8 Nigerians Talk Living On ₦300,000 – ₦500,000 A Month

March 2, 2021

The idea for this article was inspired by a conversation on Twitter about what living on a ₦400k salary looks like in Nigeria, and if it’s enough to fund a “soft life”.

We thought it might be interesting to talk to people who earn within that range, so I put a call out on Twitter.

The response was massive. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk to everyone who reached out. I did manage to have a conversation with a couple of people, and this is what they said.

1. Ore, 26, Lawyer

Salary: ₦480k

I earn more than my siblings and parents, and I try to send money home every month. Last year, this was between ₦50k and ₦100k. My other expenses were at a minimum — I was sharing an apartment and didn’t always eat out, so I saved a lot. The major thing I spent money on last year was my IQAS application, which cost about ₦80k.

However, things have changed. My family’s needs are increasing, and I’ve moved out to get my own apartment. There are also some additional expenses like visa application fees and registration fees for school — I got a scholarship, but it doesn’t cover these fees. 

At the moment, I spend 30% of my income on rent, 20%-25% on family needs, and save 30%. My personal expenses take whatever is left.

I love my job and I know I’m privileged to earn this much in this country, but I don’t think I’m living a soft life. Beyond what I earn, it’s the ability to retain it. Also about having good savings and investments. I’m only managing now and not living a life of convenience. To get there, I’d need at least $2k monthly. 

2. Uche, 28, Consultant 

Salary: 450k

I work in a Big 4. My first salary was ₦150k, and it’s grown over the years to ₦450k. I live way below my means. I haven’t changed my car in forever or moved out to a new neighbourhood. The thing is, while a month’s salary can cover my annual rent, I spend a lot on my car because it’s kinda old.

However, I’m able to outsource more and eat out more often. But I’m not living a soft life. If I was spending everything I earn and not worrying about savings, investments, or black tax, then I’d be enjoying life. A few years ago, my family needed money to work on a capital-intensive project, and I took a ₦2m loan from a bank. I still pay ₦100k every month to offset that debt. 

At the moment, a soft life for me means being able to afford a serviced apartment, fibre-optic internet, regular Sunday brunches, and vacation outside the country at least twice a year. I will need to earn at least ₦1m to afford that life. 

3. Bambi, 28, Sales

Salary: >5.3m/year

I get my basic salary every month, which is ₦220k, but they pay me housing allowance in bulk once a year — ₦1.7m. Also, I get bonuses every quarter, and those are between ₦400k and ₦600k.

My monthly running expenses are under ₦50k, and I spend less than 10% of my earnings on rent. My life is good. I eat when I want and take care of my parents. I’ve not been broke for a long time, and I always have at least ₦500k in emergency funds. But my income is just not enough for the life I want. The value of the naira keeps depreciating. To travel anywhere decent, you need at least ₦1m. Nothing I earn in this country will give me a soft life. There’s a constant fear that I’m one emergency away from poverty. I’m always praying that my parents don’t fall sick or I don’t get a terminal illness. Even if I earn ₦10m, I still won’t feel very secure. 

4. Stephen, 27, Customer Experience Manager

Salary: 370k

The bills don’t stop. I believe living a soft life means that I can conveniently pay my bills and afford my needs and wants. I can’t do that with my salary. I went grocery shopping yesterday and spent ₦26k and everything I bought fit inside two plastic bags. 

Don’t get me started on my running costs every month. I spend at least ₦1600 on my commute every day: this runs into ₦36k in a month. My laundry takes about ₦7k. Now, there are other expenses — feeding, utilities, subscriptions, and the stipend I send home to my parents. It’s really wild. 

The point is, my salary is enough to cover most of my monthly expenses and some needs, but there’s hardly anything left after that, even though I’m not living above my means. I can’t afford to hang out with my friends as much as I’d like to or live in luxury. If I earn up to ₦800k and maintain my current lifestyle, I might be able to live that very secure, comfortable life.

5. Nike, 21, Investment Analyst

Salary:  327k

I’m in my second month at my first post-NYSC job, and my current salary is a significant upgrade from the ₦107k I was earning last year, which was my service year. Does it make me comfortable? Yes! Am I living my best life? Absolutely not! Here’s some context: My brother started working 10 years ago and his first job paid him ₦150k. The dollar rate at the time was between ₦160-₦180, now it’s ₦465-₦480. A tin of sardine was like ₦120, but it is now ₦400.

At the moment, most of my earnings go into my savings — ₦150k every month. The other major expenses spread across my rent for next year, feeding and utilities, data, tithe, and the random things that pop up. 

