Saving Money
SAVING MONEY

For most of our lives, we invest a lot of money on acquiring formal education in order to become proficient enough to succeed in our various career paths. Unfortunately, this formal education doesn’t teach us enough on how to handle money. This then results in many hardworking individuals who are stuck in a metaphorical rat race of constant spending and very little to no savings. We can all agree that sometimes, spending money is more exciting than saving it because we want to enjoy the various pleasures of life. However, saving money is the foundation of your financial success and your future self will thank you for it. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can save your money.

1. MANAGE OR ELIMINATE YOUR DEBT[1]

Debt is a particularly daunting subject for anyone who has it. But if managed properly, you can still live a comfortable life and save for a rainy day. Firstly, identify your debt and interest rates and how the principal payments vary with interest. If you have high interest rate loans you need to consider putting as much as you can afford into paying them off. Reducing your owed balance will give you a bigger financial break than what you could’ve saved or earned from investments.

When it comes to fixed-payment loans like a mortgage, decide what period is feasible enough for your debt and how that would impact your savings plan. If you can manage to pay it off in 5 years or less, then consider placing 10-15% of your operating budget in a savings account for a rainy day. If your repayment terms are 5+ years, your monthly payments are likely lower which allows for a bigger operating budget. In this case consider placing 10-20%  of it towards a savings plan or investment portfolio. Otherwise all that stand between you and a financial crisis is a credit card. Debt shouldn’t take away your financial security, with sufficient planning you can have it all.

2. SET AN OPERATING BUDGET[2]

Think of a budget as a monthly spending plan. This will in turn help you to keep track of your spending habits and reduce spending on irrelevant/ non-essential things. When you begin to budget you quickly realise that you’ve been spending loads of money on things like food i.e. eating out and entertainment which can be reduced.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is write out your bills, bank statements and pay-check amounts and then find out how much you’ve been spending each month compared to how much money you earn. You can then create a budget that includes predictable spending on bills like your rent, groceries etc. the rest of the money can then go into your savings.

3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISCOUNTS AND SALES[3]

Who doesn’t love a good discount or sale? You get to buy things you want at a reduced cost for the same quality and you save some cash. Keep in mind that these can be slippery slope because the low prices may cause you to spend more than you need to buying more things just because the prices are lower. Be sure to only get what you need from discounts and sale and nothing more.

4. REDUCE UTILITY BILLS[4]

 Great way to save money is to reduce your utility bills. You can do this by reducing your electricity usage. Use energy sufficient light bulbs or solar panels to conserve energy and reduce your power bills. You can also conserve power by switching off and unplugging unused electronics around the house. You can also save up on your water bill by turning off taps and using water efficiently to avoid running up the water bill.

5. OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT[5]

A savings account exists for the purpose of enabling you to save a certain amount of money month/ pay period. A saving account is not like a checking account where you can take money out every day or whenever you feel like it. It is there in order for you to save money over a period of time.

Investing in your future should be a priority whatever position you’re in financially. A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.

Also see:

Whether you’re offering a product, service or information, getting the word out about your venture can be quite burdensome. Without the right marketing strategies, your company may have a difficult time staying afloat.

[1] https://www.regions.com/Insights/Personal/Personal-Finances/budgeting-and-saving/10-Best-Ways-to-Save-Money

[2] https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-budget-and-save-money-in-5-easy-steps-4056838

[3] https://www.definefinancial.com/blog/ways-save-money/

[4] https://www.incharge.org/financial-literacy/budgeting-saving/how-to-save-money-on-electric-gas-water-bill/

[5] https://www.thebalance.com/savings-accounts-4073268

failure
FAILURE

Failure is the instance of falling short of success. It is both a universal truth and an inevitable part of the human experience. No matter what time or place in history everyone has known failure.

“To err is human…”

Alexander Pope

Despite the fact that each and every person; at some point in their lives has and will experience failure, we’re all afraid to fail. We must then ask ourselves why this is so.

In my exploration, I’ve found that people are afraid to fail because of the understanding that time is a very important and limited resource. The thought of investing loads of time, money and resources into something and then have it not work out is terrifying. Frequently, this bars people from actually pursuing their dreams or venturing out into new directions.

