You must always live within your means, even when times are tough. Our economy has taken a knock and there is not much money lying around to spend. It needs a survival dance. Therefore, it is crucial to know what is guzzling your money. When there is no fat to cut, cut the meat and, if necessary, even cut the bones. To do this, one needs both financial and emotional intelligence. We tend to think that educated people automatically possess financial finesse, but most of the time it is exactly the opposite.I went to an insurance company to cash in my investment. The gentleman assisting me told me that they can loan me money or refinance my debts. I told him nicely that I do not need that. Why should I take a loan and repay it with interest when I can use my savings? When I left, he asked me to refer anyone with financial problems to him. But that is something I will never do. A loan never lessens financial burdens – it only makes them worse. I learnt with dismay that many people loan money from this bank to go and pay off the loan of another bank. They will be paying interest for the loan to pay a loan, which also has interest. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is not the solution. I know it is difficult. The other day I was addressing a women’s group and I asked them whether they still remember how nice pap and spinach is. Why do we have to eat meat every day? Why don’t we eat more vegetables? I hear that eating just one meatless dinner per week can also help the environment. Often we do things to impress other people. I admit that I sometimes post on social media that I am at a restaurant and give its location, even though I am at home. The other day I posted a picture of a watch that I bought in 2006, and people were so impressed because it is a certain brand. People can be so vain.I think of a certain cricketer who had been banned for eight years due to match fixing. People asked how he could do such a thing, but the answer is simple. It is the pressure society puts on you that, as a celebrity, you must behave a certain way. Your clothes, car, house and lifestyle must show that you have money. I once wrote that I am not my hair. This was after somebody commented that my hair has looked the same for many years. One is tempted to quote Attitude to Inspiration and say: “I am a woman of substance. Don’t define who I am by the way I look or the clothes I choose to wear.”I am talking to you, my brother, to you, my sister. Do not live a life you cannot afford because of pride and vanity.