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.
Precious Ikade, a senior product manager, and Benjamin Ikade, a brand strategist, were once just colleagues. But from the second they realised they had feelings for each other, it didn’t take long for them to decide that they wanted to spend their lives together.
For Love and Other Funds, they talk about deciding to start a relationship and how planning a wedding has helped them navigate family finances going forward.
How did you meet?
Precious: We worked at the same company in 2019. But it’s not like we were friends or anything, just colleagues. Now he will never admit it, but he had a crush on me for the longest time.
Ben: [Laughs] I knew you’d say that, but I won’t agree.
Precious: Don’t agree na. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. We both left the company in 2019, and he got mad at me for not reaching out to him after a while. I was surprised because I didn’t know we were that close. After that, we stayed in touch more.
Fast forward to January 2021, and we met again in person to talk about work and stuff. But that day, I can’t deny that I saw him in a different light. I had never seen him like that before. So handsome. So attractive. So beautiful.
In my straightforward nature, I blurted out, “You’re attractive.” But I made sure not to say that I liked him. I didn’t want to make the first move at the end of the day. But he was interested too and said we would talk about it.
Ben: Precious can be very audacious sometimes. It’s one of the reasons I fell for her. She’s forward and she can chase anything she believes is worth her time.
Precious: That whole week we went deeper into the conversation that we left open-ended. He will tell you that that week was his interview week. I’m straightforward and I know what I want, so I already had all the questions lined up on my list of negotiables and non-negotiables. We met again the next weekend, and he told me his feelings for me.
I told him that feelings don’t cut it. I had to know if we were dating or not. He said, “Yes, of course.” A month passed and I told him to officially ask me out because it was important to me. And he did that too. But technically, we started dating the first week of February 2021.
When did the marriage talk start?
Ben: It was in June 2021. We would have conversations about marriage and what we expected out of the relationship. Just talking about our future together to be sure we were on the same page. But it wasn’t until February 2022 that we finally asked ourselves, “What are we waiting for to do this?”
I could see I wanted to spend my life with her and we were both in good places career-wise. We were just eager to start our forever together.
Precious: After his birthday in March, we properly started the planning for this. We decided that we could get married towards the end of 2022 if we started taking practical steps. And so we did. By the end of March, we had started saving up, discussing with family and getting vendors — the whole nine yards.
Did any of you feel pressured at any point by the whole conversation?
Ben: Not in the slightest. I know my babe, she’s really straightforward, so I was expecting her to ask me those questions. But it brought things to the fore, it became real. And I had to become more intentional.
What was the budget you both agreed on?
Ben: We didn’t want to be extravagant and spend money on things that did not matter. Sometimes people get caught up in trying to impress the world, they run into debt just to have a society wedding. We focused on keeping it within our budget, which was ₦1.9 million.
But our families decided to support us with funds as well. About ₦2 million and ₦2.5 million. So everything came to around ₦6 million. We used this figure to create a budget and stuck to it religiously.
What part of the wedding took the most money?
Ben: I believe it was the hall. And food too. Those were the parts most of our money went to. But as I said earlier, we made sure not to exceed the budget we had prepared, and we were able to accomplish that as a team.
Teamwork makes the dream work! Did this experience help the way you handle family finances going forward?
Precious: Yes. We’re still trying a few things to see what works for both of us as an entity. But one thing we’ve decided to start doing, after so many conversations, is budgeting. Like we did for our wedding. We look at our expenses at the end of every month, since we are 9-5ers, and then decide on which expenses are more of a priority than the others.
Ben: Everything we do in our home, we make sure it is not in a bid to impress anybody, we just stick to what is good for us. It has made us realise our priorities. To be able to focus on them. The fact that we were able to sit together and figure out what we wanted for our wedding, has helped us form the habit of sitting together to decide on what we want for our family too.
For example, if we want to go shopping, we sit together and say what we need, what we don’t need, and what we can manage without. We also gauge how long things will last. This planning and budgeting that happened for our wedding is now being replicated in our family. Making lists is very important because both parties can see what is on the table and come to an agreement. And even though we end up spending more than we planned, the difference is not that outrageous.
What about savings?
Precious: There’s something we found out in February. Even if we have a good saving culture, I don’t have a good spending culture. My baby doesn’t have a good saving culture like mine, but he has a good spending culture. Once my salary comes, I remove a specific amount of money for my savings. As for the rest of the money in my account. [Laughs]. I use it to buy whatever I want.
So we came to an agreement that I’m good at saving and he’s good at spending. I’ve handed over the responsibility of spending to him. We save the family money in his account so that he does his thing.
Ben: To spend the money properly.
Precious: I even give him my money, because it’s not me that will kill myself.
Have you had money problems that you’ve had to navigate as a unit?
Precious: Sort of. When we started our marriage, there were so many things we had to buy for the house. Week in, week out, I would watch our money finish before the time. And I would panic. Ben would always say that having money makes me feel secure. And that’s true.
I hate when we don’t have money. It makes me feel like people own me. Maybe it’s because of my past experiences, but I didn’t want that to happen again. This was when we decided to work with lists and try prioritisation. Every month, we try to understand what we did better or poorly, and this evaluation helps us get better with money every month.
Ben: Due to the fact that we’ve had this awareness and struggle, we’ve not encountered any major money problems per se. Also, from every indication, we can weigh any money problems to see if it is something that can hurt us now, or if we can manage for a while. I personally believe that it’s possible to eat your elephant in bits.
Precious: Not me though. I want us to eat it right now and get it over with.
Ben: [Laughs.] Two different approaches. But the approach we take will always depend on the nature of the problem.
Do you have a financial goal you want to help each other achieve?
Precious: We don’t have, I won’t lie. Every financial goal we have is for the family, we’re both one entity.
That’s honest. So, as career people, what do you do to support each other?
Precious: We really do support each other. Our jobs complement each other. For example, I’m a product manager and entrepreneur and my husband is a brand manager and strategist. Even the name of my business, Tekbuddy, was his idea. Most times, he does a lot of unplanned ideations with me; it makes me angry but it’s lovely.
I’m smart and strategic, so whenever he has an issue, he asks me what I think about it and I say the truth. We also support each other financially, by paying for courses, registrations and certifications when the other person can’t completely afford to.
Our money is our money.
Ben: Exactly. Your money is our money. My money is our money. One of the things that attracted me to her, and makes us work, is the fact that we share the same perspective regarding career and other things. We trust each other in areas we lack. She’s good with management and I’m good with strategy and structure. We both have backgrounds in marketing, and that’s why we can both decide to start a business and excel in our careers at the same time. Everybody knows where they fit.
For the money part, like she said, we have career goals. We know that if we invest now in self-development, it will bring funds that we can use to secure the future for us. Then we can afford to invest in other assets.
What are your financial goals for the next, say, five years?
Ben: We decided to start investing, to be able to secure our future properly. We both have individual assets, but I told her how important it was for us to have assets as a family. As we advance in our careers, we’ve decided to start setting money aside to make deliberate investments: buy shares, lands, and other stuff. Because in Nigeria your savings are not enough.
Thank you so much for sharing your love story with me. It’s really inspiring.
Precious: Aww, thank you too.
Ben: It’s our pleasure.