Updated: Feb 4, 2019
A good personal budget should include an emergency and savings fund.
The best strategy in personal budgeting is to keep track of past spending and plug the leaks. Personal budget items such as housing, food, groceries, clothing, and personal care are considered basic. However, without being keen, other important but not necessary items may creep into our budgets. Such items would include debt repayment, entertainment, and household shopping.
1. Finance Charges
In Kenya today, most people are spending on discretionary expenses such as bank overdrafts, credit card charges, asset finance loans, development loans, car loans among others. In fact, credit cards and bank overdrafts top the list of these expenses. Quick and instant loans services have found a thriving market to feed. According to the Central bank of Kenya, over Ksh 260 Billion was transacted in the month of November 2016 through mobile money transfers.Avoid going into overdraft by sticking to your budget, and only use your credit card for emergencies to save money on finance charges.
2. Impulse buying
Household shopping is an important item on our budgets. However, a lot of unnecessary and impulse buying is associated with it. Shopping malls coming up even within our residential areas making it convenient to do most of household shopping there since all items are under one roof. However, if not disciplined, you can end up spending on unnecessary items just because they are accessible. To save money on household shopping, fresh vegetables and groceries can be bought from our local markets instead of the shopping malls. Budget for your electronics and other household items and look out for sales to keep more of your money in your pocket.
Entertainment and leisure is also another item contributing to draining of your your cash reserves. The key contributing factors to poverty in Kenya currently are alcoholism and gambling. This can be partly attributed to peer pressure and social media influence. To curb this behavior, set a weekly budget for entertainment and don’t exceed it, also find cheaper ways to have fun. Find new friends if they are constantly pressuring you to spend money and concentrate on accomplishing your larger goals.
Poor personal finance can cause serious financial constraints to both individuals and families.Always pay your debts and on time as late payments or defaulting to pay gives you a poor credit report, which makes accessing loans in the future difficult or impossible. Financial trouble is the key contributor to divorce so if you want a healthy marriage and family, you need to pay attention to your finances.
It is recommended that not more than 30% of your income should go towards debt repayment and about 20% should go towards savings. If cutting back on some of these expenses is not working, try looking for ways to make more money. Learn to pay cash, as this will minimize your spending on the credit cards. When working on a budget, make it a family affair so everyone is on the same page to save money together.