A go-to guide budget for a single person
There are a few things to keep in mind when managing money just for yourself. With no one to fall back on and bills to pay, you have to ensure that you spend wisely and make the most of what to have.
Being single is one of the most interesting seasons in life, especially if you live alone and only have yourself to take care of. However, spending objectively and wisely can be quite tricky if you are not disciplined enough to keep track of your finances.
There are a lot of misconceptions about single people especially surrounding money, the biggest one being that if they do not have children, then they are financially untroubled because they do not have any one else to support.
However the reality is they too, have a lot of responsibilities and bills to pay.
Mercy is a 29 year old journalist living in Nairobi. Her budget varies from month to month but she has constant expenditures like as rent, water, food and transport.
Despite the perceived lack of “real responsibilities” in her life Mercy says she is utilizing this phase in her life to invest in herself.
“I’m using this time for self-improvement and self-investment before additional responsibilities such as family kick in. I’m currently studying for my Master’s Degree, I have also invested a lot in fitness activities and travelling,” says Mercy.
Coming up with a budget and sticking to it is easier said than done. Mercy knows this all too well because of the unnecessary expenditures that arise from eating out, unplanned shopping and travels and unexpected and pointless expenses.
To keep her spending in check, start saving and practice healthy money habits, here are some of the money-saving tips she uses.
Do bulk shopping
Stock up on dry foods and detergents. The last bulk shopping she did cost her KSh14, 000. The items she bought were cooking oil, rice, cereals, soaps and detergents, gas, tissues and electricity tokens. She buys fruits and vegetables every other week since they don’t have a longer shelf life. However she’s learning food preservation methods to ensure her vegetables last longer in the fridge to avoid wastage.
Cook at home
During the week Mercy cooks enough food at home to eat for dinner and carry to work the next day for lunch.
And since weekdays are busy and tedious, she does meal preps during the weekend to ensure there is enough variety for the week and therefore spends little time preparing food during the week. Coking at home reduces the temptation to order food.
Take advantage of opportunities to share costs.
Mercy carpools with a colleague who lives in her neighbourhood to save on fuel and parking fees.
She also takes advantage of the offers for shared meals and platters which means more food for less.
Don’t miss out on sales
Research and find out when different brands have their annual sales. Usually the prices are slashed and you’ll get good deals when you want to buy a new television, washing machine, microwave or fridge.
Start a long term saving plan
Whether its life insurance, joining a Sacco or a Chama, have a savings plan that can help you accumulate interest over time.
There’s joy in visiting your parents once in a while
Apart from the fact that it’s good to visit them occasionally, you won’t leave their home empty-handed. Mercy tends to visit them a little too often and most of the time she will leave with cooked food to last her a few days.
Live within your means, and in an affordable neighborhood
When Mercy was moving out of her parents’ house, she was looking for an affordable neighborhood, where the cost of living is manageable.
“I live near farms where fresh vegetables are sold at a cheaper price before they are transported to Wakulima market. This is where suppliers buy them from and come to sell in our neighborhood for a higher price” says Mercy.