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10 Big Purchases that Stress Everyone in Their 20s
Money Management

10 Big Purchases that Stress Everyone in Their 20s

In a dream world, money would grow on trees, and purchasing big-ticket items would be affordable even if you just got employed. But that isn’t reality. You have to plan for big purchases or save for a while to ensure they fit in your budget. Otherwise, you’ll get into debt or bigger financial trouble. So, what exactly are big purchases?

Big purchases are items that often cost more than you can afford from a single paycheck or two. They are fairly longer-term purchases and thus require you to research available options before buying. 

This article discusses 10 big purchases that often give young professionals trouble. Read on to discover how to make these purchases as smoothly as possible while staying within your budget and funding your long-term financial goals. 

1. Where to Live

Although choosing where to live is not exactly a big purchase item, it's the first major decision you’ll make after landing your first job or even the second and third jobs. The choice involves a lot of considerations. The obvious one is affordability. So, how much of your salary should you spend on rent?

It is generally recommended to allocate not more than 30% of your income to rent. If you spend more than 30% of your income on rent, you may find it challenging to meet other expenses or put away money into your savings account. 

Other factors to keep in mind when choosing where to live include:

  • Commute time: To reduce hours spent on traffic, choose a neighbourhood relatively close to your workplace. This will give you free time to spend on hobbies and other activities instead of being stuck in traffic.
  • Proximity to family and friends: When hunting for where to live, friends and family may play a key role. You typically wouldn’t want to move too far from them, especially when moving out for the first time. This way, you can always check on them without spending much.
  • Amenities and conveniences: Before moving into a new neighbourhood, consider the available amenities and conveniences. For instance, if it’s in a suburb, you need to know how far you have to travel before accessing groceries and other basic commodities.
  • Crime rates: Your security begins with you. Use the national police crime statistics to research crime rates in the area you want to live in. You can also ask your friends, family, or colleagues who have lived in that neighbourhood you’re eyeing. By all means, do your research. The best way is probably to ask actual residents. 

2. Quality Bed and Mattress

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping. But a bed and mattress are not one of those things you buy every year. Quality ones can last for over a decade. It thus makes sense to buy a quality bed and mattress even if it doesn't feel worth it now.

A high-quality bed and mattress will improve your sleep. You’ll sleep like a baby even after a hectic day in the office. They also promote good form and posture, help prevent snoring and ensure you rest well. Otherwise, you won’t be productive at work.

However, they can be costly. The price of a quality mattress ranges from Ksh20,000 to as high as Ksh160,000 and beyond. The price depends on the type, size, and density. On the other hand, the price of a quality bed ranges from as low as Ksh30,000 to Ksh100,000 or even higher. 

Figuring out how and when to purchase a quality bed and mattress without overburdening yourself financially is important. You have to give yourself a timeline and make do with the furniture you had in college for a while as you pace yourself to afford the ideal bed and mattress. This is much better than purchasing an okay bed and mattress that will not last long and will not have the desired quality sleep benefits. 

How about beddings, duvets, sheets etc? Bundle these costs together into your “quality sleep” package. 

3. Living room furniture

You spend most of your time in your living room. As such, buying living room furniture is a substantially important investment. However, knowing which pieces are worth the splurge can be tricky. Here are a few tips to consider before buying furniture for your living room.

  • Size of the living room: The size of your living room dictates what type of furniture you can buy. If you're short on space, consider investing in a convertible couch or a coffee table with drawers.
  • Cost: This is an obvious consideration. Make sure the furniture pieces you buy fit your budget. This is where cheap in expensive may come very true.  
  • Durability: You don’t buy living room furniture every couple of years. So, before buying, check the materials used in making the furniture. Although those made of quality material are more expensive, you’ll get the best value for money.

Read Also: 5 Items That Prove Cheap Can Be Very Expensive

4. Fridge

Buying a fridge early in your career can be a great way to save money in the long term. Stocking up a variety of foods will help you save costs. Besides, buying perishables in bulk saves time. But like any purchase, it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying a fridge.

  1. Size: How much space do you have in your kitchen? If you have a small kitchen, you’ll want to make sure you buy a fridge that fits. Most importantly get the size that fits your current and medium-term needs.
    With warranties of up to 10 years - at least on the compressor - a fridge is supposed to last quite a long time. But it is likely, that you will need a bigger one once you start a family. It may not be wise to get a large one if you plan on starting your family later in your 30s. Save that extra money. 
  2. Energy efficiency: This is important for any appliance, especially fridges. Look for a refrigerator with a high energy star rating. 
  3. Price: Fridges can range in price from as low as Ksh20,000 to over Ksh100,000. It’s important to set a budget and stick to it. But what are you getting for what price? 
  4. Warranties: Most fridges come with a one-year warranty and longer warranties on the compressor specifically. You may have to pay more if you want a longer warranty. Comparing the warranties offered by different brands could get you a better deal for the same price. 
  5. Features: Fridges come with various features these days, from water and ice dispensers to ice cream makers and built-in TVs. You'll want to decide which features are important to you and which you can live without.

5. Entertainment unit (TV, Sound System)

TVs and sound systems are two of the most important pieces of equipment in any home - for most people. They provide entertainment and relaxation and can also aid remote work. However, they can also be a major financial investment. If you’re just starting your career, you may not have the disposable income to purchase these items outright.

But there are a few reasons why you may want to consider buying a TV and sound system early in your career.

You’ll have more time to enjoy your TV and sound system. If you wait until you’re older to purchase a TV and sound system, you may not have as much time to enjoy it - since, kids!

Your personal entertainment unit is important for your mental health if that’s what gets you relaxed. You don’t want to come home to a dead house. 

