Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Spend KShs. 50,000 without a cent!

You know that moment when you yank your wallet/purse from your bag and turn it upside down, shake it furiously, stare in it, shake it some more and only an old yellow receipt falls out and you are left wandering where the hell all your bloody money went? Maybe you dropped a note from your jeans pocket, or maybe there is still some geld in that bag somewhere? Or is actual money a conspiracy? Maybe cash is just a temporary eye trick, some sort of neo magic…You can touch it, feel it, smell it, see it but it’s actually not really there! Maybe the government is actually in charge of this trickery and I think that accusation is quite in line with our national mentality that the government is the ultimate criminal and consequently all blame is borne and should be handled by it.

It was while sitting back and thinking deeply into this theory that I sought means of having ‘fun’ amidst all this ‘broke-ness’. I discovered that there are actually ways you can spend cash without actually spending it. If that means anything! Anyway, here are the highlights:

1. Free Food & Drink

Method 1 (KShs. 2500)

Most openings for gallery exhibitions usually have free booze (READ: Wine) and bitings at the mercy of the attendees. You can enjoy the food & drink without actually paying a shilling all the while feigning an interest in art or whatever it is that’s being promoted. The only problem with this ‘freebie’ is the fact that it is sort of hard carrying your take-away carry-all hot pot mainly because of the environment and the fact that it just seems like unnecessary luggage when you can just crowd your mouth with Swiss cheese, chocolates, grapes and steak at a go!

Method 2 (KShs. 700 P.P)

Attending food mixers is another way of feeding without really paying. A while back I attended an event at the Museum where the public (you and I) were invited to sample traditional foods and appreciate the nutritional value of that food (haha) . Well I walked out of there completely stuffed! So much for sampling!

Method 3 (KShs. 5500 P.P)

I remember a while back, a friend and I went dining at a very nice looking restaurant with a menu to-die-for! At the end of the meal we quite courteously sent our compliments to the chef. To our surprise the lad personally came to our table and seemed delighted that we had enjoyed the meal. We chatted for a while and as soon as he learnt we do restaurant PR , the bill vanished. It was a miracle! A bloody miracle! I remember walking out and wishing I had ordered something more expensive…Perhaps with one of those French or Italian titles. (DISCLAIMER: I will not bail you out in case you are caught fleecing around for free food by pretending to be in restaurant PR. REPEAT : I will NOT blah blah blah PR)

2. Arts & Culture 

Method 1 (KShs. 5000-Really rough estimate)

Most gallery openings tend to be by invite only. I am not going to tell you to change your name to that of the Turkish ambassador’s wife, especially if you are male! Because you obviously don’t speak any Turk, you are probably black/tanned/too pale and you don’t want to hire security details and a bunch of black cars with fake red number plates (too costly) but sometimes it is never really that hard to get into the list of invitees.

STEP 1: Google! (It’s FREE)

Check out the upcoming events.

STEP 2: Respond

Always R.S.V.P. that way they can even start considering your attendance. If it’s a really closed event, request to be included in mailing list for future events.

STEP 3: Show up!

If you are invited, please do show up. It’s a mark of your appreciation. 

Method 2 (KShs. 300+)

Volunteer. When you first hear about an event that you obviously can’t afford but seem keen on, you don’t need to sit down and plan a heist or a gate-crashing strategy. What are the chances that you will end up hospitalized with barbed wire under your skin and ugly looking nettles in your hair? And did I mention ridicule? But if you are lucky to jump over the security you will need to have done months of gym work to sprint like Tergat. (Wait, does Tergat even sprint?) The beauty of volunteering is sometimes the organizers are nice enough to offer FREE food and maybe a stipend for all your trouble! You can even get a plus one to the event.

Alternatively, you can “choose” to be the plus one. Hang out with crowds who know where the party’s at. That way you can become a permanent party escort/ concierge and do NOT feel obliged to trade anything. That is all.

Method 3 (KShs. 4000+)

Sometimes an event is being organized and you know you have the skills to do something. Maybe you are a talented singer-acrobat-bouncer all rolled in one. Unlike a volunteer who get paid a stipend, why not offer your services and state your fee? (This is not really a question, just do it.)

