Hear Me Out is a weekly limited series where Ifoghale and Ibukun share the unsolicited opinions some people are thinking, others are living, but everyone should hear.
I believe in having a healthy saving culture and putting some money away for when I ever need some immediate cash; it’s always good to have a backup plan. Take some of the money you get paid, put it away, watch it grow and spend it on whatever you saved it for.
However, if I save money, I’m going to perish. I need my money now. I need to spend it now. If you’re like me, who earns just about enough to last a few days, you realise that putting some cash aside is easier thought about than done.
Adulting comes with responsibilities like paying bills, saving for a master’s, thinking about your future, and for parents, your children’s demands. Luckily for me, I don’t have a lot to worry about. I live with my family, and most of my bills are taken care of (not like the people I live with have a choice).
All the money I earn is mine, and it’s not shared except I’m feeling generous. But like I said earlier, it’s not enough for me, which means it’s not enough to be shared. My mum talks about the importance of prudence, why I need to have better habits and how I’m privileged to be earning even though all I do is complain about how I could be making more. She’s Nigerian and has the Nigerian “be grateful for what you have” mindset. Please, don’t get me wrong, though. I am grateful for what I have.
A week ago, I realised I started using one of the pioneer saving apps for Nigerians in 2017. I told my sister about the app, and she got on it; she’s an avid saver. My sister went on to tell my mum about it, and my mum also got on the app, all of us saving for the rainy day. I opened the app to check how far I’ve come since I’ve been on this journey. It’s safe to say, all I’ve saved so far is my life.
When people ask me what my mantra for making bad decisions is, I say, “I’ve been broke before, and I didn’t die”, and that’s a fact. This won’t be my first rodeo, spending all my money for my immediate happiness. I like to look forward to deliveries, and I love when I spend money on things I like. A new dress, some skincare, and occasionally, food (I’m a couch potato who lives with family, so I rarely have to worry about food).
I know it’s unhealthy, but my happiness is tied to the things that cost money, the things I can’t save for. People who save money like to know they have a fallback; if they find themselves out of a job, there’s money somewhere, and if there’s a medical emergency, they know there’s money for it. It’s a shame to admit that my fallback option is “hello, dad”.
I have friends who pay rent, live by themselves, figure their shit out, and make enough to do all that, and sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough. I wonder how much I have to save and how many things I have to get rid of to be able to do that. Would earning more improve my saving culture if I balance my needs and wants better? I know myself. Earning more would make me want more things.
No matter how much money I save, I won’t save myself from my current tax bracket. I can’t save my way to becoming the wealthiest black woman in the world. All I can do is push my wants and needs to a later date and deprive myself of things. Holding off on gratification doesn’t mean it still won’t be done, so why don’t I get it done instantly?
I want to reward myself for a job well done, for a stressful week, for surviving, and I can only do that if I have money to spend right now. Don’t get me wrong, you can reward yourself as often as you like and still have some money left to save, but that’s not me. If I save this money, I will perish, and my happiness and productivity will tank. I feel good when I’m happy, I work best when I’m happy, I’m the best to be around when I’m happy, and when am I happy? When I have money to spend on things I like.
At the end of 2021, I checked my score on the saving app I use. I saw a C6 and laughed because I’d attempted to save some money during the year to avoid getting that exact score. Many things happened in the first two months that made me stop. But it was the end of the year, and the score was there, and at that moment, I was glad I’d saved my life at least. I’d had Covid twice in one year, and surviving it was more important than saving some cash.
I’ve heard from several people about the importance of women having their own money. How it’s imperative that women save and have a fallout option, how women are more respected the richer they are. And I agree with those ideas; I believe them too. But again, how will I save what I don’t have?
Maybe I’d eventually figure out how to earn more and save more. Maybe by getting a job in tech or selling one of my kidneys. Perhaps, I’d give up my wants, put the cash in an app and see how much it brings back to me. Invest the little I get into something fruitful and spend days leading up to a yield in a permanent state of unhappiness, knowing I have no deliveries on the way.
All I know is that saving any money will make me unhappy, and I don’t want to participate.
Hear Me Out: Why You Should Eat Your Sorrows Away
Hear Me Out is a limited series from Zikoko, and you can check back every Saturday by 9 a.m. for new episodes from Ifoghale and Ibukun.