The average middle class Nigerian according to 2011 survey of the group makes between N75,000 and N100,000 monthly which is around $250 and $330 in today’s money (since we like dollar too much). But as we know, we are in a period of economic crises and jobs are being lost left and right.
Now many of you are checking your bank accounts wondering how it gets empty easily every month. The smarter ones are talking about how to make a change. Let’s review this situation by discussing the top ways we waste money.
- Phone Air time – There’s a reason why even in this time of austerity, the one industry that seems unaffected is telecommunication (Glo, Airtel, MTN, Etisalat) and that’s because of you and I. Okay, yes, some of these providers (eh…all) are crooked in the ways they help you burn credit. Yes, some of us need the usefulness of things like data plans and SMS plans. But to what degree? Does anyone really need to spend N100 on caller tunes?
How to stop – One word, budget. It will be a common word here. Cut your coat according to your size. Make an overall budget monthly and once that’s over, cut out. Better yet, do it weekly and once it’s finished, it’s finished. Also, if you have useless subscriptions, caller tunes, betting info, sports info, news, end those. They are just ways to make more money for the carriers.
- Flexing – Flexing covers a lot of avenues for Nigerians. The worst part is that in the past, it was much hard to see other people flexing so you can copy them. Usually, you waited till you got to church or an engagement. Now, with Facebook and Instagram, we can see our friends and strangers flexing instantly and at any point we want which only leads to long throat a.k.a. I better pass my neighbor. From electronics to cars to designer goods. My guy buys iPhone 6s, I must buy iPhone 6s. Where do we flex? Everywhere…parties, wedding, work, school, church.
How to stop – Stop! The people that give you long throat, reduce the time you spend on their Facebook or Twitter or Instagram feeds. For the most part, it’s the blind leading the blind. We are all broke living from alert to alert.
- Relationships – Specifically, unhealthy relationships. The goes for women and men but men are notoriously bad about this. It’s no longer uncommon for men to healthy extra marital relationships or multiple girlfriends if they’re single. All these are suckers. The moment you stop spending, the relationship dies. Worse many don’t end up with anything other than broken relationships with those they care about.
How to stop – First, be born again. No joke. Find Jesus and you’ll see that he’s also good for your bank account. Also seek healthier relationships i.e. the ones that have no strings attached. In the end you’ll be happier and have a larger bank account. Note, most if not all unhealthy relationships are very expensive in one way or another.
- Parties e.g. Birthdays and Wedding – This goes with flexing but it deserves its own special category. These days, wedding invitations come with dress code, colors from the pant you are wearing to the head tie. Even unfair, friends pressure you to buy asoebi from them at ridiculous costs. Birthdays are even worse. At least with weddings, it’s once (hopefully). Now every 5 years, you have to throw party for your friends with each one judging how much you spent or the quality of item seven.
How to stop – Wear what you have to any wedding you’re invited too. Chances are that you won’t re-wear colors bought for someone’s wedding. For birthdays, it’s okay to wait every ten years to throw a party and when you do, focus on intimate setting and smaller sizes and the friends and family that you have a relationship with. Please don’t reference this blog before someone curses me.
- Family Pressure – This is not to say we shouldn’t be generous. But we all know when we have and when we don’t. We also have people who have become so dependent on us that we credit their account monthly whether we have or not. I exclude parents in this for the most part because they are our obligation especially in their older age.
How to stop – Well, you have your obligations, focus on those. Family pressures to have a bigger house, better car, give to a million other relatives, those should be based on budgetary consideration. You are not the federal government. You can’t continue to run on deficit indefinitely. The ones that love you will understand. Those only there to milk you will be the ones that try to crucify you.
- Poor maintenance culture – We don’t care about maintenance in this culture. We might say we do but our actions say otherwise. We usually wait to the last minute to service our cars, home appliances, or even our homes. We see these as unnecessary expenses. Those who have the means have multiple cars partly for that reason. But on the long run, timely maintenance can and will save us a lot of money.
How to stop – Every appliance, gadget, vehicle etc. has general guidelines for routine maintenance and servicing. Follow those guidelines and you’ll find yourself saving money. As our people say, prevention is better than cure.
- Lending or Borrowing Money – See #5. Remember, never loan someone money you can’t afford to lose, or do without. It’s the best and fastest way to ruin relationships. It sometimes seems like everywhere you look, people are in need especially now. I am not advocating that we shouldn’t help one another but I am advocating that we help from a position of strength not one of weakness. Sometimes, what people come to us for money for can actually be achieved without money. For food? Buy the food for them. For transportation, pay for public transportation on their behalf or drop of off when they can conveniently walk. We all need the exercise anyway. Conversely, stop borrowing. Often times, we have to promise ridiculous interest rates to person friends just to borrow funds. Unless it is for a legitimate business, end the habit of borrowing.
How to stop – Simple, give not lend. If you understand that you’ll get nothing in return, it will help regulate how often or careless you dole out cash. It might even help you be creative in finding other ways to help without cash. If you’re habitual borrower…you know yourself…the one who borrow to pay off debts, consider learning how to budget and save. Maybe skip a meal or cut back on entertainment so you can catch up.
Also check out one of our most popular posts on why Nigeria must industrialize now.
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