“The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” –T.T. Munger
I’ve always been told am mean with money when it comes to spending but truth is am not mean I just love bargains and whenever I can I try to save as much as I can. Well you can’t blame me though, being a freelancer means you don’t have a specific amount you make in a month so being smart in your spending is key to living a stress free life. They say sharing is caring so here are some tips I use to make the most out of my money and get the best deals.
- Being a mom to a young girl who needs diapers on a daily basis I had to look for options to get good brands at a good price. Most of us love shopping at the supermarket and believe they have the best prices but in some cases they are a lil bit pricey. If you take a walk in Nairobi and visit wholesale shops you’ll get better deals. Personally I find shops along Biashara street to have the best diaper prices–a pack that goes for 800+ in the supermarket you’ll get it at 500 or 600.
- Shopping for household stuff. We love buying one item at a time or in small quantities but this is quite expensive in the long run. Take for example cooking oil the liquid oil commonly referred to as salad. Lately it has been drummed into our heads that liquid is better and healthier than solid and majority don’t go for the best but are practically looking for something to use to cook at home. A quick scan at the supermarket and you’ll find 3L going for about Kshs. 495 or more. If you opt for the bulk option of say 10 litres and visit a wholesale shop you can get 10 litres at Kshs. 1200. If you buy 10 litres instead of 3 litres tins you save 450 shillings and still at the end of it you have a container that can double up as a water container. Same goes for other household stuff like sugar, tissue paper, soap etc.
- Being in formal employment has its perks like the retirement benefits. But being self employed doesn’t mean you can’t secure your future and that of your kids. If you can, set aside like 5000 shilling or more depending on your earnings every month for your kid(s) education. Setting up a junior account might sound good to the ears but the downside is if you are broke some banks allow you to withdraw the money at whatever time you feel like and this does not offer the discipline you need as a parent. I shopped around and realized taking up an education policy with an insurance company can be a better option for most of us who are not so disciplined in matters money. ICEA Lion and Jubilee insurance seem to be serving me well in this sector. As a self employed person you can also take up a Personal Pension Plan and save up for your retirement. Just walk in to any insurance company and get the details if it sounds good go for it if not keeping your money under the mattress is not a bad option either.
- Invest, invest and invest. It’s always good to have a bank statement that makes your eyes glow because the figures are good. Unfortunately if you are not the disciplined type all it takes is to walk to the ATM or banking hall withdraw your money and spend it in a day, week or month and you’ll be more broke than a church mouse on a Saturday evening. I’m not saying don’t keep your money in the bank nope, have some emergency funds kept in there but whatever you do try and avoid having money lying around that has no immediate use temptations to buy a new pair of shoe or take that unplanned vacation will always crop up and it’s and to resist when you have money than can be spent. I’ve come to realize that having a running project at any given time be it investing in property(read land because prices will always appreciate) or investing in a new startup will always help you avoid spending on unnecessary stuff. Most of the land buying companies around will allow you to pay in installments so their is no excuse not to own a piece of land somewhere. Only let your money stay at the bank if you are saving to get to a certain target and then invest it.
- Saving without pampering yourself every now and then might turn you into a tired and bored person. To help you stay disciplined and still get a treat, why not set targets and once the set target is achieved, give yourself a treat as a payment for staying disciplined and achieving your goals in the set time. And if you have to take a vacation, choose one of those months that people are busy with work, this way you are able to get the best deals in good hotels/locations. For example you could take a vacation in January when everyone is busy with back to school and back to work routines.
Just sharing what is and has worked for me. I’m not saying it’s the gospel to be followed by everyone but I hope it helps someone save a few coins in his/her next shopping adventure.
After all is said and done learn to live within your salary/wage bracket. It’s healthier to live in a low cost apartment(estate) where you can comfortably afford and be able to save rather than renting a luxurious apartment in a posh estate just to impress your friends yet you can hardly make ends meet and you have to live on loans day in day out.
“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” – Ben Franklin