We all have bad spending experiences. Moments when we decided that problem no dey finish and that we did not come to this life to suffer. These moments, which can sometimes materialise as buying those shoes you absolutely don’t need or ordering take-out when there is rice at home, can happen at any time. And in other to give us more context on this matter, we asked 4 Nigerians to share their bad spending experiences and what they learned from them.

Sam, 24

There’s surely been a lot of incidents where I blew through relatively huge sums of money and cultivated bad spending experiences but one that has stuck with me the longest happened in 2016. There were a lot of Ponzi schemes out at the time, I was never really a fan of them but a friend convinced me to try them out. Going by his words, I decided to test one of the schemes out with a relatively small amount of money, and I did get my returns in 2 weeks. I immediately became a believer in and soon, I started investing my entire life savings in a couple of other Ponzi schemes. Altogether, I invested about  ₦700,000 and started splurging the balance because I was expecting over a million in returns. 

But almost as if on cue, all of them started to “enter water” with my money. I was gutter-broke! I drank garri so much that sometimes I wasn’t even able to afford the garri. But in all, we give God the glory.

Queen, 24

One of my major bad spending experiences happened in my final year of university. In my first year, I had money coming from home, my uncles, and from a man who was trying to be my sugar daddy. I was living really well. I wasn’t eating students’ food and was always staying in hotels. After a while though, the man who wanted to be my sugar daddy left because I wasn’t interested in him and life became relatively hard. Then in my final year, the year of Ponzi schemes, I made a lot from “Ultimate cycler”. Those Invest ₦12,500 and get ₦50,000 in returns scheme. I was among the first people, so I made close to a million in two days. I however didn’t save any of the money I received and went back home broke. Imagine having a million and only going back home with just  ₦20,000. Now, I save a lot and don’t take chances.

Anne, 23

In 2017 which was my second year of university, I joined a youth/student church and I was really into it. I was in the choir and in leadership training and on almost every other committee. They always asked us to pay tithes, honor your prophet offerings, prophetic seeds, buy choir uniforms, contribute to the church building fund, and contribute to the outreach programs.  Two offerings were collected at every service and around this time my father usually sent me a minimum of  $500 (₦230,000) every month and he asked me to make sure I saved, but I was instead, using most of the money to cover church expenses.

I wasn’t buying myself nice things or going out either. There was just always something to pay for at church. So when the time to pay school fees came around, my dad asked for my savings from the money he’d been sending me and when I could not account for anything, I didn’t know how to tell him what I had done. When I eventually told him how I spent the money, he was so angry with me that he even threatened to send me back to Nigeria. Eventually, he forgave me and sent the tuition money but he cut my allowance by half for a couple of months. I found it very difficult to survive back then because there were still church expenses I needed to pay and the half allowance was never enough to make up for them. I eventually left the church because it was becoming too much. How could they be comfortable collecting so much money from students who weren’t even working? Ever since then I’ve learned to live by my means and put myself first when it comes to spending my money, anything outside of my budget is a no for me.

Ginger, 25

So I studied at one of those private universities. And during the Easter break, I wanted to visit Lagos with my girlfriends, as was the culture then. But since I wanted to avoid see-finish. I saved for months as the budget was ₦150,000, for each of us. Trust me, that was a lot of money back then. We spent a week in Lagos, went clubbing, strip clubs, house parties, beach, ate out, met celebrities, went wild for a week. I don’t regret anything, it is actually one of my most memorable memories  My advice is if you’re in school and you are young, go wild at least once.


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