Method 4 (KShs. 4000+)

So there is this gifted pianist coming to town who can play incredibly well with his toes and can even pour a cuppatee while playing the 5th symphony by Mozart and the only thing standing in your way is a big bully of a man in all-black and carrying a most outdated walkie-talkie! If you try to go past him he might just air lift you (FREE air ride, Yaay!!..NOT!) and plus its rather indecent when you arrive at the grand event in your posh but thrifted PLADA (read: Prada) dress only to be man-handled by security. What to do?

Please do NOT attempt to flirt. (Though if it works you can just come back and comment on this article how terribly wrong I was) .You have to realize that most of these events have two phases. Phase one is the expensive gig held at a really nice place and phase two is out in the park…and it’s probably free and you don’t have to wear Plada! Just tuck some tee into your jeans, a pair of shades and sandals...Easy breezy!

3. Exercise and well being

Method 1 (KShs. 5000-Really rough estimate)

You know that thing when you know every single guy behind that Kenchic counter? They even know that you like your chicken smoke black,crunchy and dressed in oil for breakfast. When it comes to that, it’s time you started jotting down a will unless of course you do gym. But let’s face it, who likes hanging out at the gym? There is always that skinny person who can lift weights like a maniac, that instructor who is overly enthusiastic about your regimen, the sweat…oh the unsightly sweat! And weirdly enough right outside the gym there is this candy dispensing machine with chocolate bars etc. why? Oh why?

So apart from the obvious torture, there is the additional factor of cost and the permanent excuse of lack of time to do actual gym work…guess what? Gym can be free and yes you can make time for it.

Step I: Walk to work/ School.

This makes sense unless the distance between home and work/school is like trekking from Narok to Wajir at high noon in 6 inch stilettos. Benefits? It’s FREE. And you have an excuse to leave the office immediately you get there because you need a bath!

Step 2: Morning/evening runs

Do a lap around the neighborhood. If you decide on running, please try not to let the parked car move faster than you. That would be a complete shame and a defeat for things logical. Parked cars may become a new conspiracy and Toyota would be forced to start manufacturing bicycles and trolleys instead of cars.

Where your neighbors have those lousy pit bulls on the loose, please by all means restrain yourself to running up and down the staircase. It is effective and is FREE and has enough testimonials from mothers with toddlers unless of course you can outrun those pesky canines. In which case, I hereby certify that you are both fit and athletic and can go back to the fast food counter.

Method 2 (KShs. 3500+ PS)
For those keen on Eastern meditation, you can always infuse it with your daily routine so you don’t have to make a dash to the yoga parlor every now and then. For example infuse Zen with meal times, Zen+ work, Zen +study etc. You get the point. Am quite sure you can never quite completely lack a serene place or moment to meditate. Like that hour in the afternoon when everyone at the office bangs on their desk with sleep…

4. Free Shopping (Value Unknown)

In case you are imagining an entire trolley packed to the brim with an assortment of items from ginger biscuits to aftershave to diapers and entire subwoofer systems, please stop reading. I will disappoint you thoroughly.

Free shopping here refers to getting stuff like magazines, keyholders, candy, matches, credit and other things that are nearly free or discounted. Look out for these items anywhere online and away. Some local sites sell stuff at really discounted prices .Like you can get a ticket to a gig worth KShs. 2000 for a mere KSh.1200. That is savings right there! No sweat no tears.

Also try to get those shopping vouchers. Especially during the holiday season when some retailers become rather charitable. You can actually win an entire shopping experience (Subwoofers and all). The ‘smart’ card thing is also rather smart. So when you are really really really broke , you can still afford to get those multi-colored shoelaces you always wanted using your ‘smart’ points…Sorted!

Synopsis (ß Geekish for the summary)

As you may have noticed, the title of this article suggests spending KShs. 50,000 w/o money. That is thoroughly conservative and at the same time rather unattainable for some. The key to smart expenditure boils down to wits (evil laugh) . I am not a financial advisor but I have a knack to believe I can make a fine consultant. Call 1-900-Dial- a- guru to book an appointment with yours truly. I charge by the second.

Cheers! (It’s FREE)


  1. Perfection! You are pretty fantastic!!! I really like your unique point of view. Great post and BRILLIANT blog! :-)