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PERSONAL FINANCE: Do you ever track your expenses?

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Have you ever tried to lose weight, keep fit, or maintain a healthy diet?

One of the highly recommended procedures that you must undertake to achieve your goal is faithfully keeping a record of everything you eat and drink.

The road to a healthy lifestyle becomes much easier if you habitually keep a close eye on the type of food you eat, including the amount of sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you consume.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy financial lifestyle, the same philosophy applies. You must keep a record of everything you spend your money on. This involves knowing where your money goes every month and turning this knowledge into a source of financial wellness.

For example, can your account for every shilling you spent in March? None the least, tracking expenses is usually easier said than done. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get it right:

What is your monthly net income?

This is the first thing you need to know. Personal finance coach Robert Kimani says that knowing what your monthly net income is will give you the benchmark figure with which you will contrast your expenditures.

“”You must have a correct net figure that shows how your money is spent on your fixed and unfixed expenses,” he says.

If you’re employed, your net income will be the amount you have after taxes and deductions such as NHIF or NSSF have been made. It might be harder to get a monthly standard figure if you are in entrepreneurship because business income is not constant. But you can get a good idea by getting the average of net income from the last few years and adjusting it on a monthly basis.

Rob Berger, a financial advisor and the author of Retire Before Mom and Dad, says that apart from your net income, you should also track your net worth. “You need to come up with a statement of your net worth. It should include a list of the assets you own and the debts you owe,” he says.

Rob also says you must not literally include every asset you own, but all debts on your statement. “Include critical financial channels such as checking and savings accounts, investment and retirement accounts, and, businesses and real estate ventures. You can track these using a spreadsheet such as the Google Sheets spreadsheet,” he says.

There are a host of mobile phones and web financial tracking applications that you can use to track your spending.

In Kenya, there are certain mobile apps that have been designed in such a way that individuals and businesses can monitor both their daily and monthly expenses. There are also apps that will give you details on where you spend your money, with whom, as well as give you added advantage such as saving calendars and programmes.

Take SpendTrack for example. This online platform will allow you to track your monthly expenses. It is subdivided into categories that allow you to examine your utilities, communication, domestic, entertainment and transport expenses.

It will also track your income; from investments, rent, dividends, salary and bonuses, as well as your general assets and liabilities.

When you set out to download personal finance mobile and web applications, it is recommended that you opt for trusted app builders. For example, when downloading apps on your phone, you can start with well-known app stores such as Google Play of Apple’s App Store.

This method will help you track and tame your expenses. To begin with, you need to identify what your expenses are.

You’ll then need to get physical envelopes, and label each with an expense. For example, you can label the envelopes as entertainment, clothing and shoes, utilities or transport. You will then put money in each envelope according to the specific amount the expenditure written on the envelope will consume.

For example, you can put Sh5,000 in the groceries envelope and Sh6,000 in the utility bills envelope.

“Your spending will stop once an envelope for a particular item runs empty. This will ensure that your money tracks itself throughout the month,” says Kimani.

source:Saturday Nation

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Austrian tourist’s binge turns tragic in Mtwapa

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Just after midnight on September 4, Armin Roger Roeseler left Indiana Hotel with his friend Dietmar Markus and headed to Casuarina Club in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

At the club, two women identified as Everylne Chengetich and Lydia Nyaboke joined Mr Roeseler — who was visiting Kenya for the first time — and his host Markus.

As the partying progressed, Mr Roeseler, a body builder, allegedly inquired from the women where he would get cocaine.

“They had little knowledge of where they could get the drug and requested for help from a taxi driver who volunteered to guide the foreigners,” states a police report.

Mr Roeseler, 47, gave the taxi driver Sh10,000 to fetch the drug. He reportedly injected himself in the arm with the substance and went on drinking at the club.

Police records show he began feeling sick and made several trips to the toilet. As things got worse, Markus advised him to return to their hotel. “He refused and went on partying until 4am when his condition worsened,” reads the police report.

Shortly afterwards, he lost consciousness. Bouncers rushed him to the nearby Jambo Jipya Medical Clinic, where he was referred to Jocham Hospital in Mombasa.

He was pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy revealed that his death was caused by a drug overdose. The two women were arrested, recorded statements and charged at Shanzu Law Court with the murder of Mr Roeseler.

On Monday the women appeared before Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate David Odhiambo but did not take plea.

