When itcomes to money matters, almost everyone is affected. At one point in life, youare faced with a situation where money becomes a challenge, and you have nooption but to stretch your budget to makes ends meet.

TheCOVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. From losing jobs totaking pay cuts, the situation has proven that someone ought to be prepared foranything. There are several measures one can take to ensure that you survivewith what you have, depending on your status.

<p><b>From losing jobs to taking pay cuts, the situation has proven someone ought to be prepared for anything. </b></p><p><b>There are several measures one can take to ensure that you survive with what you have, depending on your status.</b></p>

Here areten realistic ways you can use to stretch your budget;

Buy in bulk

It’sobvious that buying in bulk can help you save money on some items. Whenchoosing this option, make sure to purchase items that a non-perishable or havea longer expiry date. Items such as tissue paper, rice, soap, cooking oil,toothpaste, etc., take time before expiring.

Buy necessities only

When tryingto stretch your budget, forget about the ‘luxurious’ things. These includethings that you can actually do without. Items such as bacon, sausages, juice,or snack like chocolate, biscuits, and ice creams are comfort foods. You canresume buying them once your financial situation goes back to normal.

Get a roommate

This mightmostly work for people without a family. If you are living alone, find someoneyou trust and live with them for a few months. Getting a roommate helps yousave on rent, bills, shopping, and even housework. You might end up cutting onthe money you’ll use when staying alone by a half.

Cook your own food

If you areused to eating out or ordering in, you might have to teach yourself how toprepare simple meals. The good thing is, there are lots of tutorials both onYouTube and Pinterest to guide you in cooking any food you want. Buying anaverage meal in Kenya, say rice and beef, will cost you about Sh200 or Sh300 inother areas. If you use this money to cook, you may prepare a meal that willtake almost three days.

Minimize what you need

Have youever checked on how much detergent you use when washing clothes or even theamount of cooking oil you use in preparing meals? Most of us use more than whatis required. You might use half the amount you normally use, and it will stillserve the purpose. Consider minimizing on such things.

Plan your meals

Now thatyou’ve learnt how to cook a few meals, plan on how you’ll eat them throughoutthe week. When planning your meals, consider cutting on meat and focus onbuying foodstuffs such as beans and green grams—try using eggs in place of meatand chicken. They are cheaper and healthier in terms of calories.

Go for a slower internet

If theinternet you use at home is mostly for entertainment, saying downloading andstreaming movies online in HD, consider using a slower internet. If you pay fora 20mbs speed internet, try using 10mbs; it might not be as fast, but you’llstill 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 hugefiles, pay for slower internet.

Minimize energy consumption

There arenumerous ways of minimizing energy consumption while in the house. Have youever checked how much energy you consume washing your clothes using a machineor the heater while showering? Instead, try washing your clothes regularly toavoid bulking them—shower in the afternoon when the water is not so cold nowthat you are working from home. Avoid switching on the lights if you do notrequire them. You might be surprised at how much you’ll save by doing suchthings.

Avoid moving around if you could

Staying athome sometimes might be boring. However, if you look at how much you usefuelling your car or the fare for public transport, you might consider stayingat home when trying to stretch your budget. 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 thebeginning of the month, you make your budget on how everything will fit whenyou’ve stretched your budget. However, if you don’t stick to it, you’ll go backto the drawing board. Put sticky notes around the house if you can, to help youremember the plans you make. Sticking to the plans you make will not only helpyou survive on your strained budget but also give you peace of mind.