I Tracked My Expenses For 10 Days After Moving Into The Hostel To Reduce My Spending

November 5, 2021

Day One

Morning

The semester just started, and I haven’t sorted accommodation. I’m currently staying with a friend who lives off-campus. I have things to do at the department today, so I leave the house at 10 a.m. I spend ₦150 to transport myself to the department from UNIBEN’s back gate. 

At the department, I find out that I’m to pay for a project seminar. The lecturer says it’s designed to teach us how to write our final year project. This makes no sense to me. We did an entire course about writing the project last semester. The lecturer wants ₦1k, but we beg him, and he brings the price down to ₦500. 

Evening

On my way back to my friend’s place, I remember I need a new perfume and branch at a store. The brand of perfume I usually buy — which costs ₦1k — is out of stock. I opt for another one, and it goes for ₦2800. This is one of the days I miss my father. He buys this stuff for me every two weeks when I’m at home. But we move. I spend another ₦150 on keke back to my friend’s place. 

I’m home now, and happy my friend cooked and left some for me. Finally, I can have a meal and call it a day. 

Day Two

Morning

I’m so happy to be moving into the hostel today. Don’t get me wrong; I like it at my friend’s place, but I want my own space this semester. First things first, I sort breakfast out. I decide on bread and eggs and go out to get what I need. I buy two eggs at ₦70 each and a loaf of bread, which sells for ₦120. I swear to God, this bread was ₦70 less than two years ago.

After this is done, I load all my stuff into a cab and leave for the hostel. My cab fare is ₦600. 

Afternoon

I’m at the hostel now. To prove that I’m a student at the school, the porters make me print and make photocopies of my school documents. This takes ₦940 from me. I don’t even know what to say. Afterwards, I pay ₦1k for hostel dues and am cleared to move in.

Evening 

I’ve finally moved into my room and settled in. I suddenly realise that I don’t have a soap case and dash downstairs to the common room to buy one. God, everything is so expensive here. It’s the closest place to buy things, and the vendors know and charge for this. That’s the only reason why they would sell a soap case for ₦500. I also buy a pair of bathroom slippers for ₦300. 

It’s time to worry about dinner, and it’s the last thing I want to do. I go for turkey and chips and shell out ₦1400 for it. It’s a treat for finally moving into my room.

Soon, I’ll start cooking and won’t have to spend so much money on food anymore. 

Day Three

Morning 

It’s Wednesday, and I’m at the department to register for my courses. I’ll need to pay ₦1500 for that, but not today because I can’t find my course adviser. 

 My time at the department is also a reminder that I’m an English student and have a lot of recommended texts to buy. My budget for that this semester is ₦20k.

Afternoon

On my walk back to my hostel, I buy a rechargeable flashlight for ₦1k. Electricity is pretty stable in my hostel, and we have power almost 24/7. However, the wiring in my room is bad, and the bulb doesn’t work anymore. A flashlight solves this problem, at least for now. 

My friend buys me my first meal of the day from a restaurant that just opened. I decide to go for Jollof rice, fried rice, fish, and plantain and everything runs into ₦650. I’m always happy about free food. 

When I get to the hostel, I buy three bottles of water at ₦100 each from the common room before I climb the stairs up to my room. 

I still don’t have a stove to cook for myself, so I’ll probably eat once a day for the next few days. 

Day Four

Morning

I remember that I still haven’t bought my recommended texts, and I can feel my stress levels rising. If you’re wondering why I don’t get the PDF versions of the books online, most of the books are written by my lecturers, and there are no copies on the internet. I should add that they don’t make it compulsory to buy the books, but I could get into the exam hall and the first question would be “Using this and that from this book, analyse the…” God, abeg. 

My course adviser doesn’t stay in one place, and because of this, I haven’t completed my course registration. I search everywhere and find no signs of him. It’s time to give up. The most annoying thing about this is that I just spent the ₦1500 I set aside to do this. 

Evening

I want to spark joy, so I decide to buy Shawarma for dinner. It’s an easy decision because they sell Shawarma and grilled stuff on every corner in UNIBEN. I walk to one of them and buy my chicken Shawarma. ₦1500. I’m glad I can get what I want. 

Day Five

Today is Friday. For some reason, I don’t have any classes today. I decide to stay in my room for the whole day to cut down on my spendings. I buy rice, plantain, salad and fish for lunch and this costs ₦600. For dinner, I buy chips and turkey and pay ₦1400 for it. I swear, I’m going to the market tomorrow. 

Day Six

I typically rest on Saturdays, but not today. I have to go to the market to buy my kitchen stuff. I go with a friend, and our first stop is the ATM. I slot my card into the machine and withdraw ₦20k. 

Then something happens: my friend nudges me and says that her eyes are turning. Next thing, she drops to the floor. Wait, what?

