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Four things you shouldn’t do, even if it saves you money

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to cut your expenses? Check out our four bad ideas you must never do

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There are probably a lot of Kenyans sleeping on old mattresses.

Some of the things people do to save money include ladies cutting their hair to avoid salon visits, bargain hunting or even buying second-hand clothes at Gikomba. Some men drink is dingy pubs where beer is cheaper or skip lunch. But there are some things nobody should ever do, not even in the name of saving money, such as the following

Sleeping on a crappy mattress

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter if the décor of your room looks about as attractive as a kidnapper’s basement, or hasn’t changed since you were 12.

But the one thing you should spend money on is a good mattress. You don’t need to spend thousands on the best mattress that money can buy. But when your existing one gets old and threadbare, not changing it could wreck your sleep completely, give you chronic aches and pains and indirectly lead to more stress — and that’s one thing we don’t need more of. Mattresses should be replaced at least every 10 years. There are probably a lot of Kenyans sleeping on old mattresses.

SEE ALSO: Meet the billionaire who keeps money under the mattress

Not maintaining your vehicle

You know how there are some people who will starve themselves so they can buy designer handbags? Well, paying through your nose for a vehicle and then trying to scrimp and save by not getting it serviced and maintained is pretty much the same thing.

Not maintaining your vehicle puts you at risk of accidents. Old tyres skid more easily, especially during the rainy season. And we don’t even need to talk about why your brakes need to be changed from time to time. What’s more, not going for regular oil changes and getting your engine serviced every now and then can result in your wrecking your engine entirely — which will end up costing you more money in the long run.

Never taking a day off (or letting your maid take a day off)

Parents of young kids no doubt already know how hard it is to have two seconds to yourself. This doesn’t just apply to dual income households in which both parents have full-time jobs and rely on in-laws or childcare centres to take care of their kids.

Stay-at-home mothers and fathers also have a tough time. As they’re not working and their kids are unlikely to be in childcare, they can end up having to watch the children 24/7 while trying to get housework done at the same time. These people often don’t get a single day off from their child-rearing duties if they don’t have a maid.

READ: How Kenya’s super-rich invest their money

But taking a day or two off every now and then — even if it means paying an ad-hoc babysitter or hiring a nanny — is necessary for your mental health. Catch up with friends, exercise, go to the cinema, go on a date with your spouse or whatever. This will make you a less stressed out and more patient parent.

If your maid is the one who’s doing most of the child-minding on your behalf, have a heart and let her take her days off. It’s compulsory to give live-in maids at least one day off a week, but beyond that it’s also humane to give her an extra break now and then.

Eating hawker food everyday

In an ideal world, we’d all be making delicious, nutritious meals in our kitchens every day, whistling while we worked. In reality, Kenyans eat out an a lot because nobody has the time to (learn to) cook because of work.

For those who have the cash to wine and dine at nice restaurants every day, good for you. But for the rest of us, this often translates to eating hawker food every damn day (seen people lining up for boiled eggs or nduma in town; and those eating at kiosks?).

READ: Five signs that you are sleeping on a bad mattress

If you’re eating hawker food every single day, don’t think you’re in good health just because you always order the fish aor kienyeji mboga — the soups are often laden with salt and the vegetables with lots of fat. Learn to cook or spend a bit more to replace some of your meals with salads or something more nutritious. The former will actually save you money in the long run.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to save money? Tell us in the comments section below

Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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Personal finance

Disabled tout’s bus dream shattered by auctioneers

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Peter Njoroge with his mother showing the picture of President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he claims would one time bail him out of his problems. His bus was repossessed by bank. Photo / KNA

A mentally retarded tout’s dream to own a Sh5.5 million  33 seater bus flopped when a Thika-based Bank repossessed it due to non-payment of  loan arrears of  Sh400,000 accrued under mysterious circumstances over a period of three months.

Peter Njoroge 33, born with physical and mental challenges as well as dumb, bought the bus from savings while working as a Matatu tout at the Thika main stage where he used to save a minimum of  Sh20 daily for a period of 10 years. “Njoroge has been a close friend of Manchester Sacco directors since he used to frequent the bus station with a desire of assisting passenger’s access our buses,” revealed Nicodemus Gatogo, Chairman Manchester Sacco.

The directors ordered the fleet manager to compel all the drivers to be giving Njoroge 20 shillings from every bus daily, consequently opening an account for him at a local bank. Mr Njoroge managed to save close to Sh400, 000 and desired to own his own bus and introduce it into the fleet of Manchester Sacco buses.

Driven by the desire to assist the young boy realize his dream, the directors marshalled the support of well wishers and managed to raise over Sh1.2 million which they handed over to the bank, standing surety for him. After acquiring the bus early this year, Njoroge’s Mother Jane Njeri, sold their family land and fixed it with modern music and graffiti decor before it started plying Thika–Nairobi route making a daily income ranging between Sh5, 000 and Sh8, 000.