State Counsel Rosemary Nandi said they were reviewing the file before making a decision on charges they may prefer against them. “The file has not been brought to court because the ODPP is still reviewing the evidence gathered before a decision is made on the fate of the suspects. We ask for more time to avail the file,” Ms Nandi said. Sources privy to the investigations said the two might be discharged because the postmortem report indicated that Mr Roeseler died of a cocaine overdose.

Prepared by Jocham Hospital, the postmortem report shows the drug affected his nervous system.

But, while asking for more time to detain the suspects, investigating officer Sammy Oyaro said Mr Roeseler might have been drugged.

“I am yet to record statements from all witnesses,” said the officer.

The court directed that they remain in custody for two more days.

They were detained at Mtwapa Police Station as investigations continue.

The body of the deceased was cremated in Nairobi on September 6, after his family — based in Austria — gave the consulate the green light to do so.

Police said Mr Roeseler had been in Kenya for barely three weeks. He was invited by Markus, who once lived in Diani, Kwale County, before moving to Mtwapa.

Cases of revellers being drugged are rampant in Mtwapa, the ‘village that never sleeps’, due to its vibrant night life. It has hundreds of clubs that attract tourists from Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

BY nation.co.ke

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Increasing suicide cases shake Kirinyaga

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Three people died by suicide in Kirinyaga County on Tuesday, raising concerns among national government officials.

The body of 34-year-old Stephen Kinyua was found hanging from a tree in Kiaragana village while that of John Maina was found inside a house in Riakiania.

At Thumaita village, residents were shocked when they stumbled upon Peter Kinyua’s body hanging from a tree.

They reported the matter at Kianyaga Police Station.

The three, from different villages, did not leave suicide notes to explain their actions.

Their bodies were taken to Kerugoya Referral Hospital mortuary.

Ndia Deputy County Commissioner Mr Moses Ivuto said cases of suicide were on the rise in the region.

“They are reported on daily basis. We are concerned,” Mr Ivuto said, citing domestic feuds and drug abuse.

“When men quarrel with their spouses and abuse drugs, they kill themselves.”

He called on local church leaders to intervene.

“Church leaders should embark on aggressive counselling of residents, men in particular, so that we do not continue losing more lives this way,” he said.

By nation.co.ke

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US cancer survivor swims across English Channel

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An American breast cancer survivor on Tuesday became the first person to swim across the English Channel four times non-stop in a 54-hour feat of endurance.

Sarah Thomas, 37, an open water marathon swimmer from the US state of Colorado, could be seen in a video posted on Facebook arriving at Dover on the southern English coast with a group of supporters cheering her on.

“I feel a little sick,” she is heard saying following the herculean effort, which reportedly saw her cover close to 130 miles (209 kilometres) due to strong tides.

Only four swimmers have previously completed the approximately 21-mile Channel crossing between Britain and France three times without stopping.

“I just can’t believe we did it,” Thomas told the BBC.

“I’m really just pretty numb. There was a lot of people on the beach to meet me and wish me well and it was really nice of them, but I feel just mostly stunned.”

Thomas said the hardest part was dealing with the salt water, which left her throat and mouth sore, while she also got stung in the face by a jellyfish.

The athlete relied on a protein recovery drink mixed with electrolytes and caffeine – which was tied to a rope and thrown to her every 30 minutes – to complete the feat, according to her mother.

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh wrote on Twitter that her achievement was “extraordinary, amazing, super-human”.

“Just when we think we’ve reached the limit of human endurance, someone shatters the records,” he wrote.

In a post on Saturday before setting off, Thomas wrote: “This swim is dedicated to all the survivors out there.

“This is for those of us who have prayed for our lives, who have wondered with despair about what comes next, and have battled through pain and fear to overcome,” she wrote.

The marathon swimmer received the cancer diagnosis four months after an unprecedented August 2017 non-stop solo swim of 104.6 miles in Lake Champlain on the US-Canada border.

She underwent treatment for the aggressive form of breast cancer – which had already begun spreading to the lymph nodes under one of her arms – in the summer of 2018, according to a fundraising website for a documentary about her achievements.

“I was at the peak of my athletic accomplishments… and then I got diagnosed with cancer,” Thomas said in a video posted on the Kickstarter website.

“It’s part of who I am now, part of my story. I just hope it never comes back but if it does, to know that I did everything I wanted to do in life.”

In the video Thomas, who finished her first open-water event in 2007 and had previously made two Channel swims in 2012 and 2016, said swimming across the Dover Strait had been a lifelong dream and “just as hard as climbing Mount Everest”.

“When you’re a kid you just dream of swimming the English Channel.”

By nation.co.ke

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