The ancient Stoics firmly believed that the pain and disappointment brought on by failure was an opportunity for self-improvement; that failure presents lessons. The philosopher Epictetus said;

Epipectus - FAILURE

It is worth noting Epictetus was a man who had all the odds stacked against him. Epictetus wasn’t even his real name. ‘Epiktētos’ is a Greek word meaning ‘acquired’. Epictetus was a slave. He wasn’t regarded important enough to be given a name. Yet despite the many obstacles in his life he chose to push through and is now revered as one of the many great philosophers.[1]

When I think of the reasons why I am afraid to fail, I think about my understanding of the concept of opportunity and cost. I think about all the things that I will miss out on because I devoted myself to a particular cause. What the cost of being involved in this undertaking will be and all the sacrifices I would have to make. I fear failure because this one life is surely not enough to accomplish everything I set out to do. I especially fear failure because each time I am unsuccessful; I have to take a long walk back to my comfort zone. Is it worth it?

I believe that failure to life is what gravity is to our bones. It is a constant stressor that forces our activity and strength in our bodies. Failure breaks down the muscles of our inner processes in order to regenerate them.

Failure is what helps us toughen our minds for the challenges that lay ahead. We may fear failure and do all we can to avoid it. However, when it occurs, we should not be ashamed or bow our heads in defeat. Failure is a gift that allows us to constantly evolve and improve. Much like gravity, failure is a hard habit to shake off.

Mshimba Michelle

Also See:

Rebranding is really an emotional shift. It is a shift in business direction, a change in customer experience and a change in the type of services you are offering. It is actually a restructuring of your actual business.



[1] https://dailystoic.com/epictetus/

SWITCHING CAREERS
SWITCHING CAREERS

For many people, life can sometimes get monotonous and your daily routine can be mind-numbing. This is especially true when it comes to you career and/or work life. Changing your  career can break this monotony and provide a whole new set of opportunities for success. Gone – and thankfully so – are the days when people would work the same job in the same company for years. The rapid advancement of technology has catered the emergence of the digital age, and switching careers has become more accessible. Many individuals are taking full advantage of this development to expand their career prospects. Read on to find out the best ways to go about switching careers.

  1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO SWITCH?

The first and most important step when you are looking to switch careers is to ask yourself what your motivation is. Are you unhappy with various aspects of your current position? Are you burned out? Have you come to the realisation that the career path you’ve chosen isn’t working out as well as you thought it would? Is your employer the issue? Or do you have moral and ethical concerns about the work you’re doing?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you most probably need a career change and these are valid enough reasons.

  1. REASSESS YOUR INTERESTS AND SKILLS

Sometimes we go in to various careers without really knowing what our interests and skills are due to necessity and convenience. This then results in a lack of motivation and overall dissatisfaction in our careers.

Begin by listing down all the things you’re interested in; don’t leave anything out. Be it planning parties, working with children, working out, dealing with numbers etc. Next, make a list of all the things you’re good at; what skills do you have? Finally, compare the two lists and then zone in on the areas where both your interests and skills align.

  1. MARKET RESEARCH

Once you pinpoint a job market you’d like to get into, carry out some research. Find out the job prospects in the particular field as well as the entry barriers. Reach out and build networks with people in that field who will help you gain valuable information about the field you are looking to get into. Don’t forget to find out the earning potential and average compensation for the different positions in the industry. It would also be useful to consider the current and predicted trends in the market and how you can properly prepare.

  1. GAIN EXPERIENCE

Depending on what your new career path is, you may have to start from scratch. This therefore means that you need to gain some level of experience in order to compete in that job market. You can do this by seeking out internships in your desired field as well as volunteering. You can also shadow experts in that particular field to gain in-depth knowledge about the industry and it’s tools. Consider freelance work in your free time or even working for free in exchange for work experience that will help build your resume.

  1. APPLY FOR THE JOBS YOU WANT

The final step on your career changing journey is to begin applying for jobs. Once you’ve gained sufficient knowledge and a decent level of experience of the field you wish to enter, begin to apply for the jobs. Bear in mind that prospective employers will be looking to find out why you’ve decided to make a shift. Be prepared to answer these question in an open and honest manner.

Remember, human beings have the capacity to be multifaceted. We have the ability to learn and quickly adapt to the various seasons of life. There is no need to feel stuck in one career when there are so many options and opportunities for you to grow. So take the leap of faith and put in the hours and persistence in switching careers and success will follow.

