We have seen those memes about your salary and your expenses. They all make fun of you, but don’t enlighten on how to save money. Most depict your salary as this short and lean person, and your expenditure as this burly stature. Well, for most of us that illustration is true. So, how do you save money and inch closer to balancing your income and expenses; yet, still have some left over? It is the small things that count when thinking of how to save money. Literally. 1. Budget You can never go wrong with a budget. List down all your expenses. Also, put aside a miscellaneous fund for those unforeseen expenses. This does not mean that you misuse this sum. List down your expenses and meet them with the urgency they deserve. For most people usual expenses would be rent, utilities, transport, food and entertainment. Don’t forget to reward yourself for working so hard because you’re inventing ways of how to save money. Work hard and play even harder! 2. Do It Yourself (DIY) There are a several things you can do on your own. At home. What with the wealth of knowledge on the web? Do you need to do interior decoration in your house? Watch tutorials on YouTube. Check out Pinterest. Need to make your hair? Sure, the occasional pampering at the beauty parlor is probably well deserved. However, if you are looking on how to save money this month, probably check out the myriad tutorials on beautiful hairstyles, and learn how to bond with your hair. A friend can do it for you as well, as you catch up. Your wedding is probably coming up and the expenses budget looks overstretched. Sit down with your significant other, probably a couple of friends, engage verbally on how to save money and list down the things you can do yourselves. Say perhaps cards, flower arrangements, hair styles, decor you name it. What you plan to do has most likely been done before. So click your way away on tutorials on the interweb. 3. Carry your own damn lunch CARRY. YOUR. OWN. DAMN. LUNCH. You probably work in a neighbourhood you cannot afford to live in, and well, eat in. The restaurant in the basement of your building is grossly overpriced. On most days you have to make do with the occasional overpriced snack and carry home guilty ideas of how to save money. On top of all these, you have a microwave in your office. A refrigerator as well occupies some office space in most settings. Image: Instagram/orchidslilies Carrying packed lunch will save you on two fronts. You’ll tend to be both financially healthy and physically healthy. Prep your meals and make enough to carry to work the following day. Decent and balanced home cooked meals. Ditch those unhealthy and expensive snacks that will dent your heart and your pockets. 4. Wake Up Ten Minutes Earlier You never truly know the difference that ten minutes can make in your financial health unless you have used public transport or had to drive in traffic. In a congested city with a largely unregulated transport system like Nairobi, leaving your house ten minutes later will have the devastating effect of subjecting you to a huge traffic snarl up. Driving in traffic definitely costs you more fuel consumption. Wondering how to save money on this? For those who use public transport, once the traffic snarl up starts, you end up paying double bus fare. If you pay fifty shillings, prepare to fork out one hundred shillings. That might look like a negligible amount of money. However, over a period of time, that ’50 bob’ could be put to much better use. Fifty shillings multiplied by five working days is Two Hundred and Fifty Shillings. Multiplied by four weeks which make up a month that is a whooping One Thousand Shillings! ’50 bob’ grows into ‘1000 bob’. 5. Operate a Student Account Are you aged between 18-30 years? Well, some good news for you. You are eligible for a student account in any of the banks in Kenya. Be sure to check out the various banking options on how to save money as a student. This can nurture a good habit in you. A saving culture. A random conversation brought up this simple way to save money. Student accounts require zero to one hundred shillings in term of maintenance. You might want to consider this option instead of these accounts that charge heavily to maintain your account at the bank. 6. Handle Cash as Much As is Humanly Possible With the advent of mobile money, accessing money has become very easy. So is spending it. At the supermarket we now have till numbers. Your local butcher has a paybill number. MPESA is the order of your monetary transactions. Borrowing quick loans has never been easier. Oh, in need of money to pay for a lunch date that superseded your budget? Quickly go to google play store, download the Branch app or Tala app. Get poorer quickly. Image: Instagram/inspiradayinc This takes us to the first tip on how to save money. Budget. Withdraw your cash in bulk. This means; withdraw all you need to meet your expenses and nothing more. This also reduces the transaction costs whether you are transacting over the counter in the bank, using the automated teller machine or mobile money. When you withdraw small amounts over time, the transaction costs can be colossal. Paying for goods and services using mobile money sure has its perks. However, you tend to lose track of your spending when you simply pay for everything at the click of a button. Exercise wisdom and discipline. 7. Set Goals Save your money with a goal in place. This will keep you disciplined and motivated. For instance, you may want to save Kshs. 12",000 by waking up earlier to cut on transport costs to work, in order to treat yourself to a weekend getaway at the end of the year. That’s a novel plan. For goals, one can save by making deposits into a money market fund or bonds like the M-AKIBA treasury bond.