By Michelle Wanjiku
We all remember our first paying job. For me it was a paid internship. I was very happy to finally be earning. Now the pay wasn’t much but it was my first ever salary and I wasn’t being picky. In fact I counted myself lucky; most of my peers weren’t being paid. Looking back on it there are things I could have done better to ensure I had something saved up after the internship.
I got a paid seven thousand shillings per month and to me that was a lot of money. However with 7 thousand there was very little I could do. So I decided to save the money I got. This is how I went about it.
Well obviously with a 7k salary I was not going to find a decent house to stay in. so I moved in with my sister and her family. This was not always comfortable but it was what I had to do. So I sacrificed my freedom because when you are staying with other people you live according to their rules.
Moving in with my sister solved the transport issue for me. When staying in Rongai I would spend around 400 bob on transport. In a week I would spend around 2k. Even though her place was far from Mombasa Road I would spend 150-200 shillings on transport every day. This cut my cost by half.
I also started using KBS and City Hoppa which was cheaper than using vans. I spent 20 bob using the buses compared to the 50-80 I used to spend while using the van.
I didn’t want to spend any money on lunch so I always packed my own. Buying food every day would cost me 100 shillings which would amount to 2800 per month.
The one thing I quickly learnt was that I cannot go buying things once I get paid. Especially since we were always paid in cash. This makes it more difficult to save. So instead of buying myself clothes, I would put my money in the bank.
So with the 7k I earned. The only thing that I subtracted was transport which amounted to 4k. so by the end of every month, I would have 3k to put away. By the end of my internship, which only lasted 3 months I had saved up 9 thousand shillings. Had I just spent the money after the internship I would not have had anything to show for it. This is how I managed to survive with the 7k salary.
It is important to remember that sacrifices have to be made especially if you’re earning a little. Find small ways to save money and be smart about it.
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Michelle is a Communications Officer at Career Point Kenya. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org