Remember the 80’s band called Haircut 100? No, this is not about them.
With Easter fast approaching it’s a bit hard to focus on the celebrations ahead. Easter bunnies and chocolate galore seem slightly decadent when cash is king. Still, drama often fosters incredibly strong community spirit and it is great to see that our little island is no exception. There are fantastic initiatives being brought to life every day. New food and goods collection and donation points are being organised for those who are affected the most, charities are fundraising left right and center, there is even a CyprusAid concert planned in April and one can only hope that this will continue long after the initial shock of the news has subsided. There are very, very tough times ahead. And they will last for many years to come.
No need to state the obvious though, and I certainly do not wish to come across all doom and gloom. Instead, I hope to inspire and encourage some change of habits, so my post today will try to be about dealing with the crisis in a positive way.
Two bits of great news for starters:
1. anyone with less than 100k in the bank can actually be happy for once about having ‘so little’
2. since everyone is so shocked it seems that all non-essential activity has stopped, and the streets are empty with no major traffic anywhere…it almost feels like August (if it wasn’t for the weather)
Jokes aside, those of us who did not manage to transfer all our gazillions abroad before the bailout negotiations need to reinvent our daily routines and adopt a serious household austerity plan (the word ‘savings’ is so yesterday!) in view of mounting taxes and rising prices. Here are some suggestions, please feel free to add your ideas to this!
Petrol for transport – there are alternatives. Car pooling/car sharing the school run, hopping on a bus, swapping the moped for a bicycle and – why not?!- walking to the periptero around the corner instead of driving everywhere.
Food and beverage – buy local. Why should a Cypriot apple be less worthy than the New Zealand Pink Lady? Yes, strangely enough local Paphos produce has often been pricier than the internationally imported, carbon-footprint-heavy banana…that’s probably also partly why we are in the kind of sh*t that we are in today. But in recent days people have woken up and their survival instinct has started to kick in, pushing aside greed. Campaigns have begun to urge consumers to buy local and prices have been cut in an effort to lure us back. All those ad leaflets stuffed in our mailboxes? Totally worth looking at. Tables have turned and shops will be ever so eager to have us buy from them, it seems there are more 1+1, 30% less and other offers on stuff than ever before! And did you know that there are some fabulous local wines?
Electricity – standby no more. Switch off TV, DVD, computers, lamps and everything else (except the fridge maybe!) at the wall mains. It really makes a big difference on a monthly bill. When you leave a room, turn the lights off and involve your children in this, they are often the main culprits of leaving lights on. If lamps are used all the time invest in LED. A bit more costly at first but they last longer and use less electricity.
Water – save it. Prices have gone up a lot recently. I find that it helps to remember parts of the world who don’t have any of it, and that in some countries people have to drink water that is dirtier than the water we flush our toilets with.
Telephone/internet/TV – check it again. Prices keep dropping, and the contract you signed years ago may not be such a good deal anymore. The main players are CYTA, Cablenet, Primetel and MTN.
Anything we left out?