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Nigerians Share Their Realistic Monthly Expense Budgets

Expense budgets help you keep track of your money and how you spend it. Budgeting helps you detail everything that requires financial attention, and is a way to ensure you don’t go broke quickly. Now, you’d think that this means everyone should budget. Right? 

Wrong. To some, a budget is an inconvenience, a luxury they can’t afford. We found this out as we spoke to some Nigerians who told us what a realistic monthly expense budget looks like for them.

“My impulse buying part comes out for footwear” — Chiamaka

I won’t say I have an expense budget per se, but the first thing I do is keep some money aside at the beginning of every month. I know that if push comes to shove, I have some spare money I can fall back on without having to borrow. I also have funds allotted for generosity. There’s no cap for this, but I know in my head when I’ve done enough giving for the month.

For expenses, it’s a mix of both budgeting and spontaneous spending. I just moved into a new apartment and started a new job, so things are a little unsettled in that regard. I’m currently paying back a financial obligation, so after I pay that for the month, I do my monthly bulk buying. 

Every month I buy foodstuffs, like eggs, oil and condiments. Then I can keep ₦10k aside when necessary, for any clothing expense I want to do. My impulse buying part comes out for footwear. Recently, I’ve been trying to eat healthier so I buy fruits and vegetables, and there’s no cap for that. Transportation fares change every day, so there’s no specific amount I set aside for that as well.

“In a realistic month, the first thing my money goes to is black tax” — Ayobami

Na person wey get money de budget. But in a realistic month, the first thing my money goes to is black tax. I send 6% of my salary to my mum and 6% to my dad. My brother just graduated from school this month, so I don’t have to send him money anymore, but when he was in school another 6% of my salary went to him. The amount is constant and I’m not increasing it for anybody because I also have to save.

After black tax is sorted, then I move on to grocery shopping. I don’t have to buy the same things every month. I don’t cook much, so I mostly buy rice. That takes around 16% of my salary. Transportation takes up around 20% of my salary every month and savings are around 25%. Everything else goes into daily expenses.

Then I get side gigs, but that money is solely for my enjoyment. After I ensure that my basic needs are covered for the time being, then I splurge on food and clothes. 

“After growing up poor, I’ll pick financial stability over anything else” — Olamide

Honestly, I can budget for Africa. I don’t know why people don’t believe in budgeting, but I do and it has been working for me since my uni days. Many people believe that budgeting takes the fun out of everything, but it’s a means of survival for me. 

10% of my salary every month is for God. Then I send home about 15%. 15% goes into my fixed deposit and 5% goes to my girlfriend, even though she says I don’t have to “pay her a salary.” It’s not much, but I just like doing stuff for her.

The downside to budgeting is that you can’t really honour all the outings you’re invited to. Sometimes I can hang out with friends, but most times my strict budget means that I can’t. I don’t want to go out and have my friends pay for my drinks just because I’m on a budget.

I don’t plan to stop budgeting anytime soon. It was budgeting that helped me buy my car and I’m also saving for an engagement ring and a wedding. Enjoyment means a different thing to me; after growing up poor, I’ll pick financial stability over anything else.

“Sometimes I budget, sometimes I don’t”Beatrice

Sometimes I budget, Sometimes I don’t. But for a while now, say 3 to 4 months, I’ve been able to keep 20% of my income, despite how hard it gets. That remaining 80% just has to be able to fix everything that is left. I’m not settled workwise, so my finances are still shaky. That 20% seems unrealistic but I’m doing it anyway. I had to start somewhere. 

“If I see something I know I’ll need shortly, I try to get it immediately” Bethany

I try to budget but it does not always work. These days, with the way prices keep rising, if I see something I know I’ll need shortly, I try to get it immediately if I have the means. 

But if we’re talking about a baseline budget, the things I definitely keep money aside for are transport and data. For everything else, I just go with the flow. I try to save with PiggyVest, but I’ve backslid for a while. But going forward, I’ll go back to saving frequently. 

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