My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 26-year-old events planner who squandered ₦2 million in a little over a week. She tells us about the impulse purchases she made, the investment that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme and the consequences she’s suffered for her actions.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
In September 2021, I had just completed the move from my 2-bedroom apartment back to my family home because it was closer to where I worked at the time. Shortly after, on the 30th of September, my uncle sent me a gift of ₦2 million. By the 9th of October, the money had finished.
Wow! How do you spend ₦2 million in nine days?
The money might sound big on paper, but I’m a witness to how fast any amount can finish without proper planning. My first purchase was three phones: one for my mother, one for my sister and one for myself. That was about ₦357,000. I regret that purchase so much.
Then I got an apartment in town the very next day.
Why? I thought your parents’ house was close to your workplace.
There’s an unspoken curfew at home. Also, I hated having to explain my whereabouts or not being able to receive certain visitors at home. The new apartment cost ₦250,000 for rent. Then I paid ₦20,000 as caution fee, ₦24,000 for security and sanitation, ₦25,000 for agent and legal fees. That’s a total of ₦319,000.
I also got a few clothes, shoes, bags and accessories to match. I got a few things for my sister as well. I cannot estimate how much I spent, but, a few days later, I had a little over a million naira left.
Then I tried to make some investments into markets and businesses I knew nothing about. I got scammed.
Wait! What kind of investment did you try to make?
First, a friend opened a new business I invested in. He sells fairly used phones and accessories. He couldn’t pay back and kept giving excuses. Eventually, I just gave up. Secondly, I invested in some Ponzi schemes that were popular at the time. Finally, I bought some shoes and bags from Lagos to resell in Uyo, but that didn’t go as planned.
How did you hear about these investments, especially the Ponzi schemes?
Mostly through friends and colleagues. I spent ₦90,000 buying solar machines on SunPower and about ₦200,000 on Firevip, but before I could make my capital, the apps stopped working. I have about five investment apps I used, but none is opening right now. All that money is gone.
I’m truly sorry for your loss.
It gets worse. There was a scheme that, after registration, it was standard procedure to put in my bank details. I got careless and put in my BVN and OTP. My account was wiped. I had a little over ₦100k in that account. I had to block my card details to stop the auto-debits. Luckily, I was able to lock in my next rent and buy three months’ worth of groceries before this happened.
But within less than two weeks of getting the money, my account was empty. After that, I had to depend solely on my salary. It was hell because I lived way above my means, paying bills and getting repairs I didn’t anticipate.
What kind of repairs?
The apartment was new, so there were many leaks and electrical issues in the first few weeks. I had palpitations each time I was about to spend, but I did it anyway. I bought a few home appliances, some bulbs and a cooker. I’ve even had to fix my fan twice.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes. I regret buying the phones. It wasn’t necessary; I just did it. I didn’t know what to do with money and I made a lot of bad investments, all of which I had hoped would multiply the money. I tried to console myself by saying no matter how I used the money, it would still finish. But it’s painful to lose money like that.
What lessons did you learn from this?
I’ve had to block so many people who recommended one Ponzi scheme or the other. I don’t think I’ll maintain this apartment either. Once my rent is due, I’m returning home like a prodigal child, and I’m ready to stick to whatever rules my parents set. It’ll save me rent, feeding and transportation. Also, I’ll allow my money to breathe while I make a proper plan.