School Fees, Rent and Work: 5 Nigerian Dads on How they Survive January

January 11, 2022

At this point, everyone and their family members can relate to January being the longest and most challenging month of the year. We usually receive our salaries in the thick of Detty December, making it hard for us to save and plan for the new year. While this year’s January seems to be speeding, many of  us may  still be stuck in the financial trenches right now. We asked some Nigerian dads about their current January situation and how they’re avoiding SAPA

“Why are we paying over N150,000 for a child who isn’t learning anything?” — Kamdi, 43

I have three kids, so it’s easy to assume I would be used to January and its wahala by now, but alas. My little one started creche this month, and because there’s a four-year gap between the baby and her older brother, we hadn’t done this creche or baby thing in a while. Omo, everything don cost! Why are we paying over N150,000 for a child who isn’t learning anything? I tried to talk my wife out of it, but I started looking like an enemy of progress, so we just went through with it. We can afford it, but I still think it’s unnecessary. How are we surviving the new cost? Well, my wife is going back to work. Last last, two incomes are better than one. But there’s no way we’re having another baby, not even by mistake. 

“Our baby came early, but we’re trying to make it work” — Nsikan, 31

Being a dad changes your life. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s actually true. I’m a first-time dad and my baby who was due to come in March arrived in the last week of 2021. I can’t even begin to explain how draining it has been physically, mentally and financially. We had a solid plan, but this baby looked at us and said, “Dear sir/ma, fuck your plans.” 

So far, we’ve had to dig into our savings to pay for two surgeries and his incubation since insurance wouldn’t cover everything. This is not how we planned our first time as parents, but thankfully we’d saved as much as we could. It’s annoying that I can’t complain because children — early or on time — are a gift from God and I don’t want to be ungrateful. Hopefully, this whole thing ends before the month runs out. 

“I hate that rent is in January, but I think I have a system” — Toye, 30

Paying rent stresses me out. I’ve always hated the idea and it’s probably the main reason why I didn’t move out of my parent’s house until I was married. My wife and I moved into a new apartment in 2019 and it’s expensive AF. Renewing our rent in 2020 almost made me cry because honestly, I suck at saving. I tell myself I’ll put cash away, but I just never seem to do it. Two years ago, to avoid stories that touch, I started saving aggressively, using one of those saving apps that deduct money from your account. It worked out well for 2021’s rent. This year, I’m ready to pay rent  at the end of the month. I’m now so used to these things that I have a savings account for everything down to the next PlayStation because heaven knows my wife will buy me a white collared shirt again. 

“My wife lost her job, but we meuve” — Nonso, 28 

Everyone else keeps saying that January is moving with speed this year, but for me and my family, it’s literally crawling. My wife lost her job in November last year and it’s been crazy for us. It’s not like we’re dying or anything, but losing one source of income changes the dynamics in your home. My wife suggested that she and the kids move in with her parents since they have money. I feel weird about it, but I don’t have a choice and I know it’s temporary, pending when we get back on our feet. It’s good to know that all I have to worry about is rent and school fees, let them sit there and eat grandpa and grandma’s money abeg.

“Everything is unnecessarily expensive in December, so I sit at home” — Louis, 30

My pro-tip for surviving January as a dad, a man, Nigerian or human being is to sit your ass at home in December. I’ve noticed over the past few years that December is just expensive for no bloody reason. All the car-hailing apps are on a permanent surge, restaurants decide it’s time to print out new menus, concerts that used to be N5,000 for regular tickets become N25,000 and everyone just starts to move mad with money. I try to create fun and affordable plans for my kids, because I owe them a good time before life starts to give them gbas gbos. Outside this, no other plans for December. I sit at home through the month, so when January comes with rent, school fees, black tax and all its other burdens, I’m not out here looking like a big fool. 

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