If you’ve been reading this every Monday, you know the drill at this point. If you haven’t, now you know that Zikoko talks to anonymous people every week about their relationship with the Naira.

Sometimes, it will be boujee, other times, it will be struggle-ish. But all the time–it’ll be revealing.

When was the first time you made money?

After school, before NYSC. I was working at a car management company, and I was the data management person. ₦15k every month–10 actually, but the MD liked me, so he was giving me extra 5k. This was in 2011, and I did that for 5 months.

It was a boring job, my goodness. But yeah, 15k was not a lot, but I didn’t have to give anyone. I don’t even know what I used the money to do, because I couldn’t account for anything that happened in that era.

Were you getting an extra allowance from home?

After school? No. I mean, if I needed anything, my parents would, you know, sort it out. But there had to be a need. We were not very well-to-do at the time–not comfortable enough to be giving you money based on “Oh I want money.”

“What’s wrong with you?” my mum will be like “me too I want money.”

NYSC came and I was earning 5k, plus NYSC salary, as a teacher in a Secondary School. I started service in 2012.

At the time, my older brother was sending me money every other month. There wasn’t a pattern, but he was helping out–5k here, 10k there, 20k later. So that helped a lot.

But then, I was still sending money home to my parents, 5k. Not for them to use it for anything per se, but just so they could know I was doing something.

Girls just tend to send money home. When parents say they want someone that will take care of them when they’re old, they tend to mean girl children.

Post NYSC?

All through 2013, Life happened to me, so I had to go live with my brother. He was giving me like 5k every other week. I was living in his house and I wasn’t going anywhere. So he was pretty much just giving me money to survive and do other girl stuff.

It was a rough year, my worst year ever. I was on the edge all the time.

Then 2014 came, and I got my first real job as a Sales Associate with an auto-servicing company. My pay was 100 grand. And in the first month I started working there, the MD-slash-CEO, married man, decided that I was going to be his conquest. I no gree.

So, I pretty much earned one salary there.


So, I used to show up early because I lived far away. You know, the whole waking up to beat traffic. Many of the people who lived nearby came late on a regular. Anyway, the one time I got there late, this guy had gotten to the office before me. Someone else came late.

And then he decided that we were going to get punished. He legit came to the gate and told the security, “don’t let them in, they’re on indefinite suspension.”

They finally let us in, to collect our indefinite suspension letters, and I just dropped my laptop. Dropped my tag. Took my personal stuff and left. I knew I wasn’t coming back.

But I knew I wasn’t leaving Lagos to go back to my parents. No way I was going to tell them that I quit a job. I dunno how I survived till October. My family doesn’t even know I didn’t have a job that long. Because I was still sending money home from my savings. So I survived on that, living with a friend and her family. I wasn’t spending much on anything. So that money was what I was using to live every month.

Thank God we don’t look like what we’ve been through.

I got another job in October of 2014. Now, my salary there was 85k (100k) while I was in Sales. Then I moved to Marketing, and that’s when things started to turn rosy. In marketing, I got bumped to 120k. Net. I can’t remember what the gross was.

Nobody seems to care about gross.

Aha! I left in 2015 December, then I started working at an agency. My net was 180k. That was when I actually realised I might not be bad at this marketing thing. Bear in mind that I already started volunteering the year before, 2014 that is.

I only got paid a total of 50k for two years, but it really was volunteer work for me. Them paying me was just a stipend. I really just loved doing it.

Anyway, I started volunteering for another community group, and I wasn’t just going to do it because I loved doing it at this point. I was sick and tired of that loving-it shit.

Back to the Agency.

Anyway, I was in the marketing agency till the end of 2017. But before we even got to this point, I started taking side jobs. My first side hustle was to manage social media and I was getting paid 35k. After that, I got–

–I can’t remember the job I did o, but I know they were paying me 30k every month. All of this was while working at the agency.

Another place I was volunteering also started paying like 20k. Wait, was it 20k or 15k? Erm… Yes yes! 20k. In between all of this, I had a project for three months for another company that paid me 120k every month for three months.