At the same time, you want to get the best deals for the most technologically advanced systems. A lot of shopping and deal chasing will be involved. Some brands and retailers have incredible seasonal discounts that you have to take advantage of.

You could also consider the hire purchase or lipa pole pole model that has really taken off in Kenya in recent years. 

6. Professional Wardrobe

Now that you’re employed, you should always dress the part. You’ll need to create at least two weeks of different outfits. If you work five days every week, this could mean 10 different outfits. 

However, you don’t have to get them at once. You can set aside money from each paycheck to buy two or more pieces. Here are a few tips to help you create a professional wardrobe:

  • Ask about the company’s dress code to create a wardrobe that matches your workplace culture.
  • Assess your outfits to know what you already have and what you need to have.
  • Acquire the wardrobe basics you’re missing.
  • Don’t succumb to the pressure of being the most stylish in the office at the expense of your pocket
  • Pace yourself

7. Washing Machine

You could get by without a washing machine for a few years. But eventually, you’ll need it. And if you wait until you’re settled into your career and life, you might not afford the model you want - since the costs keep rising while the machine could last quite a long time. 

So if you’re in your 20s and thinking of buying a washing machine, it may be a great idea to go for it! 

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you'll want to ensure you have the space for a washing machine. If you're living in a small apartment or home, you might not have the room for a full-sized washing machine. 

You'll also want to consider how often you use the washing machine. If you're single or live in a small household, you might not need to use the washing machine as often as someone with a larger family.

The cost consideration is always a tricky one. Yes, you want to keep the costs as low as possible but how cheap is cheap? Some cheap ones require to be manually operated, do you want to spend Ksh30,000 and still have to be there to move the clothes to the next cycle? 

Do you want to spend Ksh60,000 and have to hang your clothes out to dry or add another Ksh10k and get a washer-dryer? Do you really need a dryer? So many considerations. Take your time for this almost one-time purchase. How soon will you need to upgrade to a bigger capacity machine? 

Finally, you'll want to consider the washing machine's warranty. Most washing machines come with a one-year warranty. However, some washing machines have a longer warranty. If you're planning on using the washing machine for a long time before replacing it, you might want to consider a machine with a longer warranty.

8. Quality Tech Gadgets( Laptop smartphone)

When you first start working, it can be tempting to want to buy all the latest, trendiest gadgets. But before you go on a spending spree, it’s important to sit down and assess your needs. 

Do you need that new smartphone, or can you make do with your old one for a little longer? Is that new gaming console going to improve your life, or will it just end up collecting dust in your closet? 

Can you make do with a company laptop or even desktop and save pole pole for your personal unit? 

Once you’ve figured out what you need, you can start making a budget. Here’s how to purchase tech gadgets without breaking the bank.

  • Buy refurbished products: These are products that were sent back to the manufacturer, repaired by experts and tested before being sold. They are just as excellent as new products and are way cheaper. 
  • Keep an eye out for the best deals: There is certainly no shortage of discounts on electronic products. Compare both online merchants and brick-and-mortar establishments for the best deals.
  • Buy what you need: You can easily get caught in tech products' hype. But you don’t need every new tech product.  For instance, AI personal assistants in the living room are becoming common. But is this what you need right now?

9. Quality Cooking Tools and Appliances (Cooker, Microwave, Gas cylinder, pots, pans, cutlery)

After a hectic day at work, eating out or ordering takeout might feel like the real deal. But cooking for yourself is probably the better option. Not only do you have more control over the ingredients, but it’s up to ten times cheaper than eating out

Quality cookware is generally that which lasts longer, is less susceptible to breakage or malfunction and makes working in the kitchen easy and enjoyable. You'll save money in the long run because you won't have to replace kitchenware often.

Perhaps you are not a big fan of cooking because you find it hectic. What quality kitchen equipment should do is make your life easier. You won't have to worry about your food sticking to your pans or burning when you have quality cookware. You'll also have an easier time cleaning your cookware. 

Decide what your kitchen needs are, and take some time to imagine the most ideal kitchen for you. Then create a roadmap with the most essential items first and the vanity ones later. Building that ideal kitchen that inspires you to cook and eat healthily will take a couple of years - it will only be worth it if you go for quality. 

10. A Car

If you’re like most people, buying a car is not a priority early in your career. But if you’re in a profession that requires you to be mobile, a car can be a necessity from the get-go. 

For instance, if you are a sales agent or your work involves frequent trips out of town, owning a car may be your top priority. 

All in all, buying a car early in your career can benefit you. For one, it makes it easier to visit several places in a day. This allows you to do side hustles or work and study simultaneously. 

Plus, if you’re looking to grow professionally, a car can give you the freedom to travel to different places for networking or job interviews. 

However, there are a few things to remember if you’re considering buying a car early in your career. You need to make sure you can afford the monthly payments if you are taking a loan. You’ll also want to consider whether you need a car for work or personal use.

If you're unsure whether buying a car is the right decision, it's always a good idea to talk to a financial advisor. They can help you weigh the pros and cons.

Learn more: Buying Your First Car? 8 Things You Need to Learn Now.


Making big purchases early in your career is always a bit daunting, but it doesn't have to be stressful. First, be sure to set aside enough money to cover the purchase without jeopardising your long-term financial goals which are much more important than any of these items. 

Second, research and understand all the terms and conditions associated with the purchase. 

Finally, talk to someone experienced in making similar purchases to get their advice. With these things in mind, you can be sure to make a smart and informed purchase that will help you live a more comfortable life and energise you to grow your career.

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Washika is a seasoned SEO content writer and copywriter with proven experience in creating unique, insightful and engaging content for a wide range of audiences that ranks high on search engines. Learn more about his work by visiting his LinkedIn profile.

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