Welcome to The Coin Confession by Africa’s Pocket! We are demystifying how people spend their money by asking everyday people to share their spending over a 7-day period.
Today: A young female professional currently enjoying the life of a consultant.
Salary and monthly expenses
Salary: KES 70,000 — KES 100,000
Rent: 0, I’m still enjoying the luxury of staying at home although I’m moving out in a few months
Savings: 60% of my salary (I know I know. But I have saved quite a lot because I still stay at home)
Other monthly expenses: Fuel KES 16,000, Airtime KES 2,000, Food/treats KES 8,000, Enjoyment KES 10,000
Weekly budget: KES 10,000
5:45 AM: My alarm goes off for the second time, and this time, I really do need to get up. I’ve set the alarm to the same tone as my ringtone (it’s a psychological trick I’ve found my mind responds well to).
9:00 AM: I like to have a nice bowl of muesli with yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, because it is very easy to prepare and pack for work. Usually, I will eat this on the drive to work, though a lot of times I wind up having it from the office. I will, occasionally, wash this down with a cup of coffee, though I am trying to cut down on my coffee intake.
1:00 PM: By midday, my mind begins to wander, and I start to get hungry (or notice that I am hungry). By this time, I prefer to do mindless tasks such as responding to emails, scheduling meetings, reading articles or doing some light research. I have recently started carrying packed lunch to work. This has saved me quite a bit of money, and kept me on a healthy, balanced diet plan, because otherwise, I would order fried chicken every lunchtime (though I still get tempted!).
6:00 PM: Anyone notice how quickly Mondays tend to move? Anyway, today is a great day because I haven’t spent a dime (yaay!)
7:00 AM: I prefer to fuel the car once every week, just so that I don’t have to worry about fueling every other day. In most weeks, Tuesday is the day when the tank is empty, and I have to fill it for the week, which means a Ksh. 4,000 dent to my wallet. To be honest, this is my least favorite way to spend money, because it always feels like I’m being robbed! But then again, I do not have to think about it for the rest of the week, so I guess it’s fair, and watching the gauge go up is oddly satisfying.
8:00 AM: Because of the traffic situation in our lovely city, I have come up with coping mechanisms to keep me sane. I will usually have a playlist to listen to on the way to work, or I will listen to a podcast, or sometimes, I am on the phone the whole way to work. Let’s talk about the third one… It usually will take me about 40 minutes to 1 hour to get to work, so being on the phone the whole way is not a cheap coping mechanism. I plan to get on a phone plan soon but, most of the plans I have considered tend to feel like a waste because I will not need the bundles they offer. Are there plans that offer just talk time?
1:00 PM: The day is moving a bit slow, and I have been hungry the whole day. I did not have my usual breakfast, because I left it on the table (not the first time). Maybe that has to do with my energy levels today morning. Luckily, it is lunchtime, and I did remember to carry my lunch. I am quite excited because I carried some chicken from last night, and full disclosure, I am about to mercilessly dive in.
6:00 PM: As Nick Ndeda would put it, it’s that time of the day where you need to stop acting like an adult and let your hair down!
Nowadays I get excited to get home, change into my jammies and couch surf and sleep. I’m getting old.
Today, I have spent about Ksh. 4,200 on both fuel and airtime!
8:00 AM: I get to work early, which is great, because I get to catch up with some article reading. The New Yorker’s Fiction section is my pick for today.
1:00 PM: I’m having mukimo (which I love) for lunch today. The sun is out, so that means my colleagues and I can have lunch sitting out in the sun.
6:00 PM: My friend calls me up and invites me out for a drink after hours. Of course, I say yes, because it has been forever! We decide to meet up at the Junction’s Art Caffe but things get a little complicated. The truth is, my lunch wasn’t that filling so by the time I get to Art Caffe, I already have a thousand cravings. I try to fight it but I just can’t resist their chicken wings and sweet potato chips (this combo is just too dang delicious). Also, while we’re on this topic, can we all agree that ranch is better than ketchup? Thanks 😊 ! The rule of the game is that the bill is split, so I end up spending Ksh. 1,500.
That makes Ksh. 1,500 spent today. Seems like I started the week strong and doing terribly as the days go by.
8:00 AM: Today I go back to my muesli routine.
1:00 PM: I carried lunch for the day which is a win because I get to save up on lunch money.
3:00 PM: I’m having the weirdest cookies-with-milk craving (why am I having so many cravings lately?) Turns out I’m not the only one thinking of snacks in the office. Sarah, my colleague, and I decide to walk to the closest convenience store to get something to bite on for the remainder of the afternoon. I get a packet of milk biscuits and some milk, which costs me about Ksh. 150.
This brings my spending to KSH. 150 today. We’re making a come-back!
1:00 PM: Chicken Inn party at the office! Woop!
I don’t know what Chicken Inn uses on their chicken to make it so damn addictive but I feel like we should have this conversation as a nation. Also allow me to mention how peer pressure can be bad for your finances. Let’s take today for example. This chicken inn party all started with one person ordering and then another joined in and sold the idea of a chicken inn party to the rest of us. Now here I am about 600 bob short because I didn’t want to get left out. Tsk!
3:00 PM: I meet up with my mentor and catch-up over some juice and coke. He pays for this so I didn’t have to spend a dime.
5:00 PM: We have monthly dinner plans with my colleagues, and it seems like it might have to wait until later in the evening, since we’re all still so full from the kuku party. So, we decide to go get a drink first, then later on go for dinner.
‘For You’ (the Chinese restaurant) turns out to have been such a brilliant option because we eat to our fill and even have some leftover to take away. We only spend Ksh. 650 which is not bad at all for the quantity that we just had.
By the time I get back home, I have spent a total of about Ksh. 1200.
3:00 PM: I have spent all day at home, and now need to start getting ready for an event I will be attending this evening. I bought tickets about a month ago, which was a great idea because tickets are now going for triple the price (Lifehack: Always get early bird tickets when you can).
Later… Much, much later…
I have surprisingly not spent much at the event, which makes sense because the ticket was pre-paid, and all the drinks were free plus I ate at home before leaving (lifehack #2).
Today, I spent Ksh. 0! Okay, Ksh. 100 for parking.
Not much going on today, I spent the whole day at home, resting up, and spent Ksh. 0!
I do however make a quick run to the ATM to withdraw money for the next week. My ATM card has had an issue for two months, and I will have to replace it, but I don’t think I am in too much of a hurry to do so. It has turned out to be a great savings plan, because I can no longer impulsively spend money from my account. I make a weekly withdrawal and must work around it. It also saves me a bunch of Mpesa transaction fees!
Weekly budget: KES 10,000
Total spend: KES 7,150