Hey, so I have been working on my financial literacy and so far so good. I came up with a few steps that I have been following faithfully since January. However, I fell off the wagon a few times but I am back on track. I have shared some of those steps below.
- Weekly Budgets. Apart from having a monthly budget that has expenses such as rent, electricity, food and water, I set aside a certain amount for the week to cater for transport, lunch and the random stuff I buy.
- Cash vs mobile money. The weekly amount that I set aside, is in the form of cash. I am reducing the number of transactions I make via mpesa because I tend to go overboard and feel like I can afford everything. When I pay in cash I feel that pain of breaking 1000 shillings and become cautious about how I spend.
- Buy in bulk. I realized that I was constantly reloading airtime via mpesa. Whenever bundles got finished, I bought more and ended up overspending on airtime in general. I decided to buy the monthly offers for data. I haven’t found a good offer for minutes but I buy a certain amount of airtime to cater for talk time. This has made me more disciplined in a way. I bought the 10 GB monthly bundle offer for Telkom in January and it lasted till the 31st. Apart from trying to utilize Wi-Fi whenever it is available, I have also reduced the amount of time I spend online.
- Write down how much you spend. Initially, I had a spreadsheet where I could write my daily expenses and with time I could track where my money was going (for me it was those Tuskys muffins) and also identify where I could cut down. I used it for three months and now I just have a notebook where I indicate the amount, item and mode of payment every day. This has been a lifesaver. A few weeks ago I thought I lost 500 shillings but when I did my accounting I found out where I used it. Last week I couldn’t account for 20 shillings and it has bugged me so much.
- Keep receipts. Now that I am trying to make more cash transactions and write down how much I spend, keeping receipts helps me track exactly what I bought and how much. It is a simple way of tracking how much you have spent even if you don’t write it down.
Those are the simple steps. There are days I won’t stick to the budget because I saw a nice top or I really wanted cake. It is a work in progress, but being able to account for every cent gives me so much peace. There was a time I could just say I had 2000 shillings but had no idea how it was spent so I am glad I am making these small changes.