I know that I’m earning above the industry average for my experience level, and I’m likely to get a raise up to ₦380k  after I get confirmed at work, but I’ll still have to be extremely cautious of how I spend. It’s not enough for that soft life everyone is talking about. The ultimate goal is to leave the country, but if I earn ₦800k – ₦1m per month here, I can definitely live a soft life. 

6. Shola, 26, Content writer

Salary: 500k

I earn ₦350k from my main job and an average of ₦150k from side gigs. Last year, I was earning less than half of my current salary, and I remember thinking about how I would live my best life on a ₦300k salary, but here we are. The quality of my life is better, though — about 40% of my earnings goes into my savings and investments, 50% goes into my monthly running expenses, and I leave 10% in my emergency fund. I don’t borrow money from my friends to get through each month anymore, and I help my folks out with stuff. 

But I won’t say I’m living a soft life — I still worry about price tags when I go shopping and can’t afford a car or a vacation at the moment. I enjoy spending money and the feeling that comes with it. But right now, I have less than ₦10k in my account. Even my emergency fund is not enough to cover some of these costs sometimes. Random things happen and they come with bills. A sibling could need a laptop to write a school exam or my phone screen could break and I’d need ₦70k to repair it. When I factor in all of these things, my current income is definitely not enough. 

I understand that some people have it harder. I’ve been there too. The next milestone for me is getting my place and a car and earning enough to take care of myself and my family, so they can be comfortable as well. If I have to peg that to an amount, ₦700k-₦1m won’t be bad for now.

7. Ope, 40, Communications Lead

Salary: ₦400k

Context matters, and I think it’s missing in many of these conversations. I have a family, and my two kids are in school. And here’s the thing: I earn enough to meet my responsibilities and still save 1/3  of my salary every month.  I’ll admit that I live a spartan lifestyle, so it works for me. If I’m one to flex at posh restaurants and clubs, then it definitely wouldn’t be enough. 

8. Martins, 27, Banker

Salary: 410k

My salary is only enough to make me comfortable, but I’m not quite there yet. As my earnings increases, so do my expenses, including my taste in things and black tax. It’s a cycle. However, I conveniently save ₦200k every month now, which wasn’t possible before I got this raise. 

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Toheeb Lanlehin

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 16, 2020

Hello, guys. Welcome to my Youtube channel (I have always wanted to say that). If you are anything like me, mathematics and anything financially inclined stresses you out. Health insurance, Pension, Tax, Compound Interest, Black Tax. But…This year we are being responsible. So, I decided to find available investments and I stumbled upon a miracle […]

February 4, 2020

Can you smell nice on a budget? No, really? People treat perfumes and scents like some secret society and on a members-only basis. People who smell nice don’t like to reveal the price or name of their fragrances. This is because they want the monopoly of best smelling or they don’t want to share the […]


Now on Zikoko

April 11, 2021

Today’s Man Like is Andy Obuoforibo, a 40-year-old politician and product manager. He tells us about how his father’s warmth and work ethic taught him the real meaning of masculinity, how his mother’s foray into politics influenced him to participate in politics and why he supports the LGBTQ+ movement as a Nigerian politician. When did […]

April 11, 2021

See ehn, nobody is a hundred percent “normal” and being weird can be cool or creepy depending on how you look at it. Let’s not argue sha. Take this quiz for a little moment of truth. QUIZ: How Rude Are You? Are you polite abi everybody should getawt? Take the quiz and we’ll tell you.

April 10, 2021

With almost two years of being in existence, Sex Life has grown while staying true to its goal of exploring the sex lives of Nigerians. In the last one year and five months since Sex Life was created, we’ve spoken to about eighty Nigerians who are at different places in their lives, with different orintentations, […]

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

More from Money

April 6, 2021

Do you have someone owing you money and they have refused to pay? They may also be dodging your calls and flexing on social media? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures so follow this guide to collect your money from all the onigbeses in your life. 1) Take their matter to the mountain Have […]

March 26, 2021

One recurring question everyone considering having kids asks is: how much does it really cost to have a baby. There are tons of hospital visits, tests and procedures. All of these things cost money and for the most part, a lot of Nigerians don’t have insurance.  For this aritcle, I spoke to six Nigerian parents […]

March 24, 2021

As told to Toheeb I’ve been thinking about talking to a gambling addict for Naira Life for some time now, but I haven’t found someone who’s willing to share their story yet. Two weeks ago, while looking for people to interview for this article, a lady reached out to me. She wanted to tell me […]

March 22, 2021

I am personally very fascinated by the sugar baby and sugar parent relationship business model. I have read and also written several stories exploring it but typically from the perspective of the sugar baby. Prompted by a conversation with Zikoko’s editor-in-chief, I decided to start reaching out to the sugar babies I knew and asked […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

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