Dealing with a Shrinking Salary
Nowadays, it can only take a couple of months for the value of your salary to drastically reduce. Just a few months ago 20-50 SDG could buy you a pretty decent meal but now sandwiches start at about 50 SDG and a meal could cost you anywhere from 100-200 SDG. We all know that the economy is a bit crazy right now, but what can we do about it? How can we make use of a salary that just doesn’t buy what it used to?
“This is not the first time that we here in Sudan have had to undergo financial struggle and we know very well that somehow, someway, that we are provided for and of course we have attributed this provision to Allah.”
Below is a list a few ways to help cope with the current situation.
- Ask to be paid in foreign currency: Many professional workers in Sudan work for companies that either sell their products and services to buyers outside of the country or are financed by foreign investors or organizations. It is no secret that many of Sudan’s products are priced according to the US Dollar (USD) and so if you are paid in USD your cost of living should not go up and in fact it may actually go down. If you are fortunate enough to be working for one of these companies and you are being paid a fixed SDG rate, ask them if it’s possible to be paid in foreign currency so as to help maintain a comfortable living standard. A comfortable worker is a happy worker and a happy worker is a productive worker.
- Get a second job: Although this isn’t the best of suggestions it is certainly not the worst. Many of us are tired after a long day’s work and are not looking forward to doing another shift at the end of the day, however some second jobs are as easy as driving back home. Take Tirhal, Mishwar, Lemon, and Ober drivers, for example. Many are part time drivers who are simply picking up passengers on their way back home. Others, instead of wasting time in traffic jams, like taxi drivers can choose which fares (Mishwar) they take and work in areas close to their place of work or home. And if you don’t have a car, you can also avoid sitting in a bus in traffic by getting a part time job after work for an hour or two until the roads are cleared.
- Invest in a side business: Despite many complaints about not being able to find work in Sudan, our country is full of opportunities to be cashed in on for those who are willing to open their eyes to them. Many successful businesses start by providing a product or service to fulfill a gap or need in the market. Study your environment carefully and you may come across many ideas that can turn into successful business ventures. You don’t have money to invest? No problem… look for a partner who can invest the money while you yourself handle the actual operations.
- Waste less: Honestly speaking, many of us complain of having no money because we love to live above our means. Either we eat out too much or live without a fixed monthly budget and do not carefully track our expenses. Calculate the amount of money you would like to save each month and make a strict financial budget. Live frugally by using less brand name products and use homemade alternatives for everything from Shampoo to Deodorant to Body Lotion. Don’t forget to stop buying expensive food and drinks that are usually not healthy for you and can eat into your salary.
- Give charity: Huh? That’s right, if you give to those who are less fortunate than you with your wealth or your time, we believe that we will be paid back and then some (and more). This is an old belief that we have that derives from our Islamic and communal customs and has been proven time and time again. So in these hard times, don’t be stingy because if you do you may be inadvertently robbing yourself from unknown opportunities to be reaped.
It will take some effort to put into action any of the above suggestions but as they say, “no pain, no gain”. At the end of the day there is a wonderful saying and truth that Sudanese have known for generations and that is, “Allah Kareem” or “God is Generous”. This is not the first time that we here in Sudan have had to undergo financial struggle and we know very well that somehow, someway, that we are provided for and of course we have attributed this provision to Allah. May your affairs be eased during these financially turbulent times. Ameen.
Al Jazar: A Minimalist Approach
On Al Jazar Street in al Riyadh Khartoum, under a large white sign spelling out the word “Al Jazar” in big bold black-lined red letters, is a great little take out for a delicious kufta sandwich. As the namesake explicates, the enterprise is a byproduct…