Anyway, I left that agency to another job that was paying 900 dollars. Then another side hustle that was paying 50k.

So side hustles have always been a thing.

Since 2015, yes. They still are. In 2018, I worked for another small company. It was part-time, so I didn’t have to go to work. I did that for four months–150k/month. I was still doing the 50k one still. Is it confusing?

Mad o. At your peak, how many side hustles did you juggle at the same time?

About four. There was a time I gave one to someone sef. So they were paying the person through me.

So you’re an agency, basically.

Hahaha. I already registered my business name. I just don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves. Because I got more jobs but I couldn’t take them on, not because of uhm…

It was too much to handle?

Neh. They weren’t paying me enough to handle. The main reason I still work for the 50k gig–I mean it’s now 40k–is because I really love the person. Can’t go that low for anyone else. By the way, I was getting some of these gigs through someone, my plug.

Shout out to your plug.

Got another gig mid-2017 that started paying me 60k. Then another gig that paid in dollars and was approximately 330k. Did that for 6 months.

Then I moved to my current job. My current job pays me 350k net. Then there’s the 40k one. Then I get another 35k. Then my husband gives me another 100k for house allowance, which I get to keep because sometimes I use just about half for house things. The rest, I pocket it. It actually used to be 150k before it reduced to 100k, and I’m just looking at him. Because if he should reduce it to 50k, this house will not contain two of us.


See, the first day it happened, alert just entered kpim-kpim. 150k. Wow. What am I using it for? Wow. My husbanddddd. Then we had this month when we were moving, and had a lot of expenses and real estate investments, and the next month was when it first became 100k.

I barely get to spend my own personal money like that.

What has changed about your perspective between 2012 and now?

Put in the work. Everything will click. Like, when I think of the things that made me put myself under a lot of pressure, I probably shouldn’t have. I have a lot of leftover anxiety from those days.

What someone might achieve at 25, you might achieve at 35.

Also, I used to spend without thinking about the big picture, so it felt like I spent anyhow. That has changed. I bought some things today that I’ll now transfer to my Spreadsheet.

Everything is budgeted. I hardly do spontaneous expenses anymore. What happens when I want to do something tomorrow and I don’t have money? I’ve been poor before. I don’t ever want to be poor again, it frightens me.

So, your fear of poverty is a thing.

Yes. Constant fear. I don’t want to ever be poor. Like, I don’t want to hear that my husband loses his job and I can’t support the family. I don’t pray for it, but anything can happen. That fear helps me in my spending, my saving and my investing.

Now, let’s break down that monthly income.

Waait, let me bring my calculator…

Wow, where’s all the money going to?

I put 100k in my savings first. Again, I don’t have a particular amount I save in total every month. I use an app for saving, so It takes every week. So the money just goes. So sometimes I’ve already saved my regular 100 grand, then they can remove another 40k. So, average, I save about 150k every month. Save or invest. I do mutual funds too. And I want to start farming.

My husband invests in farming cycles. I asked him yesterday like, “Is it that you don’t think that I like investing too?” He said he knows I invest in other things.

“But I know that you farm, so you don’t think I can farm?”

He said okayyy, when the next cycle comes I’ll tell you. And I said waaaait, so you didn’t know you’ll tell me since?

The place he invests in, they do mostly crops, and he gets margins of up to 50-something per cent. I’m moving all my investments into this when the next cycle is coming.

I don’t really splurge, because I don’t really go out. Every month, someone in Church is always wanting us to pay for something. So

So, your money looks split between the House, Family, and Faith.

Yep. I spend a lot of money on my husband too. You garra take care of the person that is giving you money. Keep him happy and all that.

“You don’t have black shoe again? I buy you black shoe.”

“Native is fading? Let’s sew another one.”

“Baby, you need a pedicure.”

I have a budget for him every month.

Then, I change money to dollars. Wow, that means I actually save more than I think I save o.

What’s your dollar budget every month?

