• Set Aside Some Savings
  • Live Below Your Means
  • Focus on Investments

Money management is arguably the key to surviving in this age of rising inflation, cost of living, and unemployment. Hence, this piece will target to explain how to survive on a 30000 shillings salary in Kenya.

Factors to Consider Before Taking a Loan in Kenya

Economics teaches us that our needs are unlimited. Hence, our key financial task is allocating our income effectively to meet the very important needs.

However, you should also ensure to take care of the future when you can no longer earn this income due to factors such as unemployment, health emergencies, and retirement. Taking care of the future should happen through savings and investments.

If you earn a salary that is not in the conventional range of ‘six-figure digits’ and want to make the most out of your salary, it becomes important to strategize and have a system of checks and balances or a general rule book with which to plan your expenditures.

Looking at people who are making the most of their lives with meager salaries, you might be wondering where the secret lies. It remains to be realized that simple financial planning and money management is the solution.

Below are some of the tips on how to survive on a 30000 shillings salary in Kenya.

1.  Live in a cost-effective house or neighborhood

If you live in a rental setting, it is in your best interests to ensure that rent payments do not take the biggest chunk of your salary.

Most reports in the country indicate that a majority of Kenyans spend an average of 40% of their gross salary on rent. Having such a big chunk of your salary on rent is not sustainable in the long term.

Moving to a cheaper neighborhood for a person with a family is a great practice in reducing rent costs. If you do not have a family, opting to share space with another person is a great move in reducing expenditure.

For those whose employers or parent companies have living quarters for employees, it is in the best interest to get a house in the quarters. Living in the institution’s quarters benefits the employee by providing affordable housing.

Also, employees who live in the institution’s quarters save on money that would otherwise be spent on daily commuting.

Some of the other factors that you need to consider when before settling on a neighborhood include the distance from the workplace and security.

Most advisors recommend that rent should not take more than 30% of your income. Hence, the average rent if you are earning 30,000 shillings should average 9,000 shillings.

2. Set aside 20% of the salary for savings and investment

Savings is also a critical task to do with your salary. This is because it enables you to grow your income in the long term through investments. It also helps take care of emergencies that may arise occasionally.

Failure to save exposes you to emergency hits such as getting into debt. A key factor that you should also keep as minimal as possible.

Money Market Fund in Kenya

There are various institutions that you can save with such as banks and SACCOs. Upon getting a sizeable amount, then you should channel them to investment alternatives such as;

  • Table Banking- This happens through joining local merry-go-round groups or Chama’s. You should ensure to join like-minded people to make investments. Some of the common Chama investment options include real estate. One of the safest and most lucrative investment options in the country.
  • Government Bonds- You can also invest in government bonds. They are also lucrative and offer interest rates ranging from 9-13%. It is also a safe investment option as the government rarely defaults.
  • Investing in Stocks on the NSE – Whereas stocks investments have a possibility of great returns it is important to note that stock trading deals with margin and involves risk meaning there is the possibility of incurring losses.

3. Shopping in bulk

Food is among the biggest cost elements of your income. Hence, minimizing this cost is key to ensuring there are more funds left for investment.

Among the key ways to reduce this bill is to shop in bulk. Large quantity items are normally cheaper due to economies of scale and attract discounts.

If you can, you should also shop for food from upcountry because it is cheaper than the city prices. However, not everyone can manage this.

If you are in the city or town, you should shop in the open-air markets and wholesale markets as opposed to hyper and supermarkets. This is because wholesale markets are cheaper compared to retail markets.

Some of the common wholesale markets in Nairobi are both Marikiti and Wakulima markets. Every day, thousands of Kenyans visit them to do their shopping. Plan to join them as well. You will be amazed at the amount of savings you can realize.

4. Use public transport

Public service transportation is both easily accessible and extremely pocket friendly. It remains a choice of millions of Kenyans for daily commuting to and from work.

Reducing transport cost also helps conserve some of your income for investment purposes. On the other hand, using and maintaining your car is extremely expensive as it comes with some costs such as insurance, repair, and fuel.

A car is also a depreciating asset and as such, you should avoid owning one unless it is necessary or you are financially stable. Alternatively, you can use one of the thousands of taxis available when there is a need for private transport.

It is also key to admit some challenges come with using public means such as chaos, insecurity, and unreliability. However, the sector is improving through various government initiatives such as the establishment of a Bus Rapid Transport system.

5. Pay Utility bills in advance

You should ensure to take care of the key support utilities such as water in advance. This prevents disconnections and penalties that arise due to late payment.

Failure to meet them early could also get you in debt in case the disconnection happens when you don’t have any money. Remember debt increases the cost through interest costs and our goal is to keep the costs as minimal as possible.

The best way to achieve this is to settle them immediately after you receive the salary.


Factors to Consider Before Buying Shares/Stocks

6. Take an insurance cover

As the saying goes, “we are only one health emergency away from bankruptcy”. It is a glaring reality that the cost of healthcare in this currently is extremely high and borderline unaffordable.

With a stable health cover policy, you get the mild assurance to move through life with the knowledge that your health is in check.

There are various kinds of insurance covers available in the market. It is upon you to choose the one that suits your needs.

On the health cover, you can opt for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) which is greatly subsidized by the government and costs an average of 500 shillings per month.

However, you should also consider other covers such as a comprehensive cover if you have a vehicle and personal items cover. This comes in handy in case you lose your items.

7. Prioritize debt payment

The strategy for good money management is to only take debt when it is necessary. However, if you can avoid it, the better.

If you have to take debt, you should ensure to get it from affordable sources. Some of the lenders such as shylocks charge high-interest rates and fees. Hence, you should avoid them and use bigger institutions such as banks as SACCOs.

Once you get the debt, you should prioritize its payment and clearance as fast as possible. This helps to reduce the costs such as interest fees. It is key to understand that the longer you pay a debt the higher the costs become.

Finally, you shouldn’t take debt for consumption but to channel it into investments. As an example, you should not get into debt for entertainment purposes. This is not a need and you should avoid it if you can’t afford it.

8.  Having an Emergency fund

A small portion of the overall remainder of the monthly salary can be placed as an emergency fund. Though savings can also double up as an emergency fund, where possible, you need a separate account for an emergency fund.

An emergency fund is a money set up to help in unseen situations in the future. With an emergency fund in place, you move through life with comfort in the knowledge that you are sheltered from emergencies.

Over time, you can also shift some funds to an investment account in case the amount accumulates.

How to Survive on a 20,000 Shillings Salary in Kenya


From the above, it is possible to live on a budget of the 30000 shillings salary in Kenya and even manage to save.

However, achieving this requires financial discipline and good planning to stay on budget. It is also important to note that human needs are insatiable irrespective of the salary. Hence, you should learn to live within or below your means.

Investment should be a key strategy to enable growing your income in the long term. In case you have challenges investing or coming up with a budget, you should seek the services of a financial expert for guidance.


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