My first salary in Nairobi was 40,000 shillings. I was lucky because many people who start in Nairobi start with a salary of 20,000 shillings or sometimes lower.
As young, unmarried, and with little responsibilities, 40,000 shillings was a lot of money. Some of my friends advised me to open a savings account and be depositing their a certain percentage.
Being an accountant, a savings account wasn’t viable for me. Imagine saving 10,000 shillings per month with a bank hoping your cash will earn interest only to find out that each thousand you saved earned you 100 shillings annually. A waste of time.
I had other plans. I joined Stima Sacco. And that is where the story of my life started. After opening an account, I deposited 10,000 shillings, and thereafter, made it law to be depositing 8,000 shillings per month.
After six months of constant savings, I was both a shareholder and qualified for a loan with my deposits as security. I took 250,000 shillings and opened my first fast food joint at Mlango Kubwa, Nairobi. I took advantage of students who were staying in two hostels nearby.
I serviced the loan through a monthly contribution as well as continued with my monthly savings. My eatery was doing well too. I added a fresh juice joint right outside the joint and also set up a fresh fruit tent. I employed 6 people.
After four months, I took another loan from Stima Sacco, this time 1.2 million shillings. My deposits were not enough to act as security for such a loan. I got three guarantors and secured the loan.
I used the loan to set up a barber shop within Nairobi’s CBD. I also set up a massage parlor at the back that would handle at least 7 clients at a go. Within the barber shop, 12 clients would be handled at a go. It picked up quickly, thanks to social media. I had 9 people working for me here. Three men and six women.
I serviced my both loans a long time ago. My businesses helped me do so. Now I have 3 more food joints and 5 barber shops. My cash at Stima Sacco continues to earn interest and at the end of the financial year, I get dividends.
I am not planning to take any loan at the moment because my deposits have accumulated and I can access them any time for emergencies and other spending but just want the cash to continue ballooning for my family. Oh, I got married and have two kids now.
So, if you are looking to save your cash, don’t take it to the bank for it to sit idle. Look for a good Sacco, start saving monthly, and empower yourself.