Life Style

How to build an elegant house with a monthly salary below Shs1m

By Nile Post

To build a home of your dreams, one must get to determine the project from the beginning to the end, this comes with unexpected expenses and sometimes exceeding the budget.

All the same, construction all over is looked at as a very expensive venture. Many people harbor their building dreams because they have been told that building is a headache and only for the rich. The question is what is being rich?

Also, some people assume they earn so little and until they start earning like a member of parliament, they will not build.

Yesterday, I took a boda boda towards Ntinda and around Minister’s village we came across a gated house, my Boda Boda guy exclaimed: “Can one build this house without stealing?” I had no answer and after a second look at the house, I also wondered the same.

True, construction of a house from low earning is difficult, but very achievable if there is discipline and resolve.

Today, in partnership with Décor Design Contractors (DDC), we look at the possibility of owning a house with a salary as low as Shs800,000.

A salary of Shs 800,000 is a head-start in most companies but it is as good as useless for most young corporates. Renting a modest two-roomed house alone goes for Shs 250,000 in the surrounding areas of the city, including upcountry towns. Factor in the expenses of food, transport and the must-have of entertainment and the salary is completely wiped out.

In fact, young people this age, fresh from university, usually have to solicit for bail-outs from parents or they borrow, making the situation even grimmer with debts to pay. Completely convinced they cannot survive on this amount for 30 days, the mention of building a house in itself is like too much ambition, a scaling a wall of sorts.

Some will think about it but relegate it for later upon promotion or a new better paying job. Six years down the road and approaching 30, a girlfriend, a baby probably and a take-home of Shs 1.2m and the money will still not be enough. 10 more years with two or three children going to school and the now 40-year-old has probably only managed to purchase a plot of land with gritted teeth.

Start by living low

But people have built homes on much lesser incomes, so getting a home is not an indomitable achievement of a select few with seven-figure salaries. In fact, this amount is roughly the only take home for most civil servants on a U3 salary scale without allowances, but if you start out immediately, you can enjoy the benefits of owning a home by age 30.

With Shs 7m, you can acquire a 50 X 100 ft. plot of land that has a land title in a radius of 30 km from the city centre. Newspaper croc sections are awash with plots at this cost affluent neighborhoods. Today in Gayaza, Mukono, and Sseguku were costing this very amount about 7-9 years ago, so do not despair about buying so far away from the city since the city is expanding daily.

The trick, however, is in adjusting your lifestyle downwards if you’re serious about owning a home. For example, get off your high horse and start renting a one-roomed house which is cheaper and makes certain that you put aside something for your dream home.

“If you cut down on expenses in other areas as well, you may be able to save at least Shs 250,000 per month. In about a year-and-a-half, you will have a plot of land.”

Now that you have land…

Acquiring a building plan complete with approval from authorities will take you Shs 800,000, another five or six months of stringent saving, a much-needed virtue for this dream. We are now about two years down.

A modest house of two bedrooms, a living room, and a small kitchen, with the toilet and bathroom outside, which is realistic in this case, will need about 6,000 bricks. With each costing Shs 300, you can buy these in five months and put them at the site.
In some areas, however, bricks go for Shs 400, but to avoid this cost, you can make bricks on site, and these will cost Shs 170 each.

A bag of cement at the moment goes for Shs 28,000 and such a house needs about 40 bags. So in another five months, you will have deposited money, say with hardware world, worth 40 bags ready to start. This is another year for bricks and cement, a total of three years now on the project.


  1. I am doing electrical work and am my earning is as I go for work ,its a tight budget but at least I manage to save 110000for month so how can I reach on that dream of owning my house

  2. Am so impressed by the advice.
    I think our people need this talk to get them out of slamber

  3. Waaa man… Labour, iron sheets, are u serious…mbu 40 bags of cement… It’s quite an expnsive venture.

    But my advice to people get other income sources and don’t rely on salary only .. atleast ends will meet… And dis issue if living a miserable life koz your saving money… It ain’t worth it

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