat alarmed when all that remained in my wallet was a 100 bob note. And for the life of me, it didn’t occur to me where the money could have possibly gone. I hadn’t bought anything worth more than a 1000 bob. Exasperated with the inexplicable cost of travel with Nairobi, I marched onwards to withdraw another 1000 bob note from a nearby ATM and vowed to be more vigilant with my money. Unfortunately, I had to travel to Limuru the following day. Needless to say, the day ended with me with a significantly smaller note than the 1000 bob note.
Now what the escapade has taught me thus far is that I have a problem. Whenever it comes to seeing things I like, I let my fingers do the talking. I give out my money for sometimes needless products with the masterfulness of a billionaire’s personal shopper. And it needs to stop. How? No clue.
I want to be one of those gals that go shopping with wallets so full of notes- on a day nowhere near payday- they’re bulging at seams. Or the ones that have a separate wallet for all their many acceptable credit cards. Most importantly I want to make it to the end of the month without lining up at Nakumatt behind said women to go pay for one packet of milk with smart points off my Nakumatt card. Or having to constantly replenish my airtime with Bonga Points. #WalletGoals. Who’s with me?