Each time I think about the Kenyan economy, a shiver runs through my spine. I feel that I’m not ready for whatever the economy has in store for us. I don’t know much about money but I have read several books and articles in the past few months in preparation for the inevitable and uncertain economic future. Additionally, I always talk about money with my friends and colleagues to learn as much as possible. With the war between Russia & Ukraine and the upcoming general election, we’re facing uncertain economic times in the near future.
The prices of most basic needs continue to rise but what happens to our income? Three constant things happen. One, we fight for an income increment citing these changes in our economy and our pleas are fulfilled. Two, our pleas are denied and we continue earning the same peanuts we’ve been earning for years. Three, our pleas are denied and we lose our jobs hence no income at all.
In any case scenario, we’re leaking money as we try to keep up with the economy. If we do not outsmart the economy, the odds are not in our favor. The economy will run us over and there will be nothing we can do about it. I thought that the pandemic posed the greatest threat to our economy but I might have been wrong. The current state of our economy is even worse. That is why I decided to share this article aiming to share my views on how we can all survive through these tough times. Let’s talk about money.
Make More Money
The first and most important solution is focusing on making more money. It’s easier said than done but that’s just it. That’s life and that’s how it has been all along. Regardless, we should always be on the move seeking to make more money ethically. The need to make money should not force you to swindle people. You should not even entertain that thought.
Over the years, I have learned that solving people’s problems is the easiest and most sustainable income source. Think about the society you live in, find problems, and be creative about how you can solve these problems. I don’t remember where I heard the phrase, “money is a reward after solving other people’s problems,” but it works like a charm. If people around you travel for miles to buy milk, open a milk bar in your neighborhood. If there’s no internet become their Internet Service Provider and if they need a bakery why not open one? Solve their problem and earn money while doing it.
There are various types of ethical and legal jobs you can do to earn more money. You only have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and ready to work. But what is next after making more money? Different people have different ways of doing it and we should always work with what works for us. However, I have found it more important to mind my spending. You see, we make different amounts of money and often these amounts sustain our families. However, there’s more to life than earning and spending it all.
As I had earlier mentioned, the economy is not our friend at the moment. Prices have hiked which means that we are been forced to spend more. Earning more money will therefore not cater to all our needs since we are also spending more. This brings me to the next step which is mending our leaks. A few months ago, you might have been earning a fixed rate but you were also spending less before price hikes. If you make more money and continue to leak more money, you will be doing the same thing the same way, and expecting the same results. You’re probably wondering how you can mend the leaks but don’t worry I have a solution.
Mend the Leaks
Like Kiyosaki put it, “it’s not about how much money you make but how much money you keep.” As established earlier, our pockets are leaking. This is despite making more money citing the high price of livelihood. By leaking I mean that we are spending more money than we should. I learned that this happens without us even realizing it. To understand this, I recorded every expense (everything I spent money on) for a month. At the end of the month, I reviewed my spending and realized that I was losing so much money. Most of it was going to retail shops and supermarkets. I needed to do something about this specifically reducing my visits to the supermarket.
That’s when I realized that purchasing shopping in bulk from wholesalers was the best solution. The following month I ordered shopping in bulk. After comparing the receipts, I realized that I had saved almost a quarter of my normal expense. I also bought vegetables in bulk from the farmers’ market and I saved more money on that too. I learned various ways of preserving vegetables so that I only had to go to the farmers’ market twice each month.
By doing this, I had mended the leaks in my pockets. Despite the prices of goods rising, I managed to save money because let’s face it, I was buying essential household goods at the same price as retailers. Also, buying shopping in bulk helped me estimate my monthly budget and plan ahead. This is important for the next part of the talk about money.
Emergency Fund and Investment
Now that you’re saving some money here and there, what do you do next? The most you can do in life is plan and work towards your goal. We have no control over what happens. I learned this the hard way when my son was being born. But it helped me recognize the need for an emergency fund. We can never know how much we need for emergencies because we hope that these emergencies will never happen. However, I learned from one of the books that planning for emergencies is one of the smartest moves. Once you have mended the leaks and have a projection of your monthly budget, setting up funds for emergencies is very important. The smart play is saving some money in liquid savings account for emergencies.
But I had learned better and my experience was proving me right. Inflation is slowly catching up with us and money is losing value each day. By saving money in a liquid savings account, I was also leaking money since its value decreased with each passing day. I wasn’t planning on mending leaks only to lose this money to financial institutions. I, therefore, needed to research various ways of investing my money but make sure the money was accessible. You see, with most investments money is inaccessible for an agreed period. But I learned of short-term investments that kept my money liquid.
This brought me to unit funds specifically money market funds. After reading a few articles and watching several YouTube videos I had gathered enough knowledge about these unit funds for the next step. I visited my bank to seek more information about these unit funds and how capital gains work. I gathered facts and set up my emergency funds in form of money market funds. This was a short-term investment that allowed me access to my money whenever I needed it. This way, my money was not losing value each day due to inflation since it was earning interest and I was getting dividends each month in my bank account. My money would also be available when I needed it to tend to emergencies.
Talk about Money.
The talk about money has been long overdue but now that we’ve begun, I have a feeling that we will learn so much by sharing what we know. I don’t know much about money but I believe that financial empowerment is a journey where we learn new things with each stride. However, to learn we must leave arrogance at the door and maintain an open mind. We must all admit that we are all learning because when it comes to money, no one knows everything. We learn and relearn everything each day. Let’s walk together through this journey. Share your views, feedback, and knowledge in the comment sections so that we can all learn. Financial empowerment is a process, one I hope to learn with you all.