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MONEY TALKS: How I set and met my financial goals

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By BETT KINYATTI
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One of my primary goals this year was to make money. And I have.

Granted, I’m not filthy rich – yet – but I have some extra money in my pocket to chase after those extra pursuits that make me feel extra special.

Take Easter. If I compare the extra I have now versus what I had last Easter, I’m doing pretty well for myself. I feel like the sunshine is hitting the right spots in just the right intensity. And I’ll tell you this for free – it’s gratifying to have the money to do what you want, when you want. It really is.

Life is undoubtedly easier and more fulfilling when the money in your pocket gives you choice.

I only wish I could take this positive heart-warming energy, put it in a blender and make a smoothie out of it. So that next time I’m thirsty for inspiration and a push-factor, I’ll drink this smoothie, and get back up and running again.

I’m certain you want to ask, Bett, how have you been making more money?

I’m glad you asked. But I was going to tell you either way. Because I’m that chick that’s all about sharing.

First, it’s been from the extra hours I had in my hands.

I’m something of a freelance writer. I used to write for a handful of publications but this year I chose to focus on writing for Nation Media only. That’s for print, and here online.

I realised towards the end of last year that I had some pockets of time on my schedule that were not being gainfully employed – a loose two hours on Thursday afternoon, three hours on Friday mid-morning, the wee hours of dawn, especially on Saturdays.

I put all these hours together and they added up to about whooping seven hours, that’s a solid day’s work.

I filled up that time in two ways: I got myself this personal finance column online, and I began a side-hustle.

This column takes up the weekday hours, the side-hustle takes up the Saturday hours.

Second, is discipline to beat my goals.

I usually write my goals down at the beginning of the year. GB and I have a meeting to discuss our goals as individuals and as a couple. I draft them during the meeting then I later write them in a Google doc I share with him.

I also do the same with my mentor. Though with my mentor, it’s mostly writing-related goals.

Goals are a roadmap to my year.

I also make sure to have some daily and weekly goals. I write these ones in my notebook.

These ones are immediate things like, ‘Send copy by noon’. Or, ‘Get to your desk by 7am’. And, ‘Publish blog post to Craft It by 2pm’.

Because one of my primary goals was to make money, then most of what I’ve achieved in the quarter as been toward making more money.

This primary goal has me toe the line I’ve drawn for myself, and maintain a level of discipline I haven’t seen since… I honestly don’t know when.

I no longer slack with my deadlines. I’m up by 5am, either to read or to get ready for the day. I’m punctual with my meetings. I spend my workdays more efficiently; I rarely waste time on social media or on YouTube. I’m always on the ground searching for investment opportunities.

There’s a quote I read from Joe Duncan that has stuck with me. Joe Duncan is a business mentor, his Instagram handle is @before5am.

Joe said, “The quality of your life will be greatly impacted by your ability to think ahead of time.”

Don’t you just love that?

I’ve been unwell a couple of times, I know this is my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take a rest. Last week I had a running stomach. A few weeks ago it was a stuffy nose. One time it was an earache (I know, who gets earaches, anyway). Another time it was a headache that regular sleep and hydration couldn’t cure.

Sometimes I listen to my body and rest, other times I ignore it. Because what’s a goal if you don’t break your back trying to reach it?

Third, and this is the most important, is my change of attitude.

I realise this may read abstract but it isn’t.

Here’s a story: Nanny Viv has been having a difficult time in the mornings getting Muna ready for school. (Muna started school in January, and had just turned three, so it only seemed natural that she’d have a not-so-easy transition into her new school routine.)

Anyway, it got to a point, toward the end of the term, when Nanny Viv told me she was considering leaving my house because Muna had become unmanageable. And not just with the tantrums in the morning, but her behaviour and manners in general.

We talked at length – that day, and the day after, and the day after.

I listened to her, and empathised; Muna was also pushing me to the edge.

I told Nanny Viv she first needs to change her attitude.

She asked, “Hiyo nikumaanisha nini?”

I shared with her a truth I’ll share with you here: respond to all situations with positivity and a mind to make a positive change forward.

