I have since stopped reaching for my phone each time the tone for incoming message goes off because I know that it is probably a bank trying to get me to take a loan I can’t afford, or my SACCO selling me a holiday on credit when it is not trying to convince me to take a dividend advance.
Just the other day, a facility I had never heard of sent me a text saying that they could advance me Sh50,000 if I deposited my log book with them. As if.
It has been a particularly difficult year for Kenyans moneywise, and lending facilities, including the dubious ones, are falling over themselves keen to entice Kenyans that want to enjoy what remains of the year but have no means to do so.
I am, however, determined not to fall for the ruse since I promised myself to live within my means this year; also, the last thing I would want is start a New Year paying for a water dispenser that would make more sense in a hospital than in my kitchen, or a juicer that I will never use.
But it is not just the money lenders on a shopping spree, there are enterprising Kenyans selling weight loss. Before Christmas, mind you.
“We can help you lose more than 20 kilos and have a flat tummy by Christmas. Seeing is believing,” read the unsolicited SMS, which went on to direct me to a website where I could find out how to achieve this miracle.
Though it sounded dubious, I had to agree that the ad was ingenious. Weight loss is big business because there is always a woman somewhere seated fantasising about losing weight. Fast.
And if the extra kilos went before Christmas, then even better because she gets to wear a swimsuit with pride or skinny jeans without the danger of restricting blood flow.
Whenever my friends-of-a-certain-age get together nowadays, we always end up talking about weight and reminiscing about our younger years when we could eat a horse each, daily, and not put on even an ounce of weight.
Nowadays, even the smell of food makes us fatter. So yes, weight loss is big business.
I have, however, read and written enough about weight to understand that there are no shortcuts if you’re looking for permanent weight loss, therefore I wasn’t drawn in by the SMS.
But I was curious, so I clicked on the link. Turned out that the remedy is a Sh299 manual listing “spices, herbs, plants and liquids you can mix right in your own kitchen”.
The mixture, the write up claimed, can burn belly fat, increase metabolism, stabilise blood sugar levels, balance your fat hormones, boost your thyroid, get rid of small tumours and decaying cells in your body, “and generally loose (their spelling, not mine) up to five kilos in a month”.
Oh well, so much for losing 20 kilos in a month.
Allow me to offer my unsolicited advice — no matter how good the offer sounds, resist the temptation to spend.
There’s something about Christmas that prods us to spend thoughtlessly, maybe it is the cheesy adverts, or the sparkling lights and cheery beats played in supermarkets and malls this time of year; whatever it is, resist it.
I especially suggest that you avoid the food samples food manufacturers offer in supermarkets because they are what encourage impulse buying.
Take it from me, this is not the time to develop a taste for cheese; if you don’t take it, resist it because it will only leave you poorer.
The same goes for the many discount offers on clothes, because chances are that they are not discounted, in spite of what they claim.
Resist, ladies and gentlemen, you will thank me in January 2020.
The writer is the Editor, Society and Magazines, Daily Nation; [email protected]