Ways to save money in harsh economic times.

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1. Sacco’s are a great way to save money and they give dividends at the end of the financial year. They also serve loans at a fixed rate 12 percent per annum so you don’t have to be worried about how much interest rates are going up. So even if you take a loan the interest money is not disappearing it is coming back in form of interest.

2. Buy goods in bulk at the supermarket. Instead of buying an item that is 40 shillings for 50gm why not buy a 100gm item of the same brand at 75 shillings. Every shilling you save counts. I have to put a warning though that you have to be careful. Sometimes you realize as I have that many smaller items of the same brand can cost less then a jumbo pack which is supposed to be a savings pack.

3. Leave home early to go to work. The earlier you leave the house the cheaper the fare. Just by leaving the house 10-30 minutes earlier can help you save alot of money.

4. Create a budget and stick to it. This is a very hard thing to do especially in the tough economic times where sometimes things go up every week. It becomes very hard to save money or even stick to the budget but have a list of core essentials that must be paid or purchased. Make sure you do this first. Pay your rent when it is due, do the comprehensive monthly shopping, put aside money for transport, tithe (if you subscribe to giving out the 10%), paying school transport and fees for the kids. Once you have done that first before doing other things it becomes easier to manage even if things are tough.

5. Try to shop all at once for items that are not perishable from the supermarket. This saves you time and money doing back and forth. It then becomes easier to buy things like milk and bread at the supermarket. If you’re like me who gets tempted by the goodies on offer at the supermarket and often end up impulse buying things like chocolates or junk food you need to stay away from the supermarket. Limit your encounter with it and save money. They say a man can be given a shopping list and be done with buying items in 10 minutes but a woman will go with a shopping list and leave more then an hour later with many unexpected items in the shopping bags.

6. If you like going out carry a certain amount of money to use. When this money is over go home. Don’t be tempted by the ATM that was installed next to the bar. That is a dangerous trap. That’s the reason why the bank is making money and you’re broke by mid month.

7. Don’t spend more then you earn. This is a controversial topic. I know we have to take loans from the Sacco or bank to do stuff because the money we may be earning may not meet the needs that we have. Generally they say that its ok to borrow money if what your paying for is a financial investment like paying school fees for yourself or your children (an investment in their future), for buying land or mortgage. Don’t borrow money to go to the bar and drink. Or to go shopping. Or to buy the most expensive car or electronics so that you show you have arrived. Those financial decisions have negative long term implications. On that note please borrow money from a Sacco as a first resort, family or friends as a second and the bank as a last. Don’t even think of going to a shylock the amount you will pay in interest will make your sorry financial situation worse.

Other tips

I got a few tips from the internet. Some were from an article by Sharon Wittmeir on 7 Tips on How to Save Money in Hard Economic Times
1. Save money by not idling your vehicle. For every 10 seconds of idling, it uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Every 10 minutes of idling costs about 1/5 of a litre in fuel.When you idle your car it delivers zero kilometers per litre. Too much idling is also not good for your engine because it isn’t working at high efficiency. The fuel doesn’t get completely combusted so it leaves the vehicle with dirty spark plugs and contaminated engine oil.

2. Save money at home by getting a leaky tap fixed. One tap can waste up to 11,000 litres a year. That would be equivalent to 55 full bathtubs! Also an energy saving shower head can reduce your water consumption by as much as 1/3.

3. Did you know that even your television and DVD player consume energy when they are in standby mode? Many electronics such as DVD players, home theatres, stereo, flat screen, media, CD players, etc all use power even in the standby mode so you may want to buy a single power bar that you could switch off in between times when you are not using them.

4. You could replace five bulbs with energy saving bulbs lights and thus reduce your electricity bill. They last for as much as four times longer then normal bulbs. They are also great because even when electricity power is low they still work unlike the normal bulbs.

5. The fridge is one of the highest energy users in the home. Make sure you adjust your temperature settings so that the fridge is not too cold and your produce freezes.

6. A crook pot is an excellent energy saver and you can put your whole meal into a pot, and it will be done in about 4 to 6 hours. These kitchen appliances are an ideal way to save you time and money. When you get home, your meal is ready.

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