With Muna, for example, she should ask herself: Why is Muna throwing tantrums in the morning? Maybe she’s not well rested, so the solution would be to go to bed the night before, 30 minutes earlier. Or to make sure she gets her to nap in the afternoons, when she returns from school.

Another one, why doesn’t she usually finish her breakfast in the morning? It’s probably that she no longer likes her uji as much as she did before. So, how about we remove uji from her breakfast menu, and do more oats and more ngwace?

Maybe she needs to wake Muna up 15 minutes earlier than usual, so there’s more time to manage the tantrums and she gets to school on time.

Positive solutions to move forward.

I’ll applied the same to my own situations. Let’s take this Money Talks column. I used to write it with a different attitude. I wrote it imagining that it was only me and my editor reading it.

Until one day in mid-February, when a reader – Maurice, a Kenyan living in London – emailed with a financial pickle and asked for my two cents on it.

The game changed for me after that first email from a reader.

My attitude took a 360-degree flip. I can pick up from my reading own stories the ‘before Maurice’ and ‘after Maurice’ approach to the column. 

A change of attitude means I’m growing as a person and writer.

I’m making more money. I’m learning plenty about managing money. Doors I didn’t know existed are opening. New opportunities are around the corner. I’ve been looking to go back to school but I didn’t know what to sit for. Now I know it’s professional course around personal finance.

It’s been a great start to the year, I can’t complain. (That’s how Kenyans put it when you ask them how they’re fairing. Ha-ha.)

To wipe the sweat off my brow and pat myself on the back, I’m planning to take GB somewhere nice and romantic. It’ll be a surprise, so I hope – really hope – he’s not subscribed to this column. I hope he’s not reading this as I write it.

Easter weekend would have been ideal but it’s not the best time to travel – rates have peaked, getaways are crowded.

We’ll do something small as a small family, then a few weeks after, he and I will do something grownup (wink wink).

It’ll be my treat to him and to myself. Mostly to myself.

Because what’s money if you can’t spend it on the experiences and people that are important to you?



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Njugush, Dj Mo start Travel companies, clash with Bonfire Adventures

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Dj Mo, Simon Kabu and Njugush [Photo: Courtesy]

The travel industry is blowing up with eye-popping deals to dream destinations around the country and the world.

In fact, tour firms have made a kill over this Easter holiday with most of them recording maximum bookings mainly at the Coast where most holiday lovers are whiling away the long weekend.

And it is not just your ordinary tour firms fighting for a slice of the lucrative venture. Lately, showbiz personalities have taken up the space with a dozen having registered their own tour companies.

For example Akothee Safaris, a tours and travel firm run by celebrated music star Akothee has been offering irresistible travel deals both to the Coast and other leading destinations around game reserves and national parks.

And also in the game is veteran MC and events guru Christopher Kirwa and his wife Cate who run ChrisCate Management Company. The two have started off a unique tour mission that mostly involves couples.

Using their experience in events management and the goodwill they have been enjoying from their numerous clients, these two could be the next big thing in tours and travel.

But while the newcomers enjoy relative tranquillity in an environment that is known for its brutal deals with the big boys protecting their turf, trouble seems to be brewing between celebrity stars DJ Mo, comedian Njugush and one Simon Kabu who introduced them into the world of sweet travel deals.

Many will recall photos of Njuguna and his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye on their honeymoon on a lucrative trip with Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.

Just like many celebs among them Eric Omondi and his fiancée Chantal Grazioli, Bahati and his Wife Diana as well as Vera and Otile Brown, Njuguna was a target with offers from Kabu’s team.

That was before Bountiful Safaris took the couple to Dubai. As Bountiful Safaris emerged, around the same time came Trippy Go Tours, which is said to have a popular personality- a leading comedian and radio presenter- on board.

Now, there is beef brewing between these two companies and Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.          

Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris have both gone to court; they are suing Bonfire Ventures for buying domain names that are similar to their websites.

The three companies organise budget getaways for individuals and groups where you pay a certain amount and they take care of your travel expenses and accommodation as well as other logistics.

