Cost-saving ideas that will help me start a side hustle

Dairy cows

Behind his house were three grade dairy cows — two were giving him milk while the other one was expectant.

Photo credit: John Nyagah | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Besides making savings from what we eat, I have asked Fiolina to identify two days of the week; one when we will not prepare supper, and another, probably weekend, when we will not take lunch.
  • These measures are painful, but conservative calculations show me that I will save at least Sh5,500 monthly, enough to start a poultry project in April, and with a loan, a dairy project by July.

One of my New Year resolutions, which I never told anyone about, was to save enough money to start poultry and dairy farming by the end of this year.

This inspiration came after I visited Kizito, my former colleague. Please do not confuse him with my cousin Kizito, the husband of Nimo.

Despite the fact that he earns less than me (he is not even a deputy), and is intellectually inferior to me, for some reasons, Kizito is doing better that me. By far!

I visited him on December 28, last year knowing that we would just talk about schools and national politics, our wives and girlfriends, TSC and Knut, then perhaps visit his local Hitler’s to marinate ourselves.

His common, semi-permanent house could not be compared to my amazing, state-of-the-art, ultra-modern bungalow that remains the talk of the village in Mwisho wa Lami and beyond. I pitied him. After waiting for him for about half an hour, he arrived —   shabbily dressed and sweating.

“Getting Napier grass this December is not easy,” he said. I wondered why anyone would be busy on December 28 instead of enjoying themselves. “The good thing is that I am assured of something every day,” he added. I asked him to expound. After changing clothes, he asked me to follow him.

Dairy cows

Behind his house were three grade dairy cows — two were giving him milk while the other one was expectant.

“On a bad day I get Sh1,000, but when they have fed well, I can get upto Sh1,500.” Next to the cows, Kizito had a chicken project. There were day-old chicks and big ones, all in a house built specifically for them. You see, in my home, chickens stay with us in the house while my two cows sleep just behind the house.

“I sell at least one chicken daily.  But this month, I have been selling about three every day.”

He went on: “One goes for about Sh600, but in December, I was selling at Sh800. And I have not even talked about eggs. Eggs have money, Dre.” I did not need a calculator to know that every three days, Kizito was getting more money than I get in a month.

Later on after he had showed me his many other projects, we sat down to take lunch – with all the food coming from his farm.

I asked him how he had changed his life in just a few years. “How can you do all this with the peanuts that we get from Nancy Macharia?” I wondered, believing that he had received a boost from somewhere.

“Dre, it is not what you earn that matters,” he said, “It is what you do with it.” He went on to ask me how I spend my money, and that’s when we went through my expenditures.

“What you spend at Hitler’s in two months is enough to help you buy 40 chicks to start your chicken project,” he said. “And if you change your diet and household spending, you will save enough to pay deposit for a Fresian cow.”

“In short, Dre, just cut your expenses and start some income generating projects. Forget about getting promoted!”

Drinking tea

As I left Kizito’s place that evening, I decided to change my life for good. Although we disagreed with Fiolina, below are some of the cost-saving measures I am implementing at home, and not for the first time”

Food: We will be drinking tea without sugar. We will also stop buying milk from Lutta. For lunch and supper, meat is banned from my house. But to avoid a revolt, I will be buying matumbo once a month. 

Besides making savings from what we eat, I have asked Fiolina to identify two days of the week; one when we will not prepare supper, and another, probably weekend, when we will not take lunch.

On these days, everyone has to find a place to visit and eat, or keep themselves busy. It doesn’t end there, I will not contribute to the staffroom lunch club. Instead, Fiolina will be packing food for me from the previous night’s leftovers.

Hitler’s: I would wish to stop drinking, but you all know I need to be there to at least get more business ideas as well as clients who will buy my eggs and milk. So, I will be going there strictly twice a week, and I won’t be spending more than Sh50.

Unnecessary washing

Self-sustainability: We have planted various vegetables as well as potatoes, cassava and arrow roots.  Every evening after school, all of us – Electina, Honda, Brandon and I – will be going to the farm. Not only are we saving the money I would have used to pay workers; but soon, we will not be buying vegetables or ‘tea escort’.

Workers: I fired our herdsboy a week ago. I will be taking care of the animals in the morning while Brandon and the girls will be giving them water during lunch break. The children will also be taking care of the animals in the evening after school.

Washing: I have banned all unnecessary washing in my house. We need to save on soap. Effective immediately, my suits will be washed after being worn at least five times, while my vests and socks will only see water after being worn thrice.

House shopping: I am dropping Omo, tooth picks and tissue papers from our monthly shopping list. Instead, bar soap will be used for bathing, used match sticks in place of toothpicks; while fresh, soft green leaves will be placed in the toilet. I have already planted trees with soft leaves next to the toilet.

These measures are painful, but conservative calculations show me that I will save at least Sh5,500 monthly, enough to start a poultry project in April, and with a loan, a dairy project by July. By December, I too will be selling milk, eggs and chicken. You can start placing your orders now!

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