Money Sense: Mobile money not for me


If you are anything like me then you detest saving on your phone. I’m not throwing shade on mobile money services – I’m just saying it doesn’t work for me. You see here’s the thing when I have money on my phone it automatically becomes my saving grace. That coffer I can dig into any time for whatever inane reason.

I could be online taking a stroll on the dangerous streets of social media when my bundles run out. You see you cannot be stranded on dangerous streets – you just can’t! So what happens is I dig into my “savings” buy a bundle package and continue strolling the streets. Here’s the funny bit I won’t buy a cost effective bundle. I will instead buy one to make do. This won’t last an hour and I will make do again telling myself that I just need to make it through the night. It becomes a habit – a bad one. Before you know it you’ve eroded your savings and you have none for when you really need it.

Here’s another scenario.  A friend calls you up for a drink. You have bus fare in your pocket and enough for just one. You step into the joint and he has company – female company to be specific. He has thrown a round or two looking extravagant and you don’t want to play second fiddle. Keep in mind you have 300 bob. So you automatically dip into your mobile money savings without a second thought buy a round of froth and just like that it’s gone. For what? A few smiles and a pathetic lap dance.

I am kenyan and to be kenyan is many things among them generous. A fellow Kenyan will not hesitate to serenade you with an opera of their problems. They will sing their hearts out until they hit the crescendo then you are left with no other option than to dig into your coffers. It just makes it hard to save. In fact it seems impossible to save. However, there’s the one off chance that someone only borrows money with the intention of paying you back. This is very acceptable as it is a way to save.

But given the few cases I’ve mentioned it’s just not possible for me to save using mobile money services. I prefer the rather crude method of leaving cash at home in pockets of old jackets. That being said my friends are no longer invited into my bedroom. It gives me that comforting feeling that my money is safe. More importantly the feeling that I have money. There’s nothing as empowering as walking into a shop and looking at an item and thinking “I can afford that. I can buy that.” then walking out because you just don’t have the money there. You might rush home to get it but on your way there you’d have given your mind time to think thus eliminating the impulse part of the buy. Its crude but it works.

Another way I manage to keep my shillings tucked away is an actual bank account. Given I have an atm card that doubles as a visa it’s sometimes worse than having mobile money. But here’s my trick I simply leave the card at home in my jacket pockets. It works like a charm. Plus I don’t have to worry about people straying into my room and coming across a bundle of notes. I am covered and I have the same feeling of assurance. I eliminate impulse buying – which to me is the biggest threat in our age to a financially secure future.

So find what works for you. Stick to it and let’s build our savings.

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