Haba na haba hujaza kibaba is a Swahili saying which loosely translates to little by little fills the measure. With Nairobi being ranked as the fourth most expensive city in Africa, Kenyans are always on the lookout for bargains and ways to stretch the shilling. Below are some tips to keep your spending in check and ensure you are saving up your coins.
A report by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) in 2017 estimated the lowest cost to owning a bank account in Kenya to be around Kshs 6,436 per year . This is the average cost for withdrawals, transfers and account maintenance fees. How do you make sure that these costs do not go higher?
- Plan withdrawals– Banks charge different withdrawal fees while some accounts come with a fixed number of free withdrawals per month. Make sure to find out also from your bank the charges of withdrawing from your bank’s ATM vs. another banks ATM. The difference could be much as from Kshs 30 to Kshs 200.
- Separate your paycheck– (savings vs. current accounts). You can withdraw from a current account anytime whereas a savings account accrues interest and has limited withdrawals. You can approach your Human Resources Officer to divide your paycheck into these two accounts or have a standing order with your bank where at a specific time of the month, money is transferred from your current to savings account.
- Low interest loans– The growth of the fintech industry in Kenya has led to the growth of many array of loans one can have access to. There are traditional banking institutions, Sacco’s, mobile money loans apps such as Branch, Tala and Mombo. A quick Google search will present you with tons of quick and unsecured loan options. Be sure to check the reviews of such apps/sites as well as their interest rates as the devil lies in the details.
2. Shopping tips
- Wholesale shopping– Opting for this option saves you money per unit price of items.
- Deals/discount sites– Be on the lookout for holiday sales such as Black Friday which has caught on especially with e-commerce players such as Jumia. There are also many sales in clothing and electronic stores during the Easter and Christmas period. Buying advance tickets to events on sites such as TicketSasa will always cost you less in comparison to buying them at the gate. Restaurants also run BOGOF( buy one get one free) offers on different days of the week such as Pizza Inn on Fridays.
- Reward cards/Coupons– Be sure to take advantage of the loyalty cards offered by the various stores especially supermarkets where you accumulate points after every purchase. You are then able to redeem such points in store which goes a long way in achieving your saving goals. Most online retailers also provide coupon codes on their social media or on newsletter for their subscribers.
- Do It Yourself (DIY)- You can save a lot of money but requires a lot of time input. The internet has infinite ideas on DIY that can be easily executed after a visit to your local hardware store for materials or also using easily available materials in your homes.
3. Expense tracking and budgeting tips
It is paramount to know your spending habits in order to have a clear picture on where you can cut your spending. There are many apps available that can help one track budgeted expenses vs. actual spending plus investments if any. You can also create a personal expense tracking spreadsheet that can contain spending categories with set limits which gives you visual output whenever you go over budget. Most paid apps export also export their reports to Excel.
4. Alternative income tips
Are you pushed to the wall and have barely zero savings despite the above tips? You should consider diversifying your income streams. Have you invested in any stocks or bonds? Do you know any no fee investment funds in Kenya such as one offered by Mombo App? Do you have any skills that you could use to do freelance projects? The earnings from such gigs could go into your high interest savings account which will slowly but surely increase the money at your disposal.