They have been working hard to promote local tourism and, by making it easy to take trips to Dubai and Zanzibar with competitive rates, they appeal to youthful clients.

The two companies use ‘.com’ websites but are accusing Bonfire of using their names to register ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ websites, which when searched were redirecting back to the Bonfire website which uses a ‘.com’ domain. The fight for who has the better travel deal has been abandoned and the gloves are off as the three battle for visibility and relevance.

According to Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris, the domains bought by Bonfire are set to expire next year, which may lead unsuspecting customers to the Bonfire website, which then hurts their business.

The Marketing

With its owners, Simon Kabu and his wife Sarah, Bonfire has been working hard to be visible by coming on board anything that gives them publicity. They’ve gone hard on their marketing by working with celebrities with a large following online and sponsoring their trips to dream destinations.

In return the influencers post on their social media and give the company favourable mention. Bahati is seen as one of their loyal customers but his influence online is what the company really taps into from their relationship.

His dalliance with the Kabu’s is easily noticeable. They have been more than willing to make appearances at his events and he has been busy posting thankful messages to them.

Comedian Timothy Kimani aka Njuguna, his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye and Samuel Muraya aka DJ Mo would easily be seen as ambassadors for Bonfire Ventures, just like many other celebs are. However, with the brewing differences, this might not end up well.

And this brewing war has also touched on the purchase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) tickets where some travel companies are rumoured to be buying and holding tickets to Mombasa during high seasons arguably because they want to benefit from the clients at the expense of others.

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I will get Noti Flow pregnant vows Colonel Mustafa

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Colonel Mustafa and Noti Flow [Photo: Courtesy]

It is a month since Noti Flow and Colonel Mustafa made up after a bitter split and now, speaking exclusively to ‘Pulse’, the ‘Lenga Stress’ singer says he wants to have children with the rapper.

Pulse: In a nutshell, are you back together or you are just positing videos and pictures together for show?

Mustafa: We are back together and not just back, this love is hot. This is all I have wanted all my life. Noti Flow is like no other woman. She completes me.

P: Are you sure you are not using this hype for a comeback?

M: Comeback? I never left. Mustafa has been releasing songs and has been a household name whether it’s because of Nairobi Diaries drama’s or haters saying I retired and I am selling ‘mitumba’ clothes. It’s nothing like hype. We are in a serous love affair. In fact, we are inseparable.

P: ‘Inseparable’ is a big word. You were once in love and had a bitter break-up that also involved Prezzo. Why would you give each other a second chance?

M: Even God gives people second chances. See, when we were both in Nairobi Diaries, things were a bit different. There were so many wars and women were really backstabbing each other and that led to a serious problem. She was told many bad things about me and I opted to let it be so. I think time is a teacher. We both know better.

P: Do you see a future in the two of you?

M: I see a future and the future is now. We are a perfect match. She has suddenly made me change my perspective of things when it comes to matters love. People might not understand Noti Flow as they perceive who she is from a very uninformed way.

Colonel Mustafa [Photo: Courtesy]

P: What makes you a perfect couple?

M: The fact that we love each other, understand each other and accommodate each other’s feelings and preferences. She is an artiste and I am too and so it is easy to relate how we both live. The last relationship was troubled because we wouldn’t work things from the same page.

P: But we heard you were married, in fact we heard it from Noti Flow herself…

M: After we separated about a year ago, I had to step aside and reflect on my life. I had someone but the point is that the relationship was not working. It was like that Marya case, I mean sometimes I feel like I am jinxed when it comes to relationships. I trust this will last.

P: Marya was also a singer. She would have understood you as an artiste. Why didn’t that last and why should this last?

M: You know the story. Marya was difficult to work with, difficult to understand, difficult to please. Noti is very open. She says it as it is and I like that a lot. I learned that when we were doing Nairobi Diaries. She is also an independent mind.

P: You want her for a wife?

M: If she is ready, I am ready.

P: The other day she teased her followers on Instagram asking them to guess whether she was expecting a boy or a girl. Is she pregnant?

