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Love & Other Funds: I Have A Monthly Budget For Spoiling My Boyfriend

Love & Other Funds is a monthly PiggyVest series that explores how Nigerians are spending, thinking, and dealing with money in their relationships — romantic or otherwise. 

Aderinsola Oluwafemi, a product designer at Eden, and Godwin Olatunde, a design partner and motion designer at Check DC, met on a group chat in 2019, but it wasn’t until 2022 that they started dating

For Love & Other Funds, they talk about achieving openness in their relationship, managing the financial burden of dating in Lagos, and how their finances have gotten better since they met each other.

How did you two meet?

Aderinsola: We met through Asa Coterie, a design group chat, in 2019. I was just getting into design, and he was also a member. He posted his work on the group often, and I thought he was really good, so I sent him a message. I don’t remember how I framed it, but I think I was just famzing him because I really liked his work. We saved each other’s numbers after that interaction, but we didn’t talk again until 2021. 

Godwin: Before our first interaction, I had seen her tweets on my timeline a couple of times, but we didn’t meet in person until 2021. 

How did you guys transition from mutual admirers to romantic partners?

Aderinsola: By the first time we hung out in person, we had already been talking frequently. He was a fun person to talk to, and I was at the stage where I didn’t like staying at home at all — I was always trying to be out with friends.

Usually, on Sundays, I would be at a friend’s place or go out for lunch or stay back in church, but for this particular Sunday, I didn’t have anything planned, and I didn’t want to return home early. So the day before, I texted him and asked if he was free to hang out. He agreed, and we decided to go out for lunch. That was the first time we met. 

Godwin: She paid for our lunch that day, and I tried to repay the gesture by asking that we meet again so that I could pay. From there, we started hanging out in groups with some of her friends, but we were always drawn to each other. By March 2022, we started dating. 

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Prior to meeting each other, what were your financial backgrounds like?

Aderinsola: My parents are well-to-do. I grew up in Lagos, and when I was 19, we moved to Mowe, Ogun State. My first experience with money was receiving pocket money to buy snacks in school. When I graduated from secondary school, I got into photography — covering birthdays, naming ceremonies, and creating photo books — just to make a little change for myself. 

I think the most I ever got was around ₦50k. Then, I got my first job in March 2020. It was at a design agency in Lagos, and I was earning ₦120k. Considering that I had never earned more than ₦50k before then, it was a lot of money.

I ended up spending it on clothes — that was when I realised I had a shopping addiction. Growing up, my dad made me read The Richest Man in Babylon. Although I never finished it, I think I got the important lessons. One of them is the concept of saving 10% of your income. It’s something I began doing when I started working. I eventually found an article on savings that really helped me, and things just progressed from there.

Godwin: I grew up in a middle-income household. My dad had a corporate job, and my mom is a civil servant, a teacher. We didn’t lack any major thing, and my first experience with money was when my dad insisted we read the famous money book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

On the side, my parents ran a computer centre, where you could type, laminate and print documents. During the holidays, since I had nothing much to do, I would work in the shop and be treated like a staff — resume like the others, be paid a salary and bear liabilities too. 

Aderinsola, I’m curious, why did you pay for the first date?

Aderinsola:  We were just friends at the time (I mean, I thought he was cute, but it was just that). My thinking was that I invited him out, and it only makes sense that I covered the expenses. I mean, he would’ve been in his house not spending any money if I didn’t invite him out. He protested, but I insisted.

Godwin, was there any pressure to match her initial spending?

Godwin: I don’t think it was pressure per se. Usually, the vibe I’m used to among my friends is that we alternate who pays the bills for outings among ourselves. 

Did it help you guys quickly achieve some kind of openness with money?

Aderinsola: I guess so; I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it.

Godwin: It probably played a part, but not consciously. 

Do you remember when you started talking openly about money?

Godwin: I remember sometime in May 2022, she was working on her budget, and she mentioned the amount of money she spent that week. I was shocked. She was earning significantly more than me. 

The major one was when we were trying to travel to Ghana in August 2022. The process of making the budget, prioritising certain expenses, and saving towards it was the first shared experience we had towards the trip. 

Aderinsola: I don’t know if there was a point when we started having money conversations. I consider myself an open person, and this is someone I’m dating and claim to love. I don’t feel the need to hide anything from him. So it’s just some of the things that come up in random conversations.

Did you consciously learn openness or was it unconscious?

Aderinsola: I think it’s something that’s unconsciously part of me. I’ve been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you knew me on Twitter last year or two years ago, people used to tell me that they knew what was going on in my life, just from my Twitter and WhatsApp updates. 

Please tell me about the trip to Ghana.

Godwin: She had plans to travel in 2022. In April, one month after we started dating, she travelled to Benin with her friends, while I went to my village. I’m not even angry about it.

When she returned, she told me her next travel location with her friends was Ghana, and she wanted us to go together. We had about three months to sort out all the logistics, and my rent was due some months after the trip. We got the cost from the travel agency, and started making plans on how we would save up the amount we needed without being broke afterwards.

Aderinsola: My goal for last year, like he said, was to travel more with my friends, and he just happened to enter my life at the time. We knew how much we were going to pay for all the logistics, and we had a budget for how much we would spend while in Ghana for the five days (I think that was ₦150k). 

Since  we were both trying to save up for it, we had to talk a bit more about how we could achieve that, when the payment deadline was, how we planned to save the money etc. I think that was when he started opening up more about his finances. Our money was completely separate while planning, but after we changed cash in Ghana, it just became one source and we were spending it together.