Very scary. 

Thankfully, she gets back up to my utmost relief. However, she’s too weak to walk, so we take a cab to a restaurant to get ourselves something to eat. Our fare is ₦150, and I pay for it. At the restaurant, we both order a plate of rice, plantain and fish. Our total bill is ₦1400. 

The next stop is a pharmacy outside school. The driver of the Keke we take there charges us ₦400 because we’re the only passengers. I can’t complain about that. 

The pharmacist on duty prescribes some medication for my friend. They include malaria, typhoid, anti-puke pills and some painkillers. The bill is ₦3,850, which I pay for. 

Evening

With everything that has happened today, I cannot go to the market anymore. I order an Uber to my hostel, and it costs me ₦1k. Before I go to my room, I buy chips and suya for dinner. That’s another ₦1k gone. 

The day is not over just yet. I just ran out of data on my phone. I have a MiFi, but I buy ₦1500 data on my phone now and then, like tonight. 

Day Seven

I don’t go to church and my plan today is to stay in and rest. Around noon, I get a text from my friend asking me if I’m free to hang out. A couple of guys want to take us out. I’m free, so I dash out. I don’t like missing things like this, especially if all I need to do is dress up and look sexy. 

Afternoon

Our group — six of us — is in a bar and we’re doing drinks. I don’t understand why men assume I’m lightweight. But na me dey run things. We have cocktails, whiskey and Bacardi on our table — you know, all the works. Of course, they get drunk before me and me, I just keep drinking. I’m not sure how much our bill is, but a close guess will be ₦50k. 

Evening

It’s late when we’re done, and the guys offer to pay for a room for me and my friend. They also buy us dinner, and I go for spaghetti and grilled fish. 

It’s wild that I haven’t spent my money today. I like days like this. 

Day Eight

Morning

Even though today is Monday, I decide not to attend classes. I’m mentally and physically drained. The good news is the hotel gives us a complimentary breakfast before we leave. Love to see it. 

Afternoon

Today is a good day. I tell a friend I want ice cream, and he sends me ₦15k just because I have a nice smile. More of it, please. 

I’ve been hanging out at my friend’s place all day, and now it’s time to return to my hostel. I bring my phone out and order an Uber. The fare estimate is ₦500. That’s very fair.

Evening

It takes me a while to decide on dinner tonight. I blame myself for not cooking already. In the end, I go for turkey and chips and pay ₦1500 for it. If I perish, I perish. 

Day Nine

Morning

I rush to my 8 a.m. class without having breakfast. But that’s not much of a problem. Speaking of school, I still haven’t registered for my courses. Only God knows where this lecturer is. 

My lecturers are somehow. Tell me why another one is making us buy a material. He says it will be our ticket into the next class. Thankfully, it’s ₦200. I have more reasons to smile because my friend pays for it. Crisis averted. 

Afternoon

I’m at a photo stand to take new passports. The one I currently use was taken in 2019, and I don’t look like that anymore. I ask the photographer to print eight passport photos and he says my bill is ₦700. I check my purse and realise that I have the complete cash. My friend comes to my rescue and gives me ₦500. 

I lucked out in the friends’ department because my friend also pays for my lunch. See how I’m enjoying. 

Evening

I’m on my way to the hostel when I remember that I need a new bucket. I enter a shop and buy one for ₦800, which I pay with my card. The woman wanted ₦1k for this small thing. She must think I’m packing gold. 

Before I leave the area, I buy five sachets of water for ₦50 in a neighbouring store. This is a good time to take a trip down memory lane and think about the time when ₦50 was enough to buy a half bag of water. 

What’s going on today? It seems like everything is designed to piss me off. I want Capri Sun, and they tell me it’s ₦100. Why? When did Capri Sun start costing the same as a pet bottle of coke? I’m tired of this country. 

Day Ten

Morning

Eight days after I moved into the hostel, I’m finally on my way to the market. I make a quick stop at the ATM and withdraw ₦5k. 

Less than an hour later, I have my pot, some spoons and plates, a sponge, dishwashing liquid and a padlock, but I’m also ₦4,350 lighter. However, I’m pleased with myself. I don’t need to buy foodstuff yet because my mum sent some a few days ago. Now, I can start cooking. 

Afternoon

Another friend is paying for my lunch today, and I opt for rice and plantain. ₦650. 

Evening

I don’t have a stove to cook yet. However, my roommate has an electric cooker I can borrow. I’m too tired to cook, so I won’t do that tonight. We go again tomorrow. 

I moved back into school to become more serious with school and cut down on my transportation and feeding expenses. Ten days later, I have brought my transportation cost to almost 0. Feeding is still taking my money, but that’s probably my fault. I will see how it changes as the semester goes on.  

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