This is the Money Diary of a Work-At-Home Freelance Copywriter/Virtual Assistant

Occupation: Freelance Copywriter/Virtual Assistant
Industry: Writing
Age: 29 years
Location: Nairobi
Do you have a monthly budget? Yes, Ksh 30,000 although it fluctuates since I don’t have a fixed salary.
Loan Payments: HELB (Ksh 2,000 per month.)
Insurance Payments: My husband takes care of this. Lucky me!
Savings: Ksh 15,000 per month. Ksh 10,000 goes into my rainy day savings while the rest is for our children education.

Day One

5:00 a.m.- The sudden alarm sound wakes me from a beautiful dream. It’s time to get up and prepare our son for school. We have about 40 minutes to get him ready since the bus picks him at around 5:40 a.m. I make his breakfast as he washes his face and gets dressed. He takes his tea with bread or with any other available accompaniment. The loaf of bread for breakfast costs Ksh 50.

6:30 a.m.- It’s time to wake up our daughter for school. She is in grade three and the bus picks her up at 7:20 a.m. Since she loves taking her time in the morning, I have to wake her up in good timing. She lets me know that they are supposed to buy a particular storybook at the price of Ksh 250, which I gladly give her. Do I have an option?

8:00 a.m.- I sit down to start working. Ah! The beauty of working from home, zero time spent in traffic and zero shillings spent on fare. I switch on my laptop, and the first thing on my agenda is to go through my emails. I answer all the messages that need my attention, send some emails out, and then concentrate on my writing work.

10:00 a.m.- I get a video call from one of my clients, a content marketing agency. Apparently, we are lagging in our delivery and need to put in more hours. The news gives me instant hunger, and since we are out of snacks, I have to go out for some more. It’s also a great way to get some exercise as I spend most of my time cooped indoors, sitting on a chair. In my quest to buy some snacks, I ended up buying eggs as well which came to a total of Ksh 50.

1:00 p.m.- The eggs I ate at 11:00 a.m left me feeling full, so for lunch, I opted to to make a fruit salad. It’s mangoes season, and I have them in abundance, so they’ll serve as the base of my fruit salad.  I add some bananas and cucumber for texture and crispness. My light lunch sets me back Ksh 50 less.

4:30 p.m.- The kids come home from school, and I have yet to even start thinking about our supper. I also have to buy more snacks for tomorrow for both the kids and myself. All this will cost Ksh 200.

Daily Total: Ksh 600

Day Two

5:00 a.m.- I wake up our son and prepare him for school. Since I had bought snacks the previous day, I don’t have to buy more this morning. However, our son asks for some money to pay for an upcoming scouts’ camping trip. I have to part with Ksh 300 for the overnight expedition.

8:00 a.m.- As I sit down to start working, I realize that I am out of my monthly internet bundles and need to top up. I use mobile money services to renew my bundles and get them in an instant. This costs Ksh 1,000 every month. With the amount of work waiting for me, a delay would be catastrophic.

4:00 p.m.- I have been craving “githeri,” and so, I rush to grab some fresh green maize from my grocery lady. I bought five at a price of Ksh 100 and also buy a small tin of green peas to go into the mix which will cost Ksh 100. I’ll have to boil one of the ears of maize for the kids to split as an after-school snack.

Daily Total: Ksh 1,500

Day Three

5:30 a.m.- As I get my son ready in the morning, I realize that the remaining snacks won’t be enough for both breakfast and the mid-morning tea break that the kids have at school. Our son cannot contain his excitement when he sees me reach for my wallet to part with Ksh 20 so that he can buy “mandazi” during his break. Who sells an “andazi” at 20 bob, anyways? How big are they? I think I am getting played but oh well, such is life.

1:00 p.m.- Although I have enough leftovers for lunch, I am suddenly craving some French fries. The lady around the corner makes the crispiest ones. I mean… what does she put in those potatoes? They are so addictive. And lucky for me, they are not expensive at all. I walk to her shop to grab a pack which she sells at Ksh 60 and before I even make it back home, I have already devoured those hot and fluffy bad boys.

