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December 16, 2010

What It Costs to Be Me

Five women from around the world reveal how they spend their money, what they're saving for — and their most expensive shoes!

woman on the back of a motorbike in africa

Photo Credit: Jake Lyell

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Racheal Jama, 28,Soroti, Uganda

Occupation: Assistant accountant

Annual income: $7,200 (converted from Ugandan shilling)

Average income for a woman in Uganda: $1,216

Home, sweet home: "I live in a single room with a washroom. I sleep on one side and cook on the other. There's no actual kitchen, so I use a hot plate and a gas cooker. My rent is $44 a month."

Bills, bills, bills: "My utilities, which include water and electricity, cost $13 per month. Here, everyone buys a mobile-phone handset, and you pay as you go. The phone costs $22, and I spend about $9 biweekly on phone credits."

Meal plan: "I have an hour lunch break, during which time I will go to a restaurant for a typical Ugandan meal, like matoke [steamed plantains], which costs about $1.30. I eat a light dinner at home, usually milk and a piece of cake."

The weekender: "On Saturday evenings I'll go to a friend's house and watch DVDs. I don't drink — most young, single women here do not go to bars."

Only in Uganda: "At home, I boil my water and keep it in a clay pot. That's how we keep our water safe and clean."

Shoe index: "I bought a pair of black open-toe high heels for almost $9. They are only for special occasions."

The road to recovery: "We felt the recession here so much. No one went to the shops or bought anything. It's slowly getting better. I am grateful to have a job."

Checks and balances: "It is so hard to save in our culture. I have tried and failed. Still, my top priority is to buy my own home. I'm not sure how, but I will do it."

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