Godwin: I should say that I was the very financially-conscious one whenever we needed to make an expense during the trip. She usually tried to convince me.

How has dating in Lagos been for both of you?

Aderinsola: God help us! We like eating; we even have an instagram page dedicated to that. And as everyone agrees, Lagos restaurants are unnecessarily overpriced. So that means we’re spending a lot of money. 

When we started dating, we were doing it very often. We were going out almost every week, visiting different restaurants and seeing new places. Sometimes, we would also go out for drinks on Friday. As the relationship progressed, we realised it wasn’t sustainable. I think it comes back to the question about openness about money. We just had a conversation where we concluded it wasn’t sustainable because things were tight. So we decided to reduce the frequency of our outings so we could spend on other things. If I calculate how much we’ve spent on food in Lagos, I’ll just cry.

Is there any financial goal you’re both working towards at the moment?

Godwin: I wouldn’t count it as a goal, but it’s more of an accountability scenario. We’re planning on travelling again this year with a group of friends. I never used to have a travel savings account. I just used to vibe with my savings.

Aderinsola: But then he met me, a very organised person.

Godwin: [Laughs] I think that’s one thing we’re working towards. So we regularly discuss how much or what percentage we’re adding to our travel savings account or emergency savings account. 

Aderinsola: So it’s not a goal in that sense; it’s just us helping each other grow in our personal finances. 

Is that the financial trait you guys love about each other?

Godwin: Yes. Another financial trait I love about her is that she’s willing to go over and beyond even when she’s almost broke. 

Recently, she was complaining about not having enough money to make her hair, but she still sent me money to make mine. It’s also scenarios like when she’s gone beyond her transport budget, but she still pays for our rides that endear me to her. I appreciate that I don’t have to take care of every expense in the relationship just because I’m the man.

Aderinsola: For that, when I budget, I have different buckets assigned to different things. For him, I have a savings plan that I dedicate towards getting him gifts or just spending on him, and I send money to that account every month. 

So when I say I’m almost broke, it means that I’ve almost exhausted the money in my personal spending account or I’m close to my personal budget for that month, but I still have money in the bucket dedicated to him and can remove money to spend on him.

I love that so much. I’m calling that an Intentional Woman budget. 

Godwin: I don’t have any buckets; all my money is for her [Laughs]

The idea of different buckets for different expense categories is brilliant. 

Aderinsola: I love it because it helps me make sense of my finances. I always had one assigned for gifts or needs of my friends and family for about two years, but I don’t use it all the time. When I started dating him, I discovered it didn’t make any sense to use that same bucket for him, so I had to create a new one for him. 

The major nudge though was that once we started dating, I started planning towards his birthday in November, and I wanted to be able to fund it without dipping into my savings. So I created a savings plan, and I was just moving money into it every month, and it evolved into a general savings bucket for him — anniversary, random gifts, taking him out. 

So, what’s a financial trait about him that you love?

Aderinsola: I love that when I need money, he is always willing to help. Also, as disorganised as he is financially (he wasn’t tracking his income and expenses until I came into his life), he’s very money-smart. I’ve learnt a lot about how to manage my finances by just being with him or talking to him. I don’t spend as much as I used to before we started dating because he’s helped me be more disciplined. 

One thing that comes to mind is how if I see that I want something really bad (even though I can do without it), I would try and get it at that moment, even if it means dipping into my savings. I generally don’t have the discipline to say I will wait until I get paid my salary or until a later time. If I can afford it, I get it. He, on the other hand, has that discipline to wait until a later time, except it’s an emergency. 

He knows how to control himself, and he isn’t ashamed about telling me to change prior plans because he’s short of money or money went into something that’s more urgent.

Has the length of the relationship made it easier to deal with the financial complexities that come up in relationships?

Godwin: Not like there have been any complexities in that sense, but the length of the relationship has made us freer because you know the financial state of your partner per time — how much the person earns per month, how much they have in their savings, and how much they charge when they have side gigs. Sometimes, when it’s time to charge for a project, we also ensure either one of us isn’t undercharging. If one of us feels like the other is undercharging, the other person would provide advice.

Aderinsola: Yes, that’s an actual thing we do for each other. 

Godwin: In those cases when I convince her to increase the amount she charges for a project, since I’m the one who came up with it, she has to spend it on me. It’s easier to joke about it now, but it’s only possible because we’re both conscious about each other’s financial stability. 

Aderinsola: Yeah, one thing that we started doing intentionally is that since we know each other’s financial states, we also look out for each other. 

When we started dating, he used to cover our transport — ordering rides when going to restaurants and going to visit friends — and it was taking a toll on his finances. When I took it up, it was also taking a toll on my finances. So we decided to split things, and now, we use that approach of splitting costs for all joint purchases.

So when we go shopping for things that both of us will use, I don’t let him bear the costs alone. I would say that it’s something we’ve grown more comfortable doing because we’ve been together for almost a year.

What’s something financial you hope to do for each other?

Godwin: In the short term, there are a ton of things coming up — her birthday, Valentine’s day, and our anniversary. We also have the trip coming up soon. 

Aderinsola: For me, it’s pretty much the same thing (apart from my birthday). There’s no joint goal we’re moving towards in that sense. He has a travel savings account now, thanks to me, but it means there’s no pressure on our finances when we eventually decide on the place we’re travelling to this year. 

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