EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is part of our Money254 Partner Series produced in partnership with Absa Bank Kenya for the launch of the new Absa Buy Now Pay Later service for Credit Card customers. Our partners may suggest topics they would like readers to know about but do not influence what/how we write about it.
I vividly remember the moment I found out that my wife was pregnant. We were seated in our cozy living room moments after dinner, watching the news on TV. Taji, our 4-year-old son, had already gone to bed, so we were just having a little husband-and-wife chat.
Without saying a thing, my wife walked to the bedroom for a brief moment, then came back smiling. “Honey, I have a little surprise for you.”
“Oh really? What is it?”
She asked me to close my eyes and open my hand, and when I did, she placed something on my open palm and asked me to open my eyes. I opened my eyes, and on my hand was a positive pregnancy test.
To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was elated – we both were. See, Taji had been longing for a sibling for several months, and the prospect of giving him a little brother or sister filled us with excitement. Little did we know that this journey would be filled with unexpected challenges that would not only drain our savings but also teach us an invaluable lesson about financial planning.
The pregnancy was going well, until one day, during a routine prenatal scan, the sonographer's words took us by surprise. We were going to have not just one, but two bundles of joy!
The news that we were expecting twins came with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we were overjoyed at the thought of two new additions to our family. Still, on the other, we couldn't help but feel anxious about the financial implications and the daunting task of caring for two infants along with our preschooler. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
When the day finally arrived for us to welcome our twins into the world, the experience was both miraculous and challenging. The Ob-gyn had already informed us that the twins would be delivered through cesarean section. However, we weren’t particularly worried because we had medical cover, which we knew would cover the cost of the procedure.
Unfortunately, there was a complication during the delivery, which drove up the cost of the post-delivery care. At the end of my wife’s stay in the hospital, the bill stood at about Ksh300,000, but our insurance cover only covered Ksh140,000 for such procedures. We had to top up the difference out of pocket, leaving our finances stretched thin.
As if that wasn't enough, my wife faced difficulties in breastfeeding, and we had to resort to expensive baby formula to ensure the twins received adequate nutrition. A 400g can of baby formula goes for close to ksh2,000, and the twins consumed the can in about 3 days or so. Our expenses skyrocketed, and we felt the pressure of this new financial burden.
To make matters worse, the twins were born in June when the weather was uncharacteristically cold. Our daily laundry load multiplied exponentially, and baby clothes took forever to dry. My wife, who was already juggling the responsibilities of caring for three kids, was left exhausted with the constant laundry chores.
We thought of hiring a nanny to help, but we knew it would be expensive in the long run – plus, having a live-in nanny would be a bit challenging in our one-bedroom apartment.
We knew we needed a solution to ease the load, so we decided the best option was to get a washing machine. This would kill 2 birds with one stone – it would make things easier for my wife since she wouldn’t have to do manual laundry anymore, plus the twins’ clothes would get to dry faster. However, there was one slight problem. A good washing machine cost about Ksh50,000-60,000, but we didn’t have such money lying around at the time.
One Saturday afternoon, while having a chat with Kimani, a friend from my college days who had paid us a visit, I couldn’t help but notice his new iPhone 14. I jokingly mentioned how loaded he seemed lately, “Buda, siku hizi naona pesa imekubali, si unichanue pia.”
To my surprise, Kimani revealed that he hadn't paid for the iPhone upfront, but had instead used Absa's Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) product to spread out the purchase over manageable installments.
Intrigued, I asked him to explain how it worked. He explained that Absa's Buy Now Lipa Pole Pole product allowed him to purchase items using his Absa credit card and then divide the payment into installments of up to 12 months, making the purchase much more manageable on his budget. This sounded like the answer to our prayers.
Since I already had an Absa credit card, I wasted no time. The following day, I purchased the washing machine we desperately needed and activated the BNPL option, spreading the cost over 12 months.
Finally, I felt relief, knowing that I could provide some much-needed support to my wife without further straining our finances. The machine cost me Ksh60,000, I am paying a 2.67% monthly interest until I clear the balance.
One of the things I loved most about Absa’s BNPL was the sheer convenience it offered. Unlike other financing options that required a complicated authorization process, Absa's BNPL was incredibly straightforward. All I had to do was make a purchase using my credit card, then log into my mobile banking account, select a specific transaction, and convert it to the BNPL option. I then chose a payment duration that suited our financial situation. The product allows you to spread out your payments within 3, 6, 9, or 12 months.
I was also impressed by the versatility of Absa's BNPL. You can use it to spread out the cost of various purchases like furniture, clothing items, electronics, air tickets, hotel bookings, school fees, or even spare parts for your car. The BNPL option works for payments exceeding Ksh10,000, so it’s a lifesaver when you have a significant expense while low on cash.
Finally, I found its interest rates quite reasonable. As a family trying to navigate through difficult times, it was essential that we didn't fall into a financial hole with high-interest charges. This competitive and affordable interest structure made the BNPL option even more appealing, as it ensured that we could manage our finances responsibly and without undue financial strain.
Our difficult pregnancy taught us that life is full of unexpected challenges, and finances can play a significant role in how we navigate them. Absa's BNPL product not only provided us with a practical solution during a tough time but also taught us the importance of planning for the future and making informed financial decisions.
As the twins continue growing, we’ve learnt to approach financial matters with more wisdom and foresight. We now understand the value of preparing for unexpected circumstances.