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Can you survive on a 20K shilling monthly salary?

I was having a discussion with one of my friends on how she has managed to live on a net salary of 20K. She lives alone so has to pay rent monthly and has still managed to save around 5K shillings each month.

How does she do this? According to her, it’s just about being smart about how you spend your money as well as sound financial planning.

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Here are tips on how you can avoid being broke a few weeks after payday

1. Plan your shopping

When it comes to shopping, she advises that instead of just going to buy things without a list, you should come up with a comprehensive list of what you need and how much it will all cost.

Then you have to ensure that you buy only what is the list, do not be tempted to buy things you had not planned for.

You also need to get the difference between what is you need and what you want. Prioritize first on what you need.

Impulse buying is bad for your finances as you end up using the money you could save on something you don’t need.

2. Live within your means

Another very important thing you need to remember is that you don’t need to live in an expensive house if you cannot afford it.

For example, she lived in a house where rent was 6K including water and electricity this left her with 14K to spend on food transport and save.

“The reason so many people take loans is to fund lifestyles. Just because your friends have certain things and live in certain areas you want to be like them yet they earn more money than you do.”

Instead, you should to save and invest as much as you can so that one day you can afford that kind of lifestyle.

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3. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need

This is sort of similar to living within your means. Most people send thousands of shillings paying people to do chores they can easily do themselves.

A good example would be paying people to wash your clothes.

Laziness will make you broke.

4. Don’t take unnecessary loans

You should avoid taking loans that you will have to pay back once you get paid. This is because you end up losing your money in unnecessary means.

For example, if you earn 20K and you owe a friend or colleague 5K after you pay them you will be left with 15K to spend on the rest of your needs which might not leave you with much cash to save.

Another thing is to not take loans to buy things that will not increase in monetary value or taking a loan to buy something that will not enable you to earn more money.

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A good example of this is taking a loan to buy a TV or car instead of putting that money into buying land or starting a business.


Proper financial planning and management is the only way to ensure you avoid being broke immediately after being paid. You have to be smart in how you spend the little you earn.

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