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How to Survive On a 20K Salary in Nairobi

The typical, inescapable circumstance that most working-class people in towns encounter when attempting to navigate the challenges of city living is the 20 thousand wage.

Due to the fact that this money frequently doesn’t seem to be enough, this situation requires a careful balance between your income and expenses.

We delved into this and spoke to a financial analyst to give you hacks on how to survive with a salary of as low as 20K in the city.

He notes that when dealing with finances, discipline is everything. One needs to subcategorise the various areas they feel are essential. Here is how he breaks them down.


The golden rule is that your rent shouldn’t be more than a third of your income, in this case, is Kshs. 6,500. If you have an economical supplier, then this should include your water, power, and internet bills. You should actually make an effort to reach this 5K because failing to do so will force you to completely disregard your savings.

In neighbourhoods like Uthiru, Ngara, Umoja, and Highrise, you can be certain of a bedsitter or perhaps a one-bedroom apartment with this money.

Bus Fare

One needs to master different patterns depending on where they are working. Edmond advises that one needs to wake up early, with this you can pay half the fare and also cover some distance by walking once in a while which is good for one’s health anyway.


There is always a desire to overindulge in junk food in the guise of treating yourself, especially after payday.

Avoid doing this. There’s really nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional piece of fried chicken from your favourite vendor. Once in a while but not for the whole week

“Discipline is essential for the sake of your budget, so if you can, carry meals from home whenever you go to work” Edmond advices.

At home, with an amount of 20K, plan on your shopping budget. Bulk buying of basic commodities saves one so much.

“One must draw a distinction between necessities and things that are purely excessive. At this stage of your life, luxury is not your friend.” the analyst notes.

Personal Expenses

Basically, this is the money you set aside to treat yourself. probably go get a haircut, buy yourself a new shirt, and occasionally go out with pals.

Just to be clear, do not go above 5K with these costs.


It is important to save, and have “emergency money” as they call it. Join a SACCO, Money Markets, Chamas, or Mobile Banking and save at least 3K Monthly. It might sound like a little money but it goes a long way.

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