I am single and earn Sh32, 000, but I spend nearly everything on betting

Close up of someone betting using a mobile application on a phone.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

My name is Godfrey. I do a casual job where I earn a gross wage of Sh32, 000 on average monthly. I am not yet married and don’t have a girlfriend. My rent is only 2,000. I keep my expenses at the bare minimum and spend nearly all that I earn on gambling. I am addicted to betting and my money does not help me. Please advise on how I can beat this addiction and give me a guide on how to budget the money so that I can start securing my future through saving and investments.

Robert Ochieng’, investment and financial advisor at Abojani Investments

Earnings averaging Sh1, 000 a day can set you on the path to financial stability at your age, especially since you are single. It is important that you organise your finances, accumulate assets and set up other income streams before you even start thinking about starting a family. When you set a savings goal, addiction to betting will gradually reduce and eventually cease.

Goals such as saving Sh10, 000 for a down payment on a lease for a small piece of land where you could do some farming, or save Sh50, 000 for a second-hand but serviceable motorcycle to get into the boda boda business passively will help redirect your financial resources to better use. In your case, your finances have no mission apart from fulfilling your immediate whims and caprices and indulging in endless fantasies of huge winnings from your betting activities.

Chances are that the betting stakes are a zero-sum pass time. Do not be misled by isolated cases of huge winnings. For every winner of notable millions of shillings, millions of participants have lost millions of shillings.

 If you were to keep a record of stakes and winnings, you will discover that the statement, "the house always wins" is true. Losers usually stake more to recover their losses, resulting in an endless goose chase.

To avoid such addiction, find other better uses for your free time. You may join a health and fitness club or a local sports club. Avoid friends who push you towards betting with your hard-earned cash.

With your Sh32, 000 earnings, rent takes up Sh2, 000. Other expenses may include Sh6, 000 for food and shopping, Sh4, 000 for utility bills, airtime and transport, Sh3, 000 to support parents and Sh2, 000 for clothing and footwear (when necessary). Left with Sh15, 000, you can join a well-performing Sacco where you can save Sh5, 000 monthly.

If you were to accumulate Sh60,000 in a year, you would qualify for a Sh120,000 loan to purchase a new motorcycle then engage a rider for the boda boda business and create a second passive income stream. With daily earnings of Sh300, you will be able to repay the loan in three years as you also earn from dividends and interest on your savings. At the rate of 10% interest, your Sh60, 000 savings in the first year will yield an extra Sh5, 000.

Next, you need to open a money market fund account. This operates like a savings account with investment components. Saving Sh5, 000 monthly will accumulate to Sh64, 000 in a year. The advantage of the MMF is that you can access your funds within two working days.

It is an ideal parking lot for your cash if you intend to use it in the next one or two years. The balance of Sh. 5,000 can be put in an ordinary bank savings account or Sacco Front Office Service Activity (Fosa) account. This will give assurance that you can cover any emergencies that may arise or even make planned purchases with ease.

Once you have hacked the savings discipline, you will then be ready to invest. Investing can be either active or passive. Active investments require your full participation. This could be operating a business like a shop or farming crops or vegetables. Either way, you need a sound knowledge of market variables. Indirect or passive investments do not require your presence. You may invest in a growing business by putting capital in a form of a partnership.

 You will have to exercise sound due diligence and possibly involve an advisor to eliminate chances of being conned. Passive investments in the capital markets require proper understanding through investment masterclasses.

These are investing in the stock market, government debt instruments like treasury bills and bonds, Reits (Real Estate Investment Trusts). Investments of any nature require patience, persistence and consistency.

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, successful investing takes time to witness the fruits of compounding. With age on your side, you can attain great heights through prudent allocation of financial resources.


I got Sh17, 500 job in Nairobi. How do I survive with this salary in the capital city?

My name is Faith. I have a job offer as a supermarket staff in Nairobi where my salary will be Sh17, 500 net. I am slated to begin on January 3, 2023. I currently live upcountry. But I am scared about how I will survive in Nairobi and manage my small pay. Should I go on and take this job out of desperation or should I turn it down? Where will I live and which areas should I consider in Nairobi? What's their approximate rent? How much should I expect to spend on each item in a budget out of my salary? How can I survive in Nairobi with a small salary? I am 26 and this will be my first monthly paying job.

Alex Kibebe, the founder of Rubiani Wealth Management Ltd and an investment consultant and business development coach

Take up the job. You will learn and grow from it. You need to come up with a budget and live by it. An ideal way of writing a budget is by listing your expenses in three categories. The first category is your needs – those things that you have to spend on to survive in Nairobi and keep working.

The next category is your wants – those things that are important to you but that you can do without. Finally, it is important to set aside a part of your budget for savings. Developing a habit of saving even when earning a low income will enable you to grow wealth over time. It will also help you afford some of the things that you cannot afford with your monthly income.

As you stated, one of the important expenses to consider is rent. Since you are still single and getting started, I recommend getting a small bedsitter somewhere not very far from the city. There are various estates around Nairobi where you can get a bed-sitter for about Sh6, 000. These include Mwiki, Kahawa West, Kinoo, Uthiru, Pipeline and Embakasi.

You can visit some of these estates before the year ends and shop around for a house at a place where you are comfortable. The other item you need to budget for is your daily transport. In many of the estates mentioned above, you can keep your daily transport expense at Sh140.

 You can save on transport by avoiding rush hour. However, this will depend on your shift timings. If you will be working six days a week and therefore 25 days a month, your total transport cost will come to Sh3, 500.

Your food expense and monthly house shopping is yet another basic need for your budget. I recommend spending Sh4, 000 on this. Some of the ways that you can save on food costs are by identifying budget markets near where you live or buying farm products from upcountry when you visit home now and then. (For example, homegrown maize to grade one maize flour when you visit your parents will be multiple times cheaper than buying from shops in Nairobi).

The above expenses should cover you for your needs category. In this case, your total budget for your basic needs will come to Sh13, 500.

Next, budget for the things that are important for you but that you can do without. This may include buying extra clothes and accessories or taking a trip home. I suggest setting aside a budget of Sh2, 500 per month for this.

Finally, I recommend you save up the remaining Sh1, 500 every month in a Sacco or in a Money Market Fund (MMF). You can research the various Saccos and MMFs to settle on one that you are comfortable with. As your savings grow, you may consider paying for a course that will help you grow your career or using the funds to start a side hustle business to grow your income.

If you have any money problems, send us an email at [email protected] and leave your number for contact. Money questions will be answered in this column.