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 in 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 attractive 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 ruin 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.
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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 accidènts. 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
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