If there’s something that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us when it comes to money, is that we all ought to be prepared for anything. From losing jobs to taking pay cuts, most people have suffered tremendously, especially those who did not have any savings. As the country slowly tries to go back to normal, it’s essential to learn how to save money when your budget is tight.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk can help you save money on some items. When choosing this option, make sure to purchase items that are non-perishable or have a more extended expiry date. Things such as tissue paper, rice, soap, cooking oil, toothpaste, etc., take time before expiring.
Buy necessities only
If you are looking to save money every month, forget about the ‘luxurious’ things. These include things that you can, actually, do without. Items such as bacon, sausages, juice, or snacks like chocolate, biscuits, and ice creams are comfort foods. You’ll be amazed by how much money you can save as they cost a lot.
Cook your own food
If you are used to eating out or ordering in, you might have to teach yourself how to prepare simple meals. The good thing is, there are lots of tutorials both on YouTube and Pinterest to guide you in cooking any food you want. Buying an average meal in Kenya, say rice and beef, will cost you about Sh200 or Sh300 in other areas. If you use this money to cook, you may prepare a meal that will take almost three days.
Plan your meals
Now that you’ve learnt how to cook a few meals, plan how you’ll eat them throughout the week. When planning your meals, consider cutting on meat and focus on buying foodstuffs such as beans and green grams - try using eggs in place of beef and chicken. They are cheaper and healthier in terms of calories.
Minimize what you need
Have you ever checked on how much detergent you use when washing clothes or even the amount of cooking oil you use in preparing meals? Most of us use more than what is required. Try using half the amount you usually use and see if it will still serve the purpose. Consider minimizing on such things.
Go for a slower internet
If the internet you use at home is mostly for entertainment, say downloading and streaming movies online in HD, consider using a slower internet. If you pay for a 20mbs speed internet, try using 10mbs; it might not be as fast, but you’ll still be able to watch the stuff you want. Even for those working at home, unless your work requires you to have really fast internet and download huge files, pay for slower internet.
Minimize energy consumption
There are numerous ways of minimizing energy consumption while in the house. Have you ever checked how much energy you consume washing your clothes using a machine or the heater while showering? Instead, try washing your clothes regularly to avoid bulking them—shower in the afternoon when the water is not so cold if you are working from home. Avoid switching on the lights if you do not require them. You might be surprised at how much you’ll save by doing such things.
Avoid moving around if you could
Staying at home sometimes might be boring. However, if you look at how much you use fuelling your car or the fare for public transport, you might consider staying at home to save on that extra cash. Only move around if you need to, say going to the hospital or if your work requires you to.
Make a plan and stick to it
At the beginning of the month, you make your budget on how everything will fit. However, not sticking to it means going back to the drawing board. Put sticky notes around the house if you can to help you remember the plans you make. Sticking to a plan will help you survive on your strained budget and give you peace of mind.