READ: Six annoying matatu touts to watch out for

However, due to unhealthy competition from other existing stakeholders and constant harassment from traffic police officers and Nairobi County Askaris, the bus was slowly driven out of business making it hard for Njoroge to service his loan, which he used to service at Sh176, 000 per month.

manchester-bus Disabled tout’s bus dream shattered by auctioneers

The Sh5.3 Million worth bus that was reposed by auctioneers after Njoroge defaulted payment.

Attempts by Manchester Sacco directors to bail out  his bus hit a snag after transport business suffered a blow late last year, following the introduction of 19 seat capacity matatus and the tough competition by a rival group whose fleet of buses ferry commuters from Thika to Nairobi at a throw away price thus rendering them financially incapacitated.

SEE ALSO: From scrap metal deal to matatu owner
READ: Matatu tout rises to become insurance CEO

The directors’ claim that most of their buses have been grounded and others repossessed by auctioneers after they also failed to service their loans. Njoroge’s mother revealed that her son who is the first born in a family of four has developed an acute depression after the bus was impounded and sleeps on her bed daily mourning and wailing in a desperate attempt to find solace from her.

She fears that if left alone, Njoroge might commit suicide and therefore she can no longer leave him unattended. Njoroge’s mother narrated how her distraught son frequently shows her President Uhuru Kenyatta’s picture saved in his phone, alluding that the head of state will come to his rescue and redeem his bus from the hands of the auctioneers and the Bank.

The young man has hence appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Thika Member of Parliament, Patrick Wainaina and Kiambu Women Representative, Gathoni Muchomba to salvage his dream. Attempts to engage the Bank’s branch management of the did not bear fruits as the Loans Manager (name withheld) declined to comment on the matter and referred the case to the Nairobi Headquarters.

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Media Review

Comedy is paying big – just ask Eric Omondi

When I started doing comedy, we were being paid with food. Now, it’s paying. (see story below)

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ERIC OMONDI: Comedy is paying and the future is very bright.

Eric Omondi has thrown his weight behind the comedy industry as a good source of income. Omondi, who is one of the most successful comedians in Africa, says the future is bright for comedy.

He was speaking about his time in the industry, noting that when he started, he was being paid with food.

“The comedy industry is going good places,” he is quoted by Word Is as saying. “When I started doing comedy, we were being paid with food. Now, it’s paying. Parents need to encourage their kids. Comedy is paying and the future is very bright.”

The commedy industry has churned out a number of successful individuals who have become millionaires such as Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill, Eric Omondi himself, Felix Odiwour popularly known as Jalang’o and Walter Mong’are aka Nyambane, among others

Omondi, alongside other commedians, quit Churchill Show over what many believe is pay-related fallout.  Other programmes Vitimbi and Vioja Mahakamani are among comedy shows that have hit a rough patch due to payment issues.

The hardest hit by pay-related complain is Churchill Show, which has lost a number of comedians, adversely affecting the quality of his show. Media observers say if Churchill Show doesn’t enhance its appeal, it will lose the critical middle class audience that has kept it growing.

Perhaps Laugh Industry, the commercial arm of the business, should invest more in training and proper mentorship of the budding comedians to diversify their sense of humour from sex and relationships.

SEE: Maina Kageni tops highest paid radio and TV presenters

But what has worried the audience is the exits of key comedians. It started with Teacher Wanjiku, who it emerged felt shortchanged in terms of compensation. While on appearing on the show, she landed a deal with Airtel that made her lots of money, and her trouble began. It’s said the money she received from Airtel became an issue between her and Churchill who demand for a large percentage.

Teacher Wanjiku left Churchill for good and decided to try her own show which, unfortunately, did not work well for her.

Eric Omondi went solo. Mr Omondi, who had become a co-host also left the show in a mysterious way to “pursue his dream as a solo artist.” The comedian said he had come age. However, it is believed that there was a fallout.

Chipukeezy, the hilarious comedian-cum radio presenter also followed suit after the managers failed to pay him and decided to concentrate on his radio career. To him, all the Churchill comedians had issues with payments something that made most of them quit the show.

READ: Eric Omondi clinches lucrative deal with Bidco

YY is the recent comedian who has publicly said that he is quitting the show. He shared a post on his social media handle saying goodbye to his many fans. YY left Churchill show to look for greener pastures. According to the comedian, he earns peanuts yet he is a talented artist. Few days after quitting, YY got a new job with Kenyatta University television KUTV on “The Comic Show”.

Eric Omondi also recalled one of his worst shows where no one laughed at his jokes. “My worst show was in Malindi, they had never heard of me and a local TV was launching its mast. It was the first time people there were seeing me,” narrated Omondi. “I went there and I was late. I took the mic and I was like ‘Hawayunii’. For two hours nobody laughed. I will never forget that day.”