4:00 p.m.- The kids mentioned that they were in the mood to have chicken for dinner. I call our delivery guy who happily delivers a fresh, whole roasted chicken in 20 minutes. Our dinner sets me back Ksh 600. There were left over vegetables that I gave the kids to eat, which didn’t set me back since I plant veggies in our shared garden.

Daily Total: Ksh 680

Day Four

8:00 a.m- Feeling the pinch in my pockets from this weeks spending, I am suddenly reminded that I need to call a client to press him for money since it’s been two weeks since I sent my invoice and he has yet to pay. I top up on airtime since I hear the classic three beeps telling me I’m low on credit. I walk to the kiosk down the street from my house to buy airtime worth Ksh 100. While buying the airtime, I also bought some “mandazis” worth Ksh 30 which will be enough for the kids and myself to eat as snacks.

10:00 a.m.- While doing some work, I start to feel my energy crash which is a no-no because I have yet to complete a handful of urgent tasks. I run back to the shops and grab some sachets of coffee to brew at home. My midday pick-me-up will set me back only Ksh 50 but it will give me the energy to power through the rest of my day.

4:00 p.m.- My darling husband has been craving sweet potatoes and arrowroots for some time now, and since I am also in the mood for a traditional meal, I buy some which sets me back Ksh 300. These are the times when I wish I had land fertile and big enough to grow all the tubers and roots that my husband’s stomach desires. Why are organic foods so expensive? Sigh!

Daily Total: Ksh 480

Day Five

5:00 a.m.- TGIF! Today I woke up in high spirits. As I am serving father and son their breakfast, the boy suddenly remembers that I had promised to reward him if he excels in mathematics this term. The subject had been giving him some difficulties, and I have been trying my best to help him revise. He scored 94% yesterday, and has surely earned his reward. After bidding the kids off to school, I head off to buy the new toy that he spotted at the supermarket a few weeks ago. I have to part with Ksh 500, and I can’t help but notice how his dad seems to be enjoying this.

1:00 p.m.- I get a call from my fellow “chama” reminding me that we have our monthly meeting today. How did I manage to totally forget about it? Each member’s monthly contribution is Ksh 2,000, which you can borrow and repay with interest. Add this to the money I spent on my son’s toy this morning and I feel like the money gods have robbed me today.

4:00 p.m- While coming home from the “chama” meeting, I spot a lady selling some beautiful tops, and I cannot resist. I end up with two at Ksh 400, further escalating the damage to my pockets. What is wrong with me today?

Daily Total: Ksh 2,900

Day Six

9:00 a.m.- At least I got to sleep in this morning since I don’t work on weekends. I call my laundry lady, and she comes to my rescue in record timing. Once she is done with the laundry, I pay her Ksh 500 and promise to call her again soon.

1:00 p.m.- I had promised the kids some ice cream, and it’s time to pay up. We head to our local ice cream joint, and they have the time of their lives. Well, my wallet isn’t as pleased as I part with Ksh 1,000. The ice cream was not filling enough for them, and they ended up begging for more snacks.

3:00 p.m.- My nephew had promised to visit, and he comes over. It’s also some excellent news for me as my husband had promised to take me out tonight, and so, I now have the perfect babysitter. I leave him Ksh 200 to buy anything they might need. There is enough food in the fridge, and so, he doesn’t need to buy any.
Let the party begin!

Daily Total: Ksh 1,700

Day Seven

9:00 a.m- We came back very late, and I have a terrible hangover. I heat some boiled beef I had in the fridge and add some broth to it. This will kill the hangover instantly as I have to go to church.

11:00 a.m.- I am a staunch Christian who believes in giving back to the church, and so, I have to give my offering. I gave my “sadaka” of Ksh 200 and left feeling blessed and renewed. The kids finish with their Sunday school class, and we head back home. We pay Ksh 80 to and from.

1:00 p.m.- Today is family fun-day, and we are at our favourite restaurant. My husband foots the lunch bill, and I volunteer to buy the dessert. This sets me back Ksh 1,000.

Daily Total: Ksh 1,280

Next week, we’ll do this all over again.

Total Expenditure for the Week: Ksh 8,140

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