Of Chasing Cents: January Disease

I have sometimes referred to January as the Monday of the months, especially one after a particularly nice festival holiday season and now you are trying to find your groove back or rather get back into the rat race, paper chasing.

January A giant Monday

January always feels as if it has way more days than all the other months put together, more so for those who over indulged during the holiday season and spent way more than they should and now counting the days to the January payday. Meanwhile, its beginning of the year, bills and expenses have piled up, groceries and basics are running, then there’s school fees and uniforms, oh and inflation adjustment while you are playing hide and seek with the landlord.

January Meme:
the first month of the year which can last between 95 days to 6 months. Depending on how broke you are.

These January Financial Blues are sometimes referred to as January Disease (not to be confused with the cattle disease Theileriosis which is spread by ticks and known as January Disease because of its prevalence during the January rainy season). The most common cause of the January Disease is a lack of financial planning coupled with impulse expenditure during the holidays. The festive mood is a consumerism trap by capitalism to make you to loosen the purse strings to savings you had been carefully stocking up. Now here you are, trying to convince yourself nothing tastes better than cabbage because that’s all you can afford.

January Log Standings
                     P   W   D   L   Points 
1.Cabbage            06  6  0    0    18
2. Soya              06  4  1    1    12
3. Rice              06  1  2    3    05
4. Meat              06  1  0    5    03
5. Liquor            06  0  1    6    01

How to beat the January Disease financial blues:

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director, “People should draw up budgets with their families and consult each other on priorities. Proper planning helps eradicate the ‘January disease’ from consumers as they would not have overspent through buying things that were essential and of priority.”


Plan and have proper budgets with families, consulting each other on expenses at the same time listing priorities such as:

•Utility bills
•Transport and travel expenses
•Make provision for expenses such as school fees which may include uniforms and stationery that need to be saved up for.

*Stick to your budget don’t be distracted by flashing lights, sales and discounts of things not on your budget…. Always shop around for discounts, do price comparisons before finalising.


Throughout the year, you should have a system of managing your savings, so you know how much you will have saved by the end of given period or at the end of the year and what you will use it for alongside the budget you will have drafted.

Growing up banks used to issue Bank Savings Books and each time you went to make a deposit or withdrawal they would update an entry in the book to reflect the transaction and authenticate it with a bank stamp. At any point you knew precisely how much was in the bank by looking at the book. It was also easy to keep track of your expenditure.

Beverly Building Society Savins Book
POSB Savings Book Zimbabwe
Bank Books

In this digital age of paperless transaction and electronic money, it should be easier to keep an eye on your finances but its also the easiest to spend the money as it is accessible any time at the swipe of a card or push of button using internet banking and mobile banking wallets.

The beauty of technology is that you can use online resources such as SavingsCalculator.org which has a number of calculators you can use to estimate your savings or to calculate how long it will take to reach a savings goal.

Once you have a goal and a budget, you can work towards those, with a bit of financial discipline you can live within your means and still have a budget to treat yourself to some nice things once in a while too.

If you subscribe to NMB i.e National Mattress savings Bank, it might be harder to exercise financial restraint as the money is readily accessible and thus easy to spend. You may need to entrust it to someone better disciplined or lock it away and have someone else keep the key… Of course prudence recommends one banks their money at a financial institution, but as one who has lived through an era where the banking services collapsed eroding savings I understand why one would rather keep their money close to them than bank it.

National Mattress Savings Bank


Where possible invest in other streams of income so you are not just waiting on the one paycheck.

Invest in assets that can increase in value over time such as stocks or boost your productivity or reduce expenditure like a home printer.

Invest in yourself! Upgrade your skills, get accreditation, professional certificates or further academic qualifications that make you high value which means a bigger paycheck at the end of the day.

Plan for the future

We might not be able to predict the future but we can plan for it. That is why we have medical insurance, funeral policies, life insurance firms. Plan for your retirement, when will you retire or how much will you require to retire and live comfortably?

Do you ever suffer from the January Disease? How would you describe your financial navigation model?




  1. Great post and pretty much exactly how I’ve lived my whole life. ALWAYS live under your means and never go into debt except for a house. That’s what I was taught and I’ve stuck to them. Not always been easy and let me tell you, some of the cars we’ve owned were utter trash, but we owned them and never had to worry about them getting repossessed.

    If people could simply be satisfied with what they had, half their problems would disappear…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those some serious life skills….
      Just remembered a quote from Chuck Palahniuk in Fight Club — ‘We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.’

      This thing about keeping up appearances is what drives a lot of people into deep deep debt and for what? To get likes on social media –as someone said we becoming a sad generation with happy pictures.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Money has always been tight for me as an adult. January is no different, but no worse for me. I don’t have the resources to go nuts with presents, and I hate debt, though it’s been climbing these last two years, mostly to get by. The weather here, however, brings me down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And its now a new month February, love is in the air and I have just seen a company that does DNA paternity testing offering Valentine’s specials, like are they trying to start some conflicts before the 14th
      Anyhoo you would think its easy to live within our means but nooooo humans can be surprisingly fickle

      Liked by 1 person

  3. But of course nothing tastes better than cabbage.

    You had me smiling at the January log standings. I completely lost it at the National Mattress Savings Bank.

    Very accurate and well written article. You did the Lord’s work with this one. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will only accept someone saying nothing tastes better than cabbage when they have a household full of groceries so I know its not necessity talking hahaha!!

      The National Mattress Savings Bank sometimes feels like the best bank, zero bank charges, 24hr withdrawals and deposits…. Although security might be a bit of challenge 😂


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha National Mattress Savings Bank 🤣🤣🤣

    I’m definitely feeling January disease this year! In the past I’ve been good at saving money, but I spent too much trying to make my PhD program work. Oh well!

    Also, I’d divide my financial navigation model as constant panic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The National Mattress Savings Bank has zero banking charges and 24/hr deposits and withdrawals although security might be a bit of concern 😂

      WELL its now February cheers to the new month may it be a less constant panic sort of model

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha the NMSB sounds great! Although the security thing is a concern. Maybe we could set up traps?

        I hope that February will involve less panic! Although in reality, panicking about money probably makes it harder to manage one’s finances well.


  5. Some good advice. I hate it that it has become so difficult to keep track of the amount of money you have. (You could count the bills. Harder with a credit card. How much did I charge to it already?) Thankfully, I don’t go too crazy with the spending, so January is pretty regular for me. This year, January went by SO quickly that I barely noticed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people will only realise they have gone over the limit when the credit card gets declined…. ooopsie 😅
      You must have been having fun this January for it to have sped by so fast haha!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not at all! Quite the opposite! Work’s been crazy and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop anytime soon. “The new normal” they say…. – heard it yesterday from my boss. I have to admit that scared me…


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