2020 changed all of our lives forever. From the Coronavirus pandemic to a major economic recession, our finance is probably one of the most hit areas of our lives. There are daily complaints on social media about the increase in the price of basic necessities and stagnation or even decrease in income.

Many are tired, but some appear to have hacked the new system and are trying to figure out a way to survive this new wave and make it to the other side. We spoke with seven young Nigerians to find out how they’ve managed to stay afloat through these trying times.

We asked them to try to average their yearly income, how they manage it, and if there are any tools that help to make the process easier.  We also wanted to know the one thing they hated to spend money on.

Here’s what they had to say:

Dara, 23

Content Creator, Lagos

I make about N2 million annually, all things considered, but I’m always trying to make a little extra. It may seem like a lot but living alone in Lagos is just not easy. I budget a lot. There’s a lot of recurring bills that don’t let you enjoy your money to the fullest. Don’t even get me started on black tax. Sometimes even with all your planning, money finishes really fast!

I’m old fashioned, so I like to write things out on paper. It helps me actually see what I have. I use some banking apps, and Binance for Investment. I call it ‘investment’ because I don’t know how to trade yet. Lol!

I think that paying for things like Black Tax and data makes things harder than they need to be. But the worst is paying a security fee for a ‘security personnel’ who does absolutely nothing for me. It basically feels like giving money away when things are already hard.

Lydia, 24

Entrepreneur, Ibadan

I finished my NYSC a few weeks before the lockdown in Ibadan. I started my business about two months into the programme, and by the end of my time as a corper, I was making an average profit of N60,000 monthly. I was also receiving a N33,000-monthly allowance from the Federal Government and N4,000 from my PPA (Place of Primary Assignment). So, all in all, I had about N97,000 monthly, sometimes less, sometimes more.

I opened an ALAT account right before camp and created a savings goal of 12 months. . They promised an annual interest rate of  up to 10% then , so it seemed like a good deal. I had some loose cash from other jobs I had run before camp, so I already decided to save all my federal allowance per month. That was what helped me after the service. My  total amount saved with interest was about N435,000

After the lockdown, things just became difficult. Relatives stopped sending me extra money ‘because I’m now a big girl’. The business wasn’t moving as much – who was buying clothes, bags and shoes, really? And no more allawee to even help.

Thankfully, things are better now and I’m making about N75,000 interest monthly on my business since that’s all I’ve focused on, and I started shipping by myself. I decided to stay in Ibadan and I have set a new savings goal of N20,000 on my ALAT app. I’m learning to manage less money even though everything is now more expensive. It’s honestly why I’ve refused to return to my parents’ house in Lagos.

Ikenna, 32,

Writer, Lagos 

From my previous estimates, I make about 2.5 to 3 million Naira per annum and I end up spending most of it on things like house rent, feeding, transportation, internet, extended family (majorly), and have barely any left for flex or even spending.

I don’t have any major apps for saving, but I use my mobile banking apps to make payment processes easier. I’m still trying to figure out a way to save even more money and pray that I can one day stop paying NEPA bills, because what is that?!

Ifeoluwa, 21

Student and Small-scale Entrepreneur, Lagos.

I’m a student and I run a small fashion business. I make about N200,000 yearly from my business only. That doesn’t include my allowance from my brothers and guardians though. I manage my income mainly by investing back into my business.

When I started it, I downloaded the ALAT app to help me manage things, and it has done well so far. I use ALAT to  create saving goals, and sometimes I create stashes where I keep the extra money. I spend as mindfully as possible, except when I remember that ‘problem no dey finish’ and decide to live my best life. Then I remember that I have to pay for stupid things like card maintenance fee, and I just go back to saving my money, because ‘sheybi I’m always with my card, guy!’

Adewale, 22

Community Manager, Lagos

I make less than 1 million Naira annually and I only manage by the grace of God and being prudent in spending and savings. One of my bank apps has a spend to save feature.

They deduct a certain percentage anytime you transact and put it in you spend to save account. It might be small but you’re saving unconsciously. Something that always costs me the most is my house rent, but why can’t we all live in free houses.

Hayatudeen, 21

Student, Edo

I’m a student but I dabble in businesses sometimes. I don’t have a stable yearly income and it varies from year to year depending on how much work I get or how much allowance I get per month. However, if I was to give an estimate of how much I earn in a year on average, I’ll say about N700,000 to N800,000.

To make sure I’m properly managing my money, I split my monthly income down the middle and half goes into my savings and I spend the other half on other expenses that I may need that month. I usually use the saving option on the ALAT app where I use a savings pot to save half of my monthly income and basically leave it there to incur interest until it is needed. And thankfully as a student, I don’t pay a ton of bills yet except the usual internet subscription or pay-TV subs, so it’s a little easier to save more now.

Adejoke, 22

Intern, Lagos

I’m currently working as a Public Relations associate, but I’m lowkey still an intern sha. I make an average of N840,000 annually from intern allowance and side gigs, and I just keep it pushing by planning a lot. I usually plan for my expenses for the next month in the middle of the current month. So, for example, I already planned for April’s expenses on March 20. So, by the time I start receiving alerts, I already know what goes where.

I just always put my savings in one app that acts as a sort of a piggy bank, especially when the money is for something special. Any other money I save just goes straight to my second bank and stays there until I need it. Honestly, life would probably be sweeter if I didn’t spend so much on data since I don’t yet have enough disposable income for WiFi. But mehn, these network providers are running me street, and just using me anyhow.

Olabode,  26

Real Estate Analyst,  Lagos

I make only about N2.3 million per year and manage by budgeting and tracking my expenses. I used to save on ALAT goals but stopped when the interest rate dropped. For a while, it served me and my plans well, but the interest rate would have covered stuff as little as an internet subscription. Now I just have to pay out of pocket every month.

Bukunmi, 23

Media Planner/buyer, Lagos

I earn an average of 2 million Naira yearly. I just always manage my income by prioritising, planning, and budgeting effectively. I don’t really use any apps to help my income. I’m a little old school so I just put my money in the bank and invest in my business. Lowkey, if there was a way to make extra money solely to pay for my internet subscription, I’ll be down!

Chidera, 24

Customer service Executive, Lagos

I make about 1.8 or 1.9 million per annum and to manage I use this savings plan on ALAT. It’s called a ‘groups saving’ plan and I also use the fixed savings sometimes. There’s one other plan I can’t really remember the name right now that helps you lock your funds until you are ready to make use of it. Those savings plans, especially the one for fixed goals or something like that helps me a lot, even with annoying recurrent costs like NEPA bills.

So, how do you manage your income? Is black tax really that bad? How much of your income goes into data and transportation? How do you plan for the month?


Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.