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UGANDA: Tough economic times require hard planning at home

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Buying good in bulk will save you the burden of having to make several trips to the market. FILE PHOTO.

Cut costs at household level

By Annet Katusiime, DAILY MONITOR, KampalaCutting costs is paramount in managing personal finances and it is at home, where without planning and cutting costs, household expenses can drain your finances.
The drain might be too deep that you might fail to realise financial independence.
The economy is getting tougher day by day, cost of living is increasing too.
As you earn your money, you need to first and foremost see where your money is going and this will give you a go ahead to cut on those items on your budget.

If you don’t have a budget it’s high time you make one because it’s impossible to evaluate your spending decision without this tool.
Finding expenses to cut from your budget may help you live a happier life, retire earlier, save more money for the things you value in life, pay off debt and much more.
It’s an opportunity for you to save more and spend less. Here are some tips to consider on cutting household expenses.

Save on food
You have to be mindful of this item because it’s a need that we all cannot live without, planning on how to manage food related expenditure can remarkably save you some money.

Eating at home
Buy in bulk nonperishable goods such as sugar, soap, salt, wheat, beans and groundnuts among others.
Buying in bulk goes along with supervising usage because it’s pointless to waste food because it’s available.
Identify ways to measure small quantities for daily consumption to avoid waste.
Compare prices
Before shopping, make a cost friendly expense. There are markets that are cheaper which can help you save some money.

Plant vegetable
I have personally done this and I had a good harvest. This not only felt good but it was a great experience to my children, regardless of the size of land you still save money.

Weight cost of transport
To cut costs of transportation, you need to weigh the cost of public means and using a personal car and the maintenance involved.
Otherwise if your routes are accessible to public transport you can consider selling your car if there is a particular goal that can be accomplished from the proceeds for example increase on your savings or paying off debt.

Seek cheaper entertainment
Entertainment is one area one needs to consider cutting costs on yet work with no play makes one dull.
However look out for cheaper deals but memorable for example potluck which won’t cost a lot of money because everyone will contribute something for the celebration to happen.
On memberships and subscriptions there is no point to pay for what you won’t need. Depending on lifestyle, everything is possible but we need to change our attitude and focus on our goal of saving more money.

Eliminate habits
Habits such as drinking just have a negative effect on people. These can be a constant drain on your budget without real benefits.
Imagine a bottle of beer being sold at Shs3,500U and you have to drink one bottle a day.
In a month you would have consumed Shs105,000 and in a year you would have burnt Shs1.2m.
If say you had saved this money over a year you would be able to buy a piece of land. I know of some places where an acre of land goes for a million shillings or less depending on your bargaining power.

Reduce salon visits
You don’t have to go to the salon every week to shave. You can actually do it twice a month.
Additionally, it is not written anywhere that you must do your manicure of pedicure in a saloon. Do it yourself and put the money you have saved to better use.

Don’t accumulate bills
Paying bills can be irritating, especially if they are accumulated. For electricity install Led bulbs which are about four times more efficient than Incandescent bulb.
Also turn off lights where rooms are vacant and also unplug all unused electrical devices because most electronic devices constantly draw a small amount of electricity that can add up depending on how many appliances you own.
For water bills consider water harvesting. There are modern ways to harvest water which makes water safe and more reliable. Use water sparingly and don’t leave taps running while not in use or using more water than necessary.

Cut back on phone expenses
Last but not least learn to regulate your calls and data usage. Like I said, make sure you see where your money is not going to waste.
Unfortunately we never take keen interest on what we spend on phone conversations and data as to whether it’s adding value to us or not.
The ultimate goal is to cut cost and live a happier life and able to achieve your dreams. Spend wisely.

Annet Katusiime is a certified financial literacy trainer: Email:

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