Different money seasons call for different strategies and since the onset of the pandemic, almost everyone has taken a financial hit.
We are nearly halfway through 2021 and Covid-19 is still well with us - we can only imagine how much longer it will stay and the income disruptions it will continue causing.
This is necessitating the need for even stricter budgeting forcing many to tighten their belts to make whatever they have work run much longer.
Hence the focus of today’s money management article where we take a look at some strategies to make the money we have last a little longer.
Travel expenses constitute a significant chunk of our weekly budgets. Finding ways to reduce this can go a long way in ensuring your money can push you further for longer.
If you live far from your family, for example, you are well aware of the costs involved if you decide to travel regularly. You can save a lot if you reduce the amount of travel and schedule your travel time, whenever possible, during the off-peak seasons.
Additionally, take advantage of travel discounts especially in off-peak seasons, online vouchers as well as travel credit cards.
If your employer has a work-from-home option, you could dramatically reduce your travel expenses by choosing to work at home.
Another good option to consider is carpooling with work colleagues or friends saving you the daily fuel costs. You could also agree with your neighbours to be dropping kids to school in one vehicle.
You could also switch to taking a matatu rather than drive, walk whenever possible as compared to taking a taxi/bodaboda for distances you can cover if your trips were well prepared.
In fact, there are several advantages to being early - bus fares will typically be lower early in the morning, you reduce the chances of needing to take a taxi and you are more likely to not get caught up in traffic.
With the tough times, it is time to cut things that don’t work out of your life.
Anything that you consider financial clutter including relationships, emotional spending, unplanned borrowing, and everything else that costs you money but you can do without.
Most likely a lot of things that you can cut out have a direct or an indirect connection to your finances. To have your money take you further, do not be shy away from dropping what is weighing you down.
You probably already know someone who every Sunday afternoon, prepares meals for the entire week. Bulk cooking is a great way of saving money and the convenience it offers should appeal to both those who love cooking and those who find it a big task.
First, when you are bulk cooking you save on the cost of ingredients either through bulk purchase offers or the simple fact that for many ingredients, buying more is cheaper.
You will also have enough food available for the week (some do it for a month!) reducing the possibility of ordering take-out which is much more costlier. You can also take your home-cooked meal to work instead of buying lunch.
Perhaps even more important is the incredible amount of time you will save for the entire week, and since we are talking about money - should I remind you that time is money?
All you need to have is a fridge, a freezer or a fridge-freezer combo, big pans and pots and freezer bags or some tupperware.
Note that you have to be careful with storing the food in the right place (freezer vs fridge) depending on how far ahead it will be consumed to preserve freshness.
Do you have and carry on you one of those supermarket, petrol station or shopping mall etc. loyalty cards? If you are a regular shopper and you don’t have one, then you are losing out.
Many outlets have also integrated the loyalty program into their mobile money payment architecture meaning loyalty points are automatically awarded when you pay via mobile money.
While they might not be worth much in the beginning, you can redeem them for a significant purchase when you hit a rough patch financially.
For example, you could redeem Safaricom’s Bonga Points to purchase a phone or buy airtime, bundles and minutes instead of using cash.
We live in an age where many are subscribed to at least one service, whether it’s netflix or pay TV, with some being subscribed to even more than 5 services. The seemingly little amounts paid for each of these services can add up to a significant amount even when not as much utility is drawn from some.
One option to cut down on such expenses is sharing a subscription with friends and family. For example, one streaming service can be shared among say 5 people with no additional cost. Just like carpooling, you split the bill and enjoy the service inexpensively.
The next option is to ultimately cancel subscriptions that you may not be using as regularly.
To do this, outline how much money you are spending, determine how much of a priority those subscriptions are, how much time you spend on each service and cancel those that do not seem to be equivalent to throwing money away.
Also, you should consider if there are other forms of entertainment that can substitute what you are paying for - cheaper or free options.
Budgeting is the most important thing you will have to do in your quest to make your money last a mile longer. Sticking to that budget is actually even more important than just having the budget itself.
The fact is that budgeting is the root system of your financial tree according to Tim Jordan, an author and certified financial coach. He proposes five simple steps to help you create your own budget and stick with it.
These five steps include:
If the pandemic has taught us anything so far, it has to be the utmost importance of planning ahead and accounting for unexpected eventualities that may derail our financial journey.
There is probably no better time than now to start laying the building blocks for more planned spending and crucially, learning how to stretch every shilling to its limits - get more value for what you have and channel your hard-earned cash to the avenues that increase your wealth.