M: If she is pregnant for me then that is my joy. If she is not, I am ready to get her pregnant. We have been having a lot of intimate time. That is one thing she had missed after she left me. Sticks. You can’t get this treat anywhere else.

Colonel Mustafa [Photo: Courtesy]

P: Stick?

M: Yes stick, ‘miti’. A man has to have game. I am the real G and she is naughty. We have to find a way to soften each other and there is only one way. Should I continue?

P: So if she is pregnant you guys are ready to move in under one roof?

M: I would give Noti Flow a kid anytime…In fact, I would have her carry twins for me. I am doing everything in my ability to make this work. I am not perfect but I am willing to accommodate even on areas where she could have weaknesses. That is what affairs are all about. I want her to get pregnant, deliver and go to gym like Cardi B. I want her to make records as I make records. See, this relationship can be good business like it is for Kanye and Kim.

P: Beyond the Instagram videos of you falling over each other, what else don’t we know?

M: The n**gas have been calling her since I came back. They want her and are offering her anything to get her. It’s crazy. That is f*** up. Where were they all this one year I was gone. I should simply warn them. I am a real G and we don’t take such jokes seated.

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Spanish election campaign cut short by Holy Week

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The southern city, like others across Spain, has banned political advertisements for the April 28 polls from the routes of the hundreds of Easter processions featuring penitents in cone-shaped hoods that take place round-the-clock in the during Holy Week.

For the first time in Spain’s modern history the two-week official campaign period coincides with Holy Week, and the timing has complicated candidates’ final push to connect with voters.

“There is a massive displacement of people to the coast, to the countryside. This clearly makes it hard for parties to get their message out. In reality the campaign will last one week, not two,” political analyst Manuel Mostaza at consulting firm Atrevia told AFP.

Parties have agreed not to hold rallies during processions and will instead hold their biggest events on the final days of the campaign.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists have focused their attention during Holy Week on places such as Catalonia and the northern Basque Country which do not have a strong tradition of Easter parades.

But the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) has accused Sanchez of “disrespecting” Spain’s religious traditions with the timing of the snap polls and its leaders have attended several processions.

“We are going to uphold our traditions, to celebrate Easter week the way it should,” PP secretary general Teadoro Garcia Egea said before the campaign officially kicked off on April 12 as Holy Week began.

‘Unwritten rule’

Their presence at the parades has not always been cheered. PP leader Pablo Casado faced criticism after he took part in a procession as a hooded penitent last Saturday in the central city of Avila.

Some locals accused him on Twitter of “posturing” after pictures emerged of Casado walking in the streets before the start of the parade with the hood of his purple robe dangling around his neck instead of covering his face.

Local online news site Avilared said Casado had “broken an unwritten rule” that penitents must keep their hood on at all times outside church.

Casado and the leader of far-right party Vox, Santiago Abascal, had planned to attend one of Spain’s most famous processions in Malaga on Thursday which features hundreds of Spanish legionnaires.

But last week, the Mena brotherhood which organises the parade, asked politicians to stay away and not “mix politics and religion” — a move many locals agreed with.

“That type of opportunism would be looked down upon. For us these days are sacred,” said Angel Lazaro, a 44-year-old civil servant, as he watched the legionnaires arrive at a Malaga church before the start of the procession.

‘Invisible’ campaign

Thousands of people lined the streets of Malaga on Thursday evening to watch as legionnaires with their tasselled caps and open-necked pastel uniforms accompanied a 180-kilo (400-pound) crucifix figure while it made its way around the coastal city.

The parade, which lasted over seven hours, is one of 42 that will be held in Malaga this Holy Week.

Around 61,500 people are expected to take part in the processions, which are estimated to draw over 400,000 spectators.

Local newspapers often dedicate more pages to the parades than the campaign and most dailes will not publish paper editions on Saturday because of the holidays.

Like many local people, Carmen Fernandez, a 57-year-old high school teacher, said she watches several parades each year.

“As a result I have not followed very closely the campaign this time. In fact you almost don’t notice it,” she said.



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