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When I Started Working, I Used This Strategy to Save My First Ksh100,000 
When I Started Working, I Used This Strategy to Save My First Ksh100,000 
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When I Started Working, I Used This Strategy to Save My First Ksh100,000 

Farah Nurow
September 19, 2023

Receiving your first paycheck is a euphoric feeling and a gateway to independence for many people. However, to become financially prudent, it's essential to maximise the value of every shilling you make. Your early financial success is determined by how you spend and save. 

I recently talked to my friend Kamau, a high school teacher in Mombasa, about the challenges of saving as a young professional. Kamau was formally employed early last year by TSC, and his first net salary was Ksh40,000. He, however, told me he has little trouble saving money. In fact, he has managed to save Ksh9,000 monthly on average since he started working.

This picked up my interest, and I inquired how he did that. Kamau told me it all comes down to five steps, and he walked me through it.

Read Also: The 10 Financial Principles to Master in Your Early 20s

Step #1: Setting a Goal

Kamau starts by telling me the importance of having a clear goal before you start saving money. According to him, your "why" is what will motivate you to begin and stay on track. Kamau's goal was to create an emergency savings fund that could cover four months' expenses. 

As a single person living in Bamburi, Mombasa, he spent an average of Ksh27,000 monthly on essentials like rent, food, and transport. To build a rainy day fund of four months, he needed to save Ksh108,000 in one year, which meant saving Ksh9,000 from his monthly salary.

If you want to start saving, the first step is identifying your financial goals. What do you want to save for? Once you know what you're saving for, you can set a target amount and a timeframe. It's important to make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For Kamau, this was, “I want to save Ksh9,000 every month to build an emergency fund in 12 months.”

Read Also: How to Create a Goal-Based Savings Plan

Step #2: Creating a Budget

According to Kamau, you need to understand how much you spend and allocate every shilling wisely to save money effectively. The best way to track your expenses is by creating a budget. With an income of Ksh40,000, and after saving Ksh9,000, Kamau was left with Ksh31,000. Here's how he allocated his expenses:

  • Ksh10,000 for rent
  • Ksh10,000 for food
  • Ksh3,000 for transportation
  • Ksh3,000 for "black tax" (supporting family)
  • Ksh2,000 for a sinking fund (emergencies and future purchases)
  • Ksh3,000 for discretionary spending

"I was able to meet my saving goals by living below my means, prioritizing savings, and, importantly, setting boundaries with friends to avoid peer pressure," Kamau said. He further added,  "If you have no debts, the 50/30/20 budgeting rule is a realistic budgeting system to follow. Essentially, you spend 50% of your paycheck on necessities, 30% on wants, and 20% on saving."

Read Also: Money and Me: 5 Spending Principles That Bought Me Happiness 

Step #3: Embracing Good Spending Habits

Once you have a budget, the next step is to embrace good spending habits that will help you stick to your plan. This means avoiding impulse purchases and practising mindful spending.

  • Avoiding impulse purchases: These are the unplanned purchases you make on a whim. They can be small, like a Ksh200 energy drink from a shop you passed by, or large, like a Ksh3,000 new pair of shoes. Kamau says we should consider setting a daily spending limit for ourselves and sticking to it to avoid impulse purchases. He also recommends waiting 24 hours before purchasing a nonessential item to make sure you really want it.
  • Mindful spending: This is a disciplined method of managing your money by being conscious of what you buy. It involves being aware of your spending triggers and making informed decisions about where you spend. Kamau practices mindful spending by tracking his spending every day. He also told me to consider having a sinking fund that allows me to plan future purchases easily.  

Kamau emphasised, "While having a budget is great, the real challenge is sticking to it. I tracked every expense, recognised my triggers, and practised 'no-spend days' monthly, where my sole expenditure was on essential items like food. This discipline made all the difference in reaching my savings goals.

Read Also: How To Figure If Something is Worth Spending On

Step #4: Prioritising Savings 

Saving is hard, and putting it off or giving up along the way is easy. But if you want to succeed, you need to prioritise it. Kamau says, “To achieve my goals, I treat saving as paying an inescapable bill like rent or electricity.”

There are a few things you can do to prioritise savings:

  • Automate your savings: This involves setting up a system where a certain amount of money is automatically transferred from your current account to your savings account monthly. This way, you don't even have to think about it. You can do this by setting up a standing order with your bank or by joining a Sacco and signing up for a voluntary salary deduction.
  • Pay yourself first: This involves taking a portion of your salary and putting it aside before spending the money on anything else. The idea behind this strategy is to spend what is left after saving rather than saving what’s left after paying your bills. 
  • Avoiding Unnecessary Debt: Taking on debt means committing future income towards repayments, which can potentially force you to sideline your savings. Ensure you have a solid repayment plan that won't hinder your savings if you choose to take a loan.
  • Choose the Right Account: Select a savings instrument that aligns with your goal. For instance, if you are saving for a goal that requires capital preservation, use an account that makes withdrawals harder. In contrast, if you are building an emergency fund, you want to put your money in an easily accessible account for easy withdrawals. However, resist the temptation to use the money for other purposes.

Read Also: 9 Common Expenses You Can Cut to Save More Money in 2023 

Step #5: Monitoring Progress

Kamau tells me the biggest hurdle you can face when trying to save is a lack of motivation and focus. He says, “One way to deal with this is to monitor your progress regularly. After all, if you can't see your progress, you may not realize if you're making any at all.”

Monitoring your progress is essential in achieving any goal you set for yourself. When saving, this will enable you to estimate how much more time it will take to reach the goal. You will know if you forgot to make your monthly contribution and how to catch up. It can also help you adjust your spending habits, savings rate, or goals as needed. For example, you will know how to react if your income increases or decreases.

Some techniques Kamau uses to track and monitor his saving progress are:

  • Excel Spreadsheets: He has a simple savings tracker on his computer to monitor his progress manually.
  • Savings Tracker Apps: He has a savings tracker app for convenience and ease of monitoring on his phone. The app also doubles as his budgeting tool. 
  • Bank Offerings: Kamau uses goal savings accounts that send him regular monthly notifications about how he is progressing towards his goal. He also told me some banks provide savings products with built-in tracking features, such as digital savings accounts with progress graphs. 

Read Also: How to Organise Your Finances In Seven Simple Steps


Everyone's financial situation differs, so a one-size-fits-all approach may not work. When just getting started with saving, know where you stand and then personalise your strategy to align with your situation. Your income, expenses, debts, and financial goals will dictate your strategy. 

Next, remember that life is dynamic, and your savings plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in your circumstances. And finally, after fulfilling your objective, use your money for its intended purpose and set new goals. This will keep you motivated and foster strong financial discipline.

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Farah Nurow is an experienced Content Writer who enjoys writing creative and educative articles meant to provoke readers' thoughts. He loves sunny weather and thick books. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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