Here at The Manpower Company, our wide array of recruitment and human resources expertise equips us in guiding you through this journey get in touch with us at hr@tmc.ke .If you’re an employer looking to fill a position – our vast database and experience will ensure qualified, suitable candidates are sent your way reach us at info@tmc.ke

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discipline
TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR DISCIPLINE

Discipline is the ability to control your impulses, emotions and behaviour. When you are disciplined, you are able to turn down immediate pleasure and instant gratification and instead choose the long-term satisfaction and fulfilment that comes with achieving higher and more meaningful goals. One of the things all successful people have in common is that they are highly disciplined and take the commitment to achieving their goals very seriously. This enables them to stay focused. Without self-discipline it is almost impossible to realise your goals and achieve personal success. In this article we’ll look at some of the ways you can develop self-discipline.

  1. BABY STEPS

Getting into the habit of self-discipline is not an overnight process. It takes time and effort to get used to doing new things. You can begin by making the decision to do better and each day make a conscious effort to improve. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. And even if you make a few mistakes along the way, don’t be too hard on yourself. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

  1. FIND OUT WHAT MOTIVATES YOU

Motivation is an important factor in order to stay on track. What exactly are you trying to stay disciplined for? This could be your career development, health etc. Most people try to find motivation when they want to change something about themselves or in their lives. However, they mistake motivation for the work they need to put in and this is part or the problem. Motivation alone cannot get you where you want to be. Instead of just visualising yourself achieving your goals, visualise yourself doing the work and overcoming the challenges along the way.

  1. BUILD NEW HABITS

Self-discipline happens when you create new habits and stick to them. Studies show that it takes about twenty-one days to form a habit. Once something becomes a habit, you no longer need to force yourself to do it. A month is a good amount of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar. Start small and build up from there

  1. FIND THE LESSONS IN FAILURE

One common mistake that a lot of people make is that when they mess up, or get side-tracked, they get discouraged and give up entirely. Here’s the thing; failure is actually a victory because failure means you tried. But it also means you learned something; that you now know what doesn’t work. Next time, you can try a different approach. Failure gives you new information that helps you get better. Let go of any notions of perfection and just keep trying.

  1. BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Share your goals with others. It’s easier to commit to something when you’ve made it known to others what your goal is. You’re not in this alone. You have family, friends and colleagues who can help you. Form a support system by reaching out to the people close to you, and asking for their help. These people can help hold you accountable when you veer off   track.

One of the most important keys to becoming successful is self-discipline. It helps you stay focused on reaching your goals, gives you the will power to stick with difficult tasks, and allows you to overcome obstacles and discomfort as you push yourself to new heights. Remember to reward yourself when you are successful in achieving various goals. Celebrating your accomplishments will keep things fun, and motivate you to keep going.

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AMBITION: CULTIVATING YOUR SUCCESS

JOB SECURITY
JOB SECURITY

Much like everything else, Job security isn’t what it used to be. Individuals hardly maintain the same job for 20-30 years anymore. Job security is defined as the probability that an individual will keep their job; a job with a high level of job security is such that a person with the job would have a small chance of becoming unemployed. In today’s economic and innovative climate, you’re considered a veteran if you hold a position for 10+ years.

The typical narrative for success and job security has always begun with good grades, a successful university career and a healthy respect for authority. Vocational training and career advice maintains hard work and patience are the key to a long, successful career. As you have undoubtedly come to realise, the requirements for job security now extend beyond these two values.  Ahead of you is a long and arduous career journey  surrounded by an unhealthy level of of competition in a very noisy marketplace. Arguably, job security no longer exists or economic strife has least accelerated the average career development timeline and shortened job viability.

Governments and individuals are understandably motivated to achieve higher levels of job security. Governments attempt to do this by passing laws which make it illegal to fire employees for certain reasons while individuals can influence their degree of job security by enhancing their skillset through education and experience, or by moving to a more favourable location. Unions also strongly influence job security. Jobs that traditionally have a strong union presence like as government jobs jobs in education, healthcare and public service  are considered very secure while many non-unionised private sector jobs are generally believed to offer lower job security; although this varies by industry and country.

Basic economic theory holds that during periods of economic expansion businesses experience increased demand, which in turn necessitates investment in more capital or labour. When businesses are experiencing growth, job confidence and security usually increase. The opposite often holds true during a recession. Businesses experience reduced demand and look to downsize their workforce. And this is exactly what we’re currently experiencing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers are experiencing uncertainty over job security as well as their ability to secure paid leave if required to self-isolate. The insecurity particularly impacts casual workers who do not have the same entitlements as full time workers. 

