You can Live on a Budget and Save, and Still have Fun


Is it possible for one to live on a budget and still have fun? In my opinion, yes, it is quite possible!

I have a friend who used to spend most of his salary during the first two weeks of every month having fun, having only set aside the rest of the money for rent, transport and food. He had a KES 30,000 salary, out of which he would spend at least KES 500 a day for food, transport, and other miscellaneous activities. Over the weekend, he spent KES 5,000 on drinks, of which most of the drinks were for his friends. There was also at least KES 1,000 for tickets to different events, not forgetting the taxi he would hire to take him back home after his nights out.

Meaning that after the second week of the month, he had to spend his free time in the house watching movies until the end month, because he could no longer afford to go out for fun activities. I sat down with him and tried to help him sort out his problem, by showing him that all he needed to do was to budget and stick to his budget to the letter. I helped him make his first budget ever, and at the end of that month, he was so surprised that he could actually have fun all month without going off budget.

We approached his budgeting method this way;

Adapting to a Slightly Tight Budget

Budgeting is one perfect way to minimize the cost of living. It means putting down an expenditure schedule which helps in controlling what to buy and how to do it and gives the needed amount for every item. By use of the slightly tight budget, one has to write down a schedule that has both maximum and minimum costs for items needed. This enables someone to save money at the end of every month. In my friend’s case, for him to save as much as possible, the new budget expected him to strictly follow the budget below:

Item Minimum Amount (KES) Maximum Amount (KES)
Rent 7,000 10,000
Food 3,000 4,000
Transport 4,000 6,000
Fun 2,000 3,000
Savings 3,500 5,000
Totals 19,500 28,000

Avoid Unnecessary Costs

Some of the costs incurred every month count to unnecessary expense.

Let’s take the example of phone expenses. Some of the things we spend money on via our phones amount to a lot of money by the end of the month. For instance, if you are earning a KES 25,000 per month, why should you spend at least 5 hours a day on Instagram or Snapchat? These activities will use up a lot of your data bundle, which you’ll need to top up more money in order to continue using. Also, some of our personal mobile phones are subscribed to more than 30 ring-back tones. This can easily amount to KES 300 a month! We also have some other text subscriptions which amount to lots of money.  Another example is how we leave our electronics, such as TVs and radios on at home when we leave the house, or when we go to sleep. Or how we spend 30 minutes under that hot shower that uses electricity, which amounts to hefty bills at the end of the month.

These are all expenses that can be easily avoided and help us save a lot of money at the end of every month.

Walk or Cycle Short Distances

Instead of using fare for short distances, say like half a kilometre, you can walk and save that money to use it for another longer distance for a fun trip at the end of the year. That avoidable amount you use on a boda boda every evening after work, save it by walking. Besides, walking is good for your health, especially if you sit behind a desk from 8am to 5pm every day.

Go with Discounts Whenever Possible

Whenever there is discount on certain goods or services, take the opportunity to save some money. Go ahead and even buy in bulk, because offers are seasonal.

You can share with us additional budgeting tips in our comments section below.

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