100 dollars. Because you never know when you can ja from this country.

You don’t seem to be doing badly, but how much do you feel like you should be earning?

Minus side hustles? 6 million per annum, net. I actually got an offer like that, but it was a startup. They asked me what I wanted and I said 6 mil, and they said okay, come for an interview. I was just there thinking “ehn? Why didn’t I say 8 million?”

Why don’t you want to work for startups?

Generally, startups are too unstructured for me. Like, it’s great and everything, but there’s just too much chaos. I’m sick of it. I can’t deal with the communication issues, the uncertainties, the fact that you talked about doing something in two weeks, and suddenly you want to do it tomorrow. I never want to get to the point where I tsk at work. Because when I start doing that, I start looking for another job. I don’t want to work in a place where they tell me that after two months, they can’t pay my salary, because of kini-kan kini-kan.

Where I currently work though, there really is a sense of security for salary and other stuff, so I’m good.

Also, I’m looking to switch from marketing to actual management of products. That’s where the money is. I wanted to take a course online for it but it’s a lot. And I’m just like, is it really worth it? Should I wait till when I move to Canada?

Ah, Canada when?

Next year, maybe. We’ve started the process, little by little. Are you religious? I am religious. God has shown me where I’m going to work in five years.

Tell me.

It’s one of the Big Tech. Managing products. When I had that revelation I was like, “I don’t know shit about product management” so I have to start learning. So I’ve started taking courses on Udemy, for example. Small-small.

So it means you know what you want to be earning in 5 years.

110 grand per year. In dollars. Because the average is 110. That’s not even you being exceptionally good.

What’s something you want but you can’t afford?

A new car. This car is showing me pepper. I’ve spent over 200k on this car this year alone. And it’s still making noise. But then I’m not sure it’s a real need, because why am I buying a new car when I’m leaving Nigeria next year?

Do you see a future where you retire from work?

I will–but I’m still going to have a business. Also, my children need to be in football or something so they can be part of my retirement plan.

Have you started saving for their football money though?

We’ve started saving for their future. We both have a savings plan for them. It’s part of my money that I’m saving, but he’s also investing in a bunch of things. To be honest, our investments are pretty much for them.

Like, all I have in my mutual funds are for my children.

I need them to be well equipped, so their mum and dad can enjoy their lives when they’re 50. It’s important they enjoy before they can make us enjoy.

Talking about the future, what’s your pension looking like?

One of my first jobs had a pension plan that was keeping aside 8k per month. The next one, about 12k. To be honest, I don’t even know how much is in my pension account right now sef.

If I ask you what your most annoying miscellaneous has been, will you say your car?

Ah, yes. Wait, it’s my phone. Last year. They stole my phone, and I wasn’t ready to buy another one. I went for Christmas rocks, and they stole my phone. I could have just stayed in my house and slept. This phone cost me 300-and-something-k.

But this year, it’s definitely my car. It cost me 55k. Then my husband paid 80k, because he loves me like that. Because I’m his sugar baby.

I just saw alert, and I’m like “you sent me money?” and he says, yes, it’s for your car. He takes care of me actually. He takes really good care of me.

Not sure I need to ask you the satisfaction question. But anyway, on a scale of 1-10?

Awwn, 15. I’m really happy. Can’t even lie. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed with work, school..Ohhhhhh, I forgot one part. There’s this certification I’m going to school for. Totally not worth it. If I had known 2 years ago that I was going to become a product manager, I wouldn’t have taken the course. I paid almost 200k last month. I was now living from hand to mouth. I don’t like this course anymore–it’s dragging for so long and it’s not giving me the value. They didn’t even advise me properly. The only reason I’ve not abandoned it is because of Canada.

What’s something you wanted me to ask, but I didn’t?

Oh, I’ve seen you ask this question before. Neh, nothing. You asked everything. Wait, maybe you should have asked me about investments, but then I already said everything because I knew you were going to ask about it.

This was super lit. Thank you for taking the time.

Worth it.

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