What's the largest amount of money you’ve ever made from a bet?
Mine was Ksh21,600, and something, in December 2016. I can’t remember the date but I can tell you for certain that it was on a Sunday.
This wasn’t your typical Sunday either. It was what you’d call a ‘fix everything in the house’ kind of Sunday.
I had just gotten around to fixing a leaky faucet when an unexpected thud caught my attention.
My phone had taken a tumble as it was hanging precariously on the very edge at top of my refrigerator.
The vibration from an incoming message sent it tumbling.
“Hiyo ni pesa,” I muttered to myself in a bid to ‘manifest’ my way to some much-needed money.
As it turns out, it was actually a money message.
I don’t know about other sports betting enthusiasts, but that ‘congratulations message’ always released some sort of endorphins in my system.
Ksh21, 600 and something! My leaky faucet project ended right then and there.
Next, one of the quickest showers in living history.
Money can do that to you, especially money you hadn’t planned for. It just keeps screaming ‘spend me, spend me, spend me’.
I decided to head to the Village Market for a meal. For some reason, eating there while figuring out how to spend my windfall felt like the right thing to do.
Those Lopha Matatus that ply the Ruaka route seemed like too much of a hustle so I hailed a cab.
“Take me to the Village Market,”I said, not even bothering to negotiate for a fair rate.
In my head, I thought of myself as the answer to the driver’s prayers that week. The money I’d give him at the end of the trip was somehow divine in my end.
I ended up paying Ksh500, before giving him a generous tip to make it 800 bob in total.
You should have seen me strutting around the Village Market like I owned the world.
I walked into some of those shops you just don’t walk into if your pockets don’t run deep.
After some serious impulse buying that left me 7k short, I made it to the food court where I splashed Ksh2,500 on food and drink.
During the meal, I went online to check out places to visit in Nairobi on a budget, but ended up checking out blogs on trips to Mombasa and other parks in the country.
A quick check on flights to Mombasa was all it took to kill that particular dream.
No harm, I thought. There are still plenty of places to check out in Nairobi and a girlfriend to surprise.
I think this is the right place to make my confession.
Before leaving Gigiri, I deposited Ksh2,000 back into my favorite sports betting site in a bid to make even more money.
I split my bets into 6.
Ksh250 bob went into 4 of them, with the game combinations I had the highest confidence in getting Ksh500 each.
This was a big mistake as I later learned.
Anyway, I ended up having one of the best Sundays ever, it was expensive – especially the meal for two at a local park, but life is meant to be lived has been a mantra for a while.
By the time I got back home, using a matatu this time, I was down to my last 2,000 bob. I kid you not.
Soft life isn’t cheap.
I checked on my bets and my heart sunk.
The excitement of the moment had cost me. It had cost me a lot.
For some reason, a single game was present in all my bets and it ended up as the one that would gobble up the Ksh2,000 I had split into 6 bets.
I had two options; call it a day and try again somewhere down the line, or chase my losses by looking into more lucrative bets.
I chose the latter.
The Ksh1,500 I deposited into my betting account was all gone by morning. Some team in the Chilean league chose that particular day to score 5 goals -it was as if they knew I had placed an under 3.5 goals bet.
In 24 hours, I had burned through Ksh21,000, a new record even for me.
The only thing I had to show for it is this little porcelain saucer (which I bought at some thematic store at the Village Market) with afro-themed art running through it that can be used to place keys or coins.
I still have it to date. A memento that greets me the moment you walk into the house.
My dad had always been big on the importance of budgeting.
‘You always need to have a plan for your money, or you’ll lose it all,’ he always said.
I always find the clarity one gets at these low moments rather funny.
I wasn’t ready for the windfall that came my way which is why it slipped away as fast as it came to be honest.
I still had a leaky faucet to fix, loans to clear and a disappointment to nurse.
However, I am thankful that my little taste of the soft life happened not only for the experience and memories made, but lessons learned as well.
A key one was the importance of having a list. It could be a list of financial obligations, a list of things I need to buy, things I want broken down to specific amounts, a to-do list...any kind of list really.
It just needs to be written down as it would have served as a point of reference at the time.
Free-styling with your money - regardless of where you got it from, is a big no. At least for me it is.
It’s been five years since I placed any kind of bet.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against betting. I even shared tips with some of my friends when it comes to placing their bets.
However, I accepted the fact that I don’t have the discipline needed for that particular field. Chasing losses can drain you both financially and mentally.
I quit after going through all my bets. The losses outmatched the wins. Those small small hundred bobs, two hundred even fifties had added up over the years to a staggering amount.
Let’s just say that the experience was sobering.
I won’t sit here and tell you that I could have used the money to build my dream house, but it was definitely a sobering experience. The house always wins.
I am now okay sharing tips with friends as I’m still a huge football fan. If they win, I sometimes get free lunch or more, in case they land whales, but I’m cool with that.
Money, like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track.
Worried you might find yourself in the same situation this Festive season? Check out our Christmas budget planner tips here and enjoy the festivities without any worries.