Surviving tough economic times with reduced income can be challenging, but with careful planning and smart strategies, you can navigate through these difficult times.
The majority of Kenyans are lamenting the increasing cost of living, with few unable to purchase everything they need for a decent living.
Despite the increased cost of living, for a majority, their income remains stagnant, or rather shrinking due to the skyrocketing cost of basic needs during this hard economic time.
Here are 10 ways to help you manage your finances and make the most of your reduced income:
A popular standard for budgeting rent is to follow the 30% rule, where you spend a maximum of 30% of your monthly income before taxes (your gross income) on your rent.
According to previous research, it has been found that people who spent over 30% of their income on housing were “cost-burdened.”
Experts recommend saving at least 20 percent of your monthly income. The savings should be able to take you through more challenging times when your income is not steady.
According to financial experts, your savings should be able to take you through six months without any supplementary income, should you lose your income.
It is always a rule of thumb that you live on a budget. Depending on your income, you should have a periodic budget for needs and wants such as food, electricity, water, transport, clothing, and other needs.
Once you have such a budget, be disciplined and stick to it. The only way to stick to your budget is by living within your means, avoiding impulse buying, and avoiding being influenced to spend by family and friends during this hard economic time.
Before you spend on your budget, look for the cheapest options. Sometimes major retailers have offers on goods you had planned to buy.
If you get any offers, buy during that time. It will help you save more.
5. Extra income
Sometimes, if you are employed, your salary might not cater for everything you would have wished to have.
To supplement your income, have some income-generating activity aside from your main job, what Kenyans term a side hustle.
It could be from a skill set you have or a business, or from an asset that you rarely use.
For example, if you have a car that you use for business you can convert it to a taxi after work and during weekends.
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They say your network is your net worth. In the modern world, the best way to market yourself is to have people know about your skills or your business.
If the people who know you get opportunities that fit what you offer, they are more likely to recommend people they know, including you, if you are good at what you do.
7. Learn an extra skill
The world is fast moving away from unskilled labor.
Employers are looking for holistic people rather than specialists who do not possess different skills in other fields. Keep abreast and learn a skill that your employer can not let go of in turbulent moments.
Also, the extra skill can help you engage in other income-generating activities.
8. Build an emergency fund:
Even with reduced income, try to save a small amount each month for emergencies. Set up an automatic transfer to a separate savings account or a jar at home.
Having an emergency fund provides a safety net during unexpected situations and reduces the need for taking on debt.
9. Prioritize debt repayment:
If you have outstanding debts, focus on paying them off strategically. Prioritize high-interest debts first to minimize the amount you pay in interest.
Consider negotiating with creditors for more favorable repayment terms or consolidating your debts to simplify payments.
10. Save on groceries:
Look for ways to save on your grocery bills. Create meal plans, make a shopping list, and stick to it. Consider buying generic or store-brand products, using coupons, and taking advantage of sales and discounts.
Also, try to minimize food waste by using leftovers creatively.
Remember, tough economic times are temporary, and with careful planning, discipline, and perseverance, you can weather the storm and come out stronger. Stay positive, stay focused, and make the most of the resources available to you.
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