Is Churchill Show running out of ideas?

 

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Personal finance

Six ways to make money from the falling stock market

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The fall has been triggered by panicky selling, forcing prices down due to oversupply on the sale side.

Our stock market has been living in false bliss. It’s stability over the past 10 or so years, even through the most competitive elections and campaigns, had given investors the imagination that the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) had become immune to politics.

On Friday last week, that belief was turned right on its head when the market crashed! This tells you that sentiment is still crucial in the financial and equities markets. Any political development that shakes the status quo is bound send a cold down the markets.

Moments after the Supreme Court ruling that annulled President Uhuru’s election, the market tanked, sinking to lows that forced the NSE management to shut down. This is normal practice, especially when the market falls by at least 5 percent to protect investors. The fall is mostly triggered by panicky selling, forcing prices down due to oversupply on the sale side.

READ: The noise marker who makes millions from stocks

By the time the NSE management shut the market last week, investors had already lost Sh92 billion in value.  You can imagine the loss if the markets were to stay open for another two hours! This kindled memories of 2007 when the market was shut due to post election violence when the country plunged into tribal violence.

Friday was actually the beginning of very tough two months for investors at the NSE. With a fresh presidential election set to be held in the next two months, stocks and the currency markets will remain moody. By yesterday, Ksh130 billion of stocks value had gone down the drain.

Buy, hold or sell?

  • For investors, this is the time to start buying shares whose prices are falling and holding until they start gaining value after the elections, hoping of course that all goes well and political stability returns immediately after the re-run. This situation is what is called a bear market which is characterized by stock prices falling. Bear markets make it tough for investors to pick profitable stocks.
  • One solution to this is to make money when stocks are falling using a technique called short-selling. Short selling is a fairly simple concept: you borrow a stock, sell the stock and then buy the stock back to return it to the lender. Short sellers make money by betting that the stock they sell will drop in price. If the stock drops, the short seller buys it back at a lower price and returns it to the lender.
  • Another strategy is to wait on the sidelines until you feel that the bear market is nearing its end, only starting to buy in anticipation of a bull market.
  • Those with shares that have already fallen in value should hold onto them instead of selling at huge losses. Unless of course they have information that fundamentals of the company are beyond the current politics, in which case you can cut your losses by selling off and fleeing the counter.
  • Otherwise in the normal cyclic movement in stocks, it’s often the case that what goes down, will always go up! So those with extra money can buy off the stocks falling in value and then sell at higher values when the prices begin going up.
  • It’s not easy to time the market. That’s why very few are able to sell before stocks begin to fall. But speculators are having a field day. If you are in this group and have lots of money, you can play the stocks by buying and selling on small margins.
SEE ALSO: Understand how the stock market works

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Personal finance

Pensions scheme returns ride on stock market rally

Fixed income assets accounted for 72.9% of the average pension fund allocation followed by property at 4.3 per cent and offshore at 1.3%

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Retirement schemes’ equity allocation increased over the quarter ending June 30, 2017,  mainly as a result of a rally in the stock market over the period.

The Zamara Consulting Actuaries Schemes Survey (Z – CASS) for the second quarter of 2017 shows that the allocation of equity investments increased to 21.5 per cent from 19.1% in the first quarter as prices of the held investments increased.

“The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has rallied since April of this year mainly driven by banking stocks delivering profits, strong sustained performance from Safaricom, which led to increased local and foreign investor confidence. The offshore asset class also performed well over the 12-month period although following the Supreme Court judgement nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on September 1, the stock market took a plunge,” said Zamara Group Chief Executive Officer Sundeep Raichura.

Fixed income assets accounted for 72.9% of the average pension fund allocation followed by property at 4.3 per cent and offshore at 1.3%.

The Z-CASS Survey additionally showed that participating schemes had a median return of 14.3 per cent over a one-year period and a 9.4 per cent return over a three-year period. Schemes in Kenya have varying risk profiles, the survey classifies the schemes in to three categories – Conservative, Moderate and Aggressive. During the 12-month period, schemes with moderate risk had the highest median performance and conservative schemes had the highest  three-year median performance.

ALSO SEE: Safaricom, Equity played big role in NSE crash

Offshore investments, despite the low asset allocation, had the highest median return over a one-year period at 22.6% followed by fixed income at 15.2% and equity at 12.5%.

Fixed income assets recorded the highest return over a three-year period at 12.9%, followed by offshore investments at 10.1 per cent and equities at 1.7%.

382 schemes were covered in the in the Z – CASS Survey in the second quarter of 2017 and the assets under management covered by the survey were at Ksh 655 billion.

The Z- Cass Survey enables trustees to compare the performance of their retirement scheme relative to their peers within the broader retirement scheme industry.

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