As African nations’ economies grow, so do individual expenses in basic and often, extra necessities, such as food, clothing, rent, data, and entertainment to say the least.
In this case, there are a lot of benefits attached when people tweak their expenses strategically and hone the art of saving, especially on their consumables spending habits when living in big cities, such as Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam (Africa’s fifth-largest city).
Tanzania is one of the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and Dar es Salaam (with more than six million people) is one of the 30 cities in the world growing fast, according to National Geographic.
Expatistan, a cost of living database, noted that Dar es Salaam has cheaper costs of living than in 62 per cent of cities in Africa and in 83 per cent of cities around the world.
As we accumulate savings over time, the nagging worries of financial freedom are wiped out by employing a strategic manner of living within one’s means.
In Tanzania, consumables chew up a large sum of household/individual income, followed by clothing, rent, and other necessities. Neither is Tanzania new at experiencing food price inflations. Price hikes have been occurring, cried-over by communities, and sparked government intervention in the past.
In contextualizing this state of affairs, the Tanzanian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2019 Consumer Price Index showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate for the month of December 2019 increased to 6.3 per cent from 6.1 per cent recorded in November 2019.
These respective months tend to attract a lot of spending due to their alignment with popular holidays: Christmas and New Year, which also drive up prices of other effects too, apart from consumables.
Annual inflation rate for food consumed at home and away from home for the month of December 2019 has also increased to 6.9 per cent from 6.7 per cent recorded in November 2019.
NBS 2017/2018 Household Budget Survey report puts urban homesteads average consumption at $231, and at $311 in Dar es Salaam.
Despite these numbers, there are crucial and creative approaches urban-dwellers can embrace towards sustaining their incomes in the long-run, amid unpredictable economic changes (such as the staple-crop price raise, December 2019).
Do your research and act accordingly
A renowned clergyman in Tanzania,Christopher Mwakasege, wrote a book on savings that is relatable with the gospel, and to a larger extent,resonates with the current context.
The first and important step is to track expenses on consumables so that you can understand how expenses add up and comprehend your spending patterns. More importantly, tracking your expenses gives an urban-dweller the liberty to hold himself/herself accountable —a crucial recipe for saving.
Mwakasege paints a clear picture of how one can save.Most of the young people in Dar es Salaam are now turning their minds to using applications built in their mobile phones, and tablet computers to align their expenses.
“I assign percentages to every expenditure I tend to incur. Less than 10 on entertainment, to 20 per cent on consumables,” said Jafet Lutambi, a junior finance expert based in Dar es Salaam.
Jafet, who also mentors fellow colleagues on sensible financial tendencies, argues that smartphones have the utmost computing power that can help track and analyze your spending, which leads to shedding your unnecessary spending and abide by your budgetary needs.
Junior-staff in startups and other establishments confess to seeking the cheapest food and beverage services available within their living and working vicinity.
“In this block, we have a local food-vendor dubbed “Mama Neema.”She serves the best locally-made dish. I tend to grade it as five star.It is sold up to $2,” said a young graduate,Said Sodoka,who works in Dar es Salaam.
Adapt to homemade lunches
Cafeteria, restaurants, French-fry and juice stands can suck-away one’s income, while on the contrary the more you prepare your lunches at home, the more you save. It is rightly argued that homemade meals are better than restaurant fare.
Bring your own bottle of water from home to work.It will save you a penny or more spent on plastic water bottles and you will be contributing to getting rid of plastic that litter the streets and you will have done your bit to reduce your carbon footprint.
Setting up birthday parties at home, or having an open barbeque or a cookout gathering with friends, attracts more comfort, but more importantly, draws in fewer expenses than eating out.
Evidently, in Dar es Salaam, more offices are now including microwaves, refrigerators, and water dispensers—which makes it easier for you and me living on a budget to stretch through another month without a nick of worry.
Open social gatherings is one of the best ways of socializing; it has its importance in life—thus, by assessing the costs of food and beverages to be spent make “splitting the bill” easier and fun. Do not be shy of sharing expenses when eating out; an equal share of fun and an equal share of expenses.
Habit and budget management
Kathleen Elkins, a CNBC money reporter, wrote a detailed report on how people can undergo their “cash diet” that can sustain everything, fixed costs included, in order to stretch your shilling. Living in Dar City, habit and budget management are needed.
It is incredibly vital to abide by money-saving and budget adherence habits, also an ingredient in promoting discipline in other saving-landscapes, such as fuel, and clothing.
Research all your options and track your spending patterns.It is important to preserve your spending habits and budget adherence, as income and food and beverages prices may change, and you will gain comfort quite easily rather than spending an ad-hoc manner.
In several economic-active districts in Dar es Salaam, such as Ubungo, with more than 56,000 people according to NBS 2012 census, food and beverage vendors enter into agreements to offer customized services according to the power-of-the shilling one holds.
Some Dar city vegans, nutrition and fitness enthusiasts argue that certain life-habits come with benefits attached, and saving is one of them.
“I dedicate only 30 per cent of my income to consumables,” said, Paul, a junior communication expert and fitness enthusiast.
“I just cut one meal,” said Alfred, who has demonstrated a four-year diet adherence.
In addition, the saving tendencies have sparked service providers to acknowledge customers’ desires, hence—drinking water vendors now offer a special package of water bottles at a lower rate at certain times of the day in Kariakoo, Kisutu and Posta wards—where large throngs of bread-earners seek hydration