A lot of spending is out of necessity — for food, for rent, for clothes, for hospital bills (or health insurance). Do we ever spend money on what makes us happy without obligation? Yes, we do. But these things vary from person to person.
We asked a bunch of Nigerians to share the expenses that spark joy in them. Their responses were super-interesting.
Anuoluwa* was mopping the floors on a Saturday morning when he asked himself, “Am I earning so little that I cannot afford a housekeeper?” Since then, he has outsourced his chores once a week to a housekeeper he pays ₦15,000.
“One day, I was washing clothes by hand when I realised I could afford a washing machine, so I bought one the very next day. “Knowing that I never have to pick up a mop or broom does wonders for my mental health. Convenience is my feel-good expense.”
Every month, Kunle* spends two-third of his salary on giveaways. Asides from black tax, he chooses to help people who he can verify have pressing needs. “I donated ₦1.5 million to a cause I saw on Twitter, and that’s not even the highest I’ve spent helping others,” he said.
He believes that giving back is how he got to where he is in life: “Necessity has placed this mandate on me, and I believe in it.” This year, he said, he has spent over ₦8 million on charity.
Pedro started working out in the summer of 2015 but only became consistent in January 2021. Gym subscriptions, gear and dietary changes have become part of his routine expenses.
“In a month, I can spend ₦50,000 – ₦60,000 on gym-related expenses,” he said. But, recently, the hike in prices is causing him to reconsider his budget. “As much as it’s a spending I derive satisfaction from, the country is hard.” He put his new budget at ₦30,000, placing priority on new gym kits and supplements.
4. Streaming subscriptions
While most of us piggyback off the generosity of friends and family who pay for Netflix, there’s Kingsley*, who maintains seven different streaming platforms every month. When he isn’t restaurant-hopping with friends, Kingsley enjoys spending money on streaming services. Here is a list of the services and how much they cost: Netflix (₦4,400), HBO Max ($10), Deezer (₦1,000), Youtube (₦2,800), Scribd ($8), DSTV (₦6,800) and Show Max (₦3,400). “I don’t have many friends, so these things keep me busy,” he said.
When Udoka* was in boarding school, they weren’t allowed deodorants for religious reasons; it was a distraction, they said. Somehow, her friend managed to sneak in a body mist to school, which started her journey into an expense that still sparks joy to this day.
“The perfumes I want now are ₦82,000, ₦64,000 and ₦44,000. I could be starving with no clean clothes on my back, but if I smell good, I’d be fine,” she said. Growing up, she watched her father buy perfumes for her mother, and now she spends at least ₦20,000 a month on perfumes. “I have a budget, but I move this budget around to accommodate at least one perfume a month.”
Nkiru* is obsessed with her plants, and that’s why spending ₦150,000 on them doesn’t seem like a lot to her. Money isn’t the only resource Nkiru spends on her plants; she admits that a lot of time and energy goes into being a plant mom.
“I get the flowers from gardeners I can trust to have pest-free plants, and the pots and stones I sourced myself,” she said. “I mist them twice a day, I clean the leaves to remove dust, I use organic fertilizers and clean their pots monthly.” She admits to spending ₦35,000 on shelving and repotting in a single month. Her current limit for plant expenses is ₦50,000, and that’s because she doesn’t have any more space to grow them.
Uloma*, who declares herself a shopaholic, said, “I spend half of my ₦220,000 salary on clothes.” She thrifts most of her clothes from Instagram but also ensures to buy from two high-end brands every month. “I have paid ₦37,000 for a dress plus delivery. If I have the money, there’s no limit for clothes.”
Some people enjoy shopping for clothes, and there’s Akpan*, who spends ₦19,000 on a shirt even though he earns less than ₦50,000 a month. He admits to buying clothes every month no matter what. “I spend what I have, but I MUST have a new clothing item every month,” he said. When asked how much he was willing to spend on clothes he asked, “Can you put a price on happiness?”