The main idea in maintaining job security would be to make yourself invaluable – not only to your current employer, but to future employers as well. Try to learn new skills and adapt to changing markets. It’s all about self-awareness. Stay positive and find helpful ways to cope with the psychological pressures of job insecurity because your willingness to adapt to change makes all the difference.  Keep an eye out for opportunities with other organisations in your industry, too. It does no harm to know what’s available, and it’s not disloyal to make contingency plans for possible shifts in your career. Be sure to keep your resume up to date so that you’re always prepared to apply for new positions that may come up. And, if you can, save some money, so you don’t have to worry about paying your bills straight away if you do lose your job. That way, you can focus on the positive, not on doubt and uncertainty.

Whereas if you’re an employer, you’ll want your company to maintain a positive reputation for job security. A stellar brand as an employer will improve you bottom line, quality of employees available to you, your position in the marketplace and positive engagement from your workforce. Keep insecurity low by focusing on quality rather than quantity in your employment practices. It’s important to hire people who will multiply the value of your company offering so in economic downturn, almost every employee is essential. This may sound idealistic – and it probably is however, minimising ‘dead weight’ and loss is basic economic theory for a successful outcome. Put measures in place to mitigate disruptions like workplace insurance, severance packages and financial buffers. Therefore, even if you have to make hard decisions your employer brand is secure.

Let us know in the comments what your concerns and solutions are!

Check out: The Ultimate Guide to Re-Opening your Office during Covid-19

Mshimba Michelle

Employee nutrition program
Employee Wellness: Creating a Nutrition Program for your Employees

Employee Wellness: Creating a nutrition program for your employees

Providing food for your employees might seem like an intimidating prospect when considering the added costs while in hindsight, your organisation will actually profit in numerous ways. More importantly, it’s a much needed humanitarian act as the coronavirus pandemic has increased levels of food insecurity in the country. A good number of your employees are providers for urban households and were likely struggling pre-pandemic. These households have to now cater to children at home and a reduced salary post-pandemic. The closure of certain borders also caused a spike in commodity prices. Households are likely skipping meals while others are starving. By implementing a nutrition program, you will not only be helping your employees but, you’ll be creating a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.

Why Instating an Employee Nutrition Programme Is Important

A nutrition program can have a significant difference in an employee’s overall health. If your employees are not eating or are skipping meals, they are not getting the nutrients they need to be at optimal health and are at risk of becoming sick. Providing them with nutrition will ensure they stay in good shape. It will potentially, save you a lot of sick leave days and employer health costs. Investing in employee wellness will ultimately save your organisation money.

Secondly, feeding programs make people happy. As per a Peapod survey, 67% of employees who worked at companies that had nutrition programs said they were extremely happy with their jobs. Food, fruits and vegetables, have been especially linked to good mood and improved mental health. Food literally makes people happy. A happy workforce is more productive which will translate to an increased bottom line. Additionally, employee satisfaction will help you retain staff and save you the costs and time it takes to hire new workers. 

Thirdly, food increases worker focus and creativity. According to a publication in the British Journal of Health Psychology, the brain operates best when there is 25 g of glucose in the bloodstream. This amount can be provided by a single banana or a bowl of cereal. Should you provide such, your employees will be more engaged, focused, and energetic.

Nutrition programs additionally build an attractive work culture and good PR. Employees will view it as a very huge perk.

Best of all you can implement a feeding program for your esteemed employees without investing an obscene amount provided you go about it in a smart way. You can spend as little as Ksh 250 – Ksh 500 per week for a family of four. That is inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also provide 2 meals a day if you’re operating on a tight budget.

How To Develop An Effective Nutrition Program

Here is an of how to create a working nutrition program with a Ksh 500 per week per household (4 people) allocation based on Nairobi’s World Food Programme Initiative.

  1. DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF NUTRITION PROGRAM YOU WANT

You have 3 options:

a. You can decide to create a fund and allocate money to staff on a weekly basis.

b. You can also distribute foodstuff to the households of individuals in the program. It would be wise to partner with community-supported agriculture groups who will give you great deals and whose produce is mostly organic. You can also source products straight from farms. According to Standard Media, a cabbage at a farm in Nyandarua goes for Ksh 24 but you will buy it at Ksh 80 in Nairobi.

c. Another alternative is carryout meals. You can pack meals in boxes and employees can pick them up as they go home.

