Breaking Costly Habits

I have been there and I am pretty sure we have all been there…

What you may ask?

Unnecessary spending that turn into costly habits.

I have noted down my top costly habits based on my spending and perhaps these may resonate with you.

COSTLY HABIT 1: Household Shopping

household shopping

I realized that I can waste a lot of money when I shop. Most of this comes from emotional shopping. You know, that spur of the moment “I need this” type of shopping.

How I have tried to deal with this is to always have a list before I enter a supermarket or a kiosk. It may sound like a simple and silly thing but it is very important.

I started going a step further and limiting the amount of money I have in hand (cash) and on MPESA just for that particular shopping day. This means, if the money runs out, there goes Stephanie sorting her shopping again (not caring what people think).

I have also started limiting the use of my debit card when I shop. I realized I blindly pay for stuff with ease then wonder why I have run out of cash.

Another way I have learned to limit excessive household shopping is to carry the right amount of shopping bags to the supermarket or kiosk. Now for those who may wonder what I mean, I just choose to go with my own shopping/packing bags and ensure that only what I need goes into the bags. Everything else gets left behind LOL.

Another way is to utilize the market places for meats, grains and vegetables. The meat market in CBD has been a blessing. It takes a lot of time to find the right supplier but I will keep you posted on the regular one I choose going forward. As for grains, purchase from grains shops or from the section in the supermarket that sells grains based on the weight. You will save a few shillings but it goes a long way.

COSTLY HABIT 2: Haphazard use of Utilities


I want to focus on electricity. In Kenya, we are facing high electricity costs and a few months ago a well known lawyer around town stated that he paid an electricity bill of over KSH 100,000! (I almost chocked when I saw this).

Check on your electricity bills every time you get them so as to establish your average spend on a monthly basis. Please note that if you overpay this is credited into you Kenya Power account in the next month.

Whether you are on prepaid or post paid, checking on your electricity usage is key. Switch off the lights during the day and switch off lights in rooms that are not occupied during the night.

Limit the use of energy consuming items in the house such as refrigerators, microwaves etc. (I will have an in depth post on this with expert advise)



Well, this is a sensitive topic for many especially now that pump prices are extremely high and we are facing an 8% VAT on a liter of fuel.

I drive a German car that consumes more fuel than I would want it to but I have truly become a slave to it. Since I work in Upperhill, I experience terrible traffic in the evenings as I head home. I didn’t realize how much I would spent on fuel until I limited one of my debit cards just for fuel payments.

After realizing that I spend over Ksh 20,000 on just my usual trips, I started getting a bit of a shock. I decided to change my life. I started to park around University Way roundabout in the mornings and walk to and from the office. I was not only getting a mini work out every day but I was super happy that I wasn’t getting stuck and frustrated in traffic out of Upperhill. My consumption dropped by about KSH 5,000. (WOOP!)

Another way to cut down on fuel consumption is to car pool with friends and family. Sharing costs goes a long way and it is also a great way to bond with them.

Public transport is also a good way to cut down on fuel consumption costs. I know a couple of people who have cars who do this. The average spend on matatus is about KSH 200 – KSH 300 (depending on the schedule) which translates to about KSH 5,000 in a month (5 working days a week for 4 weeks). That’s a major saving!

COSTLY HABIT 4: Paying for Subscriptions


I have been caught in this WAY too many times. I once downloaded an app that was ‘FREE’ for the first month and thereafter there was a monthly payment (unless you cancel the ‘free subscription’). Since I really wanted to use the services of this application, I quickly joined and totally forgot that I had to include my credit card details to enable me use the free service. This information I freely provided came to bite me months later.

Why? First off, I hadn’t made it a habit to check my credit card payments because I rarely used my credit card and it was only linked to Uber (which again I rarely used). So payments were being deducted from my main account without realizing it. But one month, I had a significant payment. I thought my card had been stolen. BUT lo and behold, it was ALL ME.

Nowadays, I do not subscribe to anything until I do a complete audit of what I am exactly paying for and what I would be getting out of it. You too can do this for every online purchase you make. It’s so easy to just make blind purchases when you have a great credit card limit but please spend wisely.

Well, that’s it from me for now.

Have any more COSTLY HABITS? Drop it in the comment box below. Let us share and learn.


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