It can sometimes seem impossible to save money when the prices of the most basic of items rise almost daily. However, it doesn’t hurt to try the impossible.
In a Twitter poll run with @Tugengirl, we asked you to share the adjustments you’ve made to your spending that have helped you hold on to a bit more cash.
Here are some of the smart, easy-to-implement money-saving tips that you shared.
@TugengirlShopping: I do wholesale shopping and only buy what I must from the supermarket. This cut my shopping bill by over 50 per cent. And oh, those with children can buy diapers (Huggies) straight from Kim Fay at warehouse prices, and they deliver. I also buy Kleenex from them – a 48-pack for Sh1,002, and I got cling film and jumbo foil packs from there back in December 2015, and I’m still using them.
Dog food: We have two big dogs and dog food is expensive, so we supplement with cheap rice that costs Sh70-Sh80 a kilo. Also, instead of buying bones all the time, we buy chicken heads in bulk.
Buying second-hand: Yard sales, OLX and Jumia are your friends if you don’t mind used items. We recently bought a juicer, bread maker (goodbye buying bread), slow cooker, books, toys, vases, plants and sports memorabilia for just under Sh15,000. The kitchen stuff was all high-end brands, all from Rosslyn Riviera’s annual sale. The stuff there is insane. We also sold some stuff recently (to make room in the house) for less than 25 per cent of the original cost.
Asking for discounts: Another super hack I learnt was to negotiate fees. My child is in a playschool near home, so I negotiated because I knew she wouldn’t eat lunch there or have 100 per cent attendance. I got Sh15,000 cut off the fees, and true to form, she went for 43 out of 120 days.
I carry maize and millet from home – I don’t buy supermarket unga. I also carry like 10 litres of milk whenever I go home, which lasts for a week. Vegetables, too, come from home in bulk. For other stuff like rice, I shop wholesale. I boil stuff like beans, greengrams, etc in ‘bulk’ and deep freeze.
Wholesale shopping at Tucha Wholesalers in Nairobi West near the McFrys lasts us six to seven months. We eat out rarely to never. What are concerts? We stopped going.
Also to add an item which no one has mentioned, gas with the heavy metal mtungi is Sh2,200 (for 13 kilos) at most petrol stations. I switched to Safe Gas, which costs me Sh1,600, and I have two (one is a back up). Also, my dream this year is to own an electric vehicle.
I always check out discount codes. Twice I’ve used the myDawa app one for an emollient for baby and paid half it’s original price/cost at pharmacies. Those products can drain your pockets. They’ve had promotions in March and April, so I’m here waiting for the May offer.
For naturalists, I buy my natural products in bulk from an online store (they also have a physical shop) called Sabihah Oils (I buy when they have 50 per cent-off sales). Other products like conditioners and gels, I buy in huge tubs from downtown Nairobi and they last a year.
I sold my 2,000cc vehicle and got a 1,500cc one instead; I’m saving 50 per cent on fuel costs per month.
@OwuorsonPre-pay regular bills like Internet, airtime and Netflix for as long as possible. Negotiate payment plans for any significant payouts, like rent and loans. Define luxuries and necessities, and then cut out the luxuries or reduce them to a minimum.
I’ve minimised mobile money payments and mobile banking. I just set aside one day a month as an errand day, and do what needs to get done. ATM deposits are free.
I bought a juicer-extractor so I can make breakfast and lunch smoothies or juices at home. I also schedule all my meetings for one day and one location, which allows me to cut down on transport and food costs. So, for instance, I’ll have three meetings, 45 minutes each, from 8am to 11am. This way I’ll just spend money on breakfast for myself and my clients, and save on the costs of meeting them in different places and having to order something new each time.
The most recent one is saving the better portion of my disposable income in a Sacco and ensuring that whatever remains only caters for the basics. This way, I have to be disciplined with the little I remain with for the whole month.
Avoid carrying around cash, debit and credit cards. Have with you only what you need for your daily expenses. There’s a great temptation to spend when money is within easy reach. Also, when you see a ‘want’, give yourself a few days to really think through it and then see how you feel about it later.
*Lightly edited for style
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