  1. DECIDE ON MEALS OR MENUS TO BE GIVEN

A good meal should consist of a staple, a bit of unsaturated fat, veggies or fruits and a stew/ sauce/ relish according to FAO. Meals can also be planned according to need because different people have different dietary needs. Pregnant ladies, for example, need more iron-rich foods compared to men who need more starch from staples and legumes.

Recommended foods that will help you stick to the Ksh 250 to Ksh 500 allocation include green grams, potatoes, vegetables, low-cost fruits like bananas, whole grains, starchy tubers, spaghetti, eggs, rice, all-purpose flour, oatmeal, lentils, beans, and bread. Surprisingly, if properly planned, the same monetary allocation could include meat and even seafood.

What can a good nutrition program include?

If you do decide to give out meal boxes to your employees every week, here is an example of what you can include. Remember it’s advisable to buy things in bulk, e.g sacks, and then divide it among your employees. This will save you a lot on costs. For 500/= a week you can provide breakfast for 5 days and 10 lunch and supper meals to a family of four in Nairobi, consisting of:

Breakfast

  • 1 ½ litres milk – Ksh 39. A litre of milk from a dairy farmer is Ksh 26. This could cover 3 different breakfasts assuming they use 500ml per day.
  • ¼ kg sorghum- Ksh 26 or ¼ kg millet -Ksh 15. This is enough to make porridge for at least 2 days.
  • 1/4 kg of green maize. This can be boiled or roasted. A kilo goes for Ksh 18 if bought in bulk so this will cost the company about Ksh 4.5 per employee.

Lunch and Dinner

They could use the following foods to make several meals like ugali Sukuma, rice and beans, githeri, rice and peas, ugali and cabbage, ugali and eggs, rice and green grams, mukimu, rice and potatoes and so on.

  • 2 kg of maize to be milled for ugali flour – Ksh 74. A 90kg bag of maize costs Ksh 3330 meaning if bought in bulk a kilo should cost you about Ksh 37. 2 kilograms of maize is enough for at least 4 meals.
  • 1/2 kg of tomatoes- Ksh 15 .Vegetables at the farmers market Kenya retail for Ksh 30/ kg.
  • 250g cooking fat- Ksh 24.5. 10kgs of cooking fat cost roughly Ksh 980 if bought in bulk.
  • ½ kg rice –  Ksh 43. Rice goes for an average of Ksh 85 per kg and ½ a kg could fit 2 meals.
  • ½ kg Potatoes – Ksh 25. A 50kg sack costs Ksh 2500 at the farmers market.
  • ¼ kg bulb onions – Ksh 19. A 13kg net goes for Ksh 1000. Alternatively, you can go for spring onions which cost Ksh 20 per kg. ½ a kg should be enough to cater for an entire week of cooking.
  • ¾ kg green maize- Ksh 13.5.  A 115kg sack of green maize sells at Ksh 2100.
  • ½ kg beans –  Ksh 30 bob for Mwezi Moja beans and Ksh 49 for Rosecoco. Alternatively, you can offer ½ kg peas which will cost you Ksh 29. This can cover 3 meals in the week and can be paired with staples such as rice and green maize for githeri.
  • ¼ kg Lentils – Ksh 37 or ¼ kg green grams-  Ksh 22
  • 4 Eggs at Ksh 40
  • 1 kg of assorted vegetables ( kale, cabbage, traditional veggies) – Ksh 30

Fruits

  • 1kg Pawpaw – Ksh 50 or ½ kg mangoes – Ksh 14.
  • ¼ kg oranges- Ksh 12 or ¼ kg bananas – Ksh 24. An orange can be divided by 4 and each member can get a slice. If this is the case, the ¼ kg of oranges could be distributed over 4 meals.

The prices listed are based on the latest surveys by Soko Directory and Farmers Market Kenya and represent the current cost of foodstuffs in the Nairobi market. Prices could fluctuate in different locations.

An effective nutrition program should meet the dietary needs of your employees. It’s not just about giving people food. The food should be healthy. A common misconception is healthy food is expensive. This is not necessarily true. So strive to provide employees with affordable but healthy food. You also need to ensure the food is safe and is distributed in a manner that prevents crowding to mitigate Covid-19 risks.

Ruth Kimani

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If you’re still optimistic that COVID-19 will come to a swift end and restore your regular business schedule, it’s time to re-evaluate the situation. Here’s a simple but detailed guide to help you streamline your business objectives with the COVID-19 landscape:
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