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.