Life hacks: how Nairobians survive on a tight budget [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

This will go a long way in helping you save

6 estates in Nairobi area with sexually explicit Kikuyu names

Recently, Instagram and YouTube influencer Just Ivy asked her followers about the cost of living in and running a home.

This question was to inform young people looking forward to moving out from their folks’ home and starting a life of their own about how expensive life can be. The responses to the segment were amusing.

Most of the people who responded and had huge monthly expenses were living in Nairobi.

One follower described how he has managed to be frugal. He stays with the mother and they stay on their own piece of land where they have planted most groceries like kales, beans, maize, onions and tomatoes. Monthly shopping is Sh5,000.

They maintain a healthy lifestyle by having organic foods like sweet potatoes, arrowroots and boiled maize for breakfast. They don't have a house help and they use firewood to cook on most days. He earns a basic salary of Sh55,000 and he manages to save Sh20,000.

Live at the outskirts of Nairobi

Another mover explained she lives alone and her expenses can go as high as Sh250,000 per month most expenses being rent, Sh60,000 and a therapist, Sh24,000 per month.

The last example is a household of six people. The expense per month is Sh230,000 and she lives in Nairobi West.

The information provided by individuals on that segment clearly showed that it is not a walk in the park living in Nairobi but with the right planning, you can manage to hack it and be frugal.

The highest expenses are rent, groceries, monthly shopping and electricity bills. It is therefore paramount to learn the ropes of how to survive in Nairobi.

If you are working in Nairobi, it is best if you live at the outskirts of Nairobi.

Houses are more affordable and the sizes of the houses will give you value for your money. It is also more calm as there is no hustle and bustle that comes with living in the city. You can also learn to negotiate your rent before moving in especially when you are dealing with the landlord. Most of them are gracious enough and they will give you a better deal.

Living at the outskirts means the distance to your workplace is quite far hence you need to be wise about your commuting time so as to save a coin. Fare prices at 6:00 am are usually so low. You will save a lot of money and time commuting at this hour.

Commuting Expenses

If your workplace allows you to work from home, the better. Commuting expenses will be out of your budget.

Buying groceries and fruits from open markets is another tip that will save your coins. The produce is always fresh and the prices are much affordable.

Additionally, avoid buying pre chopped vegetables, unless it's for that night's dinner. If they have peeled anything for you at the grocery store, they will charge you more, and peeled and shredded foods do not last as long.

Also, things will be cheaper if you buy them while they are in season. A good example is with Avocados and mangoes. If you are fortunate enough to have a compound where you can plant something, take advantage and plant some vegetables like coriander, kales, spinach and spring onions. This will go a long way in helping you save.

If you have no family yet, staying with a roommate can also come in handy since the cost of living will be shared. This could be a nightmare for some but if you are lucky to get someone you can stay with comfortably and for long, the better.

Needs and Wants

Learn to differentiate between needs and wants and act on them accordingly.

Needs are things that you require in order to survive. Wants, on the other hand, are things you wish you had in order to improve your quality of life. Needs denotes requirements, whereas wants denotes desires. Mastering this will go a long way in helping you use your money on what you need.

Having a shopping list when doing your monthly shopping will aid in this. Also, look out for items that are on offer and avoid being loyal to brands which serve the same purpose unless specific products are not safe for you. The more affordable the item is, the better.

Additionally, have a budget and be disciplined enough and stick to it. With these tips, surviving in Nairobi will be a smooth sail.

The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

Should you wish to submit an Article to Pulse, do so via contributors@pulse.co.ke.

Njeri Kinuthia a freelance writer who is passionate about telling my stories about politics, entertainment and current affairs. I have three years of experience in article writing and a beneficiary of Ajira Digital.

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