“I Was Aiming for at Least ₦1.2m a Year” — Nigerian Women on Different Salaries Talk About Saving Money

March 10, 2022

Men are always claiming women are rich but never spend their own money. Let’s put it to the test, In this article, six women share their savings journey with us and their money plans for 2022.

1. Ifechi, 25

When I was four, whenever visitors gave me money, I was allowed to keep it for myself. There was no “let me hold it for you” from my mother. I’d save up the ₦10 or ₦20 from visitors and blow it on condensed milk at the school canteen. 

As I got older, the habit of saving money stuck, but my motivation changed. It started with my parents’ accident in JSS 3. For some reason, the incident sent me into a state of panic. Seeing my parents spend so much money made me worried about blowing my money on random desires like condensed milk. My parents got better and our finances went back to normal, but I was paranoid about the possibility of an accident happening again. At that point, I began saving to never spend. Call it paranoia, but I was always fearing the worst.

I didn’t feel financially secure until I got my first job in 2020.  earned enough to start saving ₦100k every month. The paranoia was still there, but at least my bank account moved up, so I stopped saving solely for unplanned emergencies. The first expensive thing I saved up to get was a Macbook. Later, I started a savings plan for a car. The target for my car was 2022 and I was putting away at least ₦1.2 million each year. It’s 2020 now, but I don’t really need to get the car immediately. A friend has been driving me around town, so why stress? 

Now, I’m focused on saving in dollars. My next goal is to double my ₦100k savings per month by 2023.

2. Hauwa, 41

I was late on the savings culture because of the strikes that held me back in school and the difficult job market in the early 2000s. The most I had done was ₦5k per month from my NYSC allowee in 2002. I was saving up for a Nokia flip phone.

After that, I didn’t get a job that paid well enough until 2007. I was 26 and started earning about ₦208k per annum as a trainee in the bank. Three years later, I was promoted and my salary moved to about ₦400k per month. The growth was great, but I felt like age wasn’t on my side anymore. I was putting money away to have enough money to assist whatever man I finally married with wedding bills. Honestly, at the time, it made sense. But while I was waiting for someone’s son to find me, I also put money away for a degree in the UK.

In my 30s, I was focused on saving to invest my earnings and it’s something I’m proud of. Now, I earn interest rates from treasury bills, stocks and my fixed deposit account. I believe it’s way better than leaving the money idle at the bank. In 2018, I moved into cryptocurrency with the money I had saved up from my bank job. Crypto is now the percentage of my income that covers my rent.

3. Hannah, 23

In January 2020, I wanted to start a fixed deposit account to save my allowee. The whole process was confusing. My friends had been raving about saving with a group through ajo. I didn’t have anything to lose so I joined them in February. We were 12 in the group and each person contributed ₦20k per month. By December, I got my  ₦120k  and started another round in 2021.

Right now, I’m still saving up money on the group to rent an apartment. If I get it right this year, I’d like to visit Kenya for Christmas. To make that happen, I’ve moved my Ajo contribution to ₦100k per month.

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4. Kemi, 27

I didn’t have any savings until 2021. Before, I wasn’t as committed to keeping to a yearly target — please don’t stress me. I’d put money away in a savings app, but it was easy to transfer the money back to my main account when I had any issues. I really didn’t take my finances seriously until I had to grow my nail tech business after university. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the capital. I was collecting only ₦12k from my parents and that barely covered the cost of feeding in a private university. I got a few bottles of nail polishes, but I needed more.

When NYSC started, I was able to save ₦21k per month from my allowance. By the end of the year, I got a ring light and bought a phone for better pictures. In 2022, my nail business has grown enough to save ₦30k per month. Right now, I just want to be able to afford gifts for my friends. 

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5. Tina, 24

In 2020Imy colleagues and I were saving part of our salary with an ajo that summed up to about ₦200k for each person. With ajo, each person collects the bulk money that is saved per month. So in a group of 10, each member was saving ₦20k to meet up with the ₦200k. In December, I got my share of the money. I used it to settle my bills and start a fruit juice business. So that took all the money I had until 2021. I was saving for a phone for the end of the year, but I didn’t make it. I also needed to change my clothes and get better bags — I wanted to look more like a lady. So once my savings reached ₦70k, I gave up and took out the money to buy the clothes and bags I needed. This year, I plan to make it through the year with savings. I don’t have a specific goal yet but I’m working on it.

6. Amara, 27

I’m just taking it one step at a time and trying to survive. I didn’t get a job until 2019 — I was earning ₦50k and saving ₦30k. I was living with my uncle at the time and focused on saving up for my own space. Along the way, I spent from the savings to sort out family needs and cover transportation costs in Lagos. By 2020, I was able to get a shared apartment in Orile for ₦100k. I’ve gotten a better job, so my “big mummy goal” now is to be able to afford a place where I won’t have to share the kitchen or toilet with other people. 

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