5th Feb, 2016
There are a million and one ways to spend money, with the same mind set, you should have a million and one ways to save your money. Our daily lives incur a lot of unnoticed expenditure, and it’s important to take note of things we could do to save around our homes and at work:
How much energy do you consume in your day? From your electricity and cooking energy at home, to running your car; energy is one thing we can’t do without. Even your body needs it. Think of how you can lighten that load, especially at home. Buy more energy efficient devices and switch off appliances and sockets when not in use. Opt to replace your light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Take shorter hot showers, run your washing machine less times, and save on water. Reduce unnecessary driving trips to curb your car’s fuel use. Try taking a cab once in a while – innovation has made this very easy for you, with the rise in car sharing services such as Uber.
Buy in bulk.
Learn to do your shopping once or twice a month. When you buy in bulk you won’t have to run to the store ten times in one month and end up impulse shopping for things you do not really need. Regular household items like toilet paper, soaps and so on are always cheaper when bought in bulk. You can get perishables in quantities that are just enough not to waste, if you know how much your household consumes.
Carry Meals to Work
It will always be cheaper to carry lunch from home compared to visiting a restaurant daily. Why spend 200 shillings getting an unhealthy meal when you can spend the minimum on what is possibly a healthier meal? Leftovers from your previous dinner, or simple foods and snacks such as sandwiches can tide you over till dinner time at home. If you don’t eat breakfast at home, pack and have it at work and avoid buying expensive coffees at cafes daily.
Before buying anything from clothes to electronics, always ensure you have done a lot of window shopping. This is especially key for expensive items and those intended for long term use. Comparing prices is key from store to store, and even on location. Look out for sales and deals, look for items online on shopping websites and online stores. Do not buy it immediately: sleep on it.
Pay yourself pocket money.
Start a new habit where you give yourself pocket money every month and don’t spend more than you get. Once you’ve paid yourself, the rest of the money can be channeled to your savings account, and will help you curb unnecessary spending. Most of us don’t realize it, but saving is a long term habit. The sooner you start, the more you’ll have in your kitty. Ideally, one should invest 70% of their income in earning assets; unless money is earning you a return, it’s a useless asset.
Restructure your Party Moments
It’s an expensive affair to go out, and there are many hidden costs. The time you spend there, your transport, spending on food and drinks on yourself and others. While an active social life is important, you can spend less and still have a great time. Instead of going out to restaurants, malls and pubs, take time to visit the outdoors and engage in more physical activities. When possible, host your friends at home, and take turns in doing this. You’ll be bound to notice how much less you’re spending, but possibly having a more intimate and great time.
Earn Loyalty Points.
Loyalty points go a long way when saved up for a while, as they can be redeemed for goods or services in the long run. Most major stores have loyalty or customer cards that give you deals and offers, as well as allow you to gather loyalty points. Shop at those stores whenever possible and accrue them, then trade them off when you need to. Banks like KCB also offer loyalty points to their customers based on the number of transactions or payments they make on their online or mobile platforms.
Phone, TV and Internet Plans.
The greatest thing about living right now is the availability of entertainment choices. However we tend to spend more on items that are not necessary. As you sign up for paid TV, ask yourself how much time you will spend watching it, or whether it will go to a total waste since you will rarely be home.
Can you substitute it for a cheaper service? The same goes for WiFi installations – find a service and package that suits your habits. Use free WiFi wherever possible like in the office, at a restaurant etc. when it comes to your phone, do you spend time making unnecessary calls to people ‘just to say hi’? Try and make your phone habits more efficient, and look for offers and deals from service providers.
Don’t do it if You can’t Afford It
The biggest challenge is spending on things that we can’t afford. If you don’t have the money to pay for it, don’t get into debt to acquire an item. Eventually, you will end up digging yourself a financial sink hole. Instead, save up and set a target for what you want. That way, you won’t be obliged to pay anyone back any money. The best life is one lived within your means. Don’t live for today, think about your future when you no longer have a job or regular income in your retirement years.
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