It’s crystal clear we have a problem in Nigeria. Inflation has reached 28.92% — the highest in 27 years — and things are going from bad to worse.

Since all of us can’t just japa and leave this country empty, we might as well figure out how to live through it. I spoke to some millennials, and they shared the hacks they’re holding onto in these trying times.

Prioritise essential expenses

If you know you typically finish a bag of rice in a month, it’s better to buy that bag when you have money rather than buy it small small because that rice can double in price in two days.

I like to also buy things in twos or threes. At least, I get to delay buying the same thing at an (inevitably) higher price for a little while. I can stay broke happily, knowing I already have most of what I need till the next paycheck comes.

 — Kelvin

Take loans if you have to

Gathering money over a couple of months to make a big purchase doesn’t work in this economy again. Before you finish saving the money, the item has doubled in price.

So, if it’s an item you absolutely can’t do without, consider taking a loan to buy it. I do this regularly and advise anyone else to do the same. It works even better when you can get informal loans with little or no interest. But pay back your loans o. Let’s not be unfortunate. 

— Opeyemi

Comfort is good, but survival is better

This might sound like advice to reduce your quality of life, but if you don’t want that quality of life to reduce by force, you need to start making sensible cuts.

I used to run my generator all day whenever NEPA did their thing, but now, I do most of my work within the three hours that my generator is turned on daily, so I can be on my laptop while it’s connected to electricity. That way, my battery is still charged when the generator is turned off, and I can still squeeze out a couple of hours before the battery dies.

Think about what you can cut sensibly. Do you need to take an Uber for the entire trip, or can you take public transportation to a point first?

— Peace

Nobody will beat you if you haggle

Our mothers knew what they were doing when they priced things at the market. I used to be ashamed to haggle, but now, I have to do it.

Pro tip: Start the haggling process by dividing the initial price into three. For instance, if the seller says something costs ₦1k, start pricing from ₦300 or ₦350. You’d be surprised how much you save when you and the seller eventually settle on a price.

— Christy

Avoid billing like your life depends on it

I now do a thing where I refuse to open or respond to WhatsApp messages until the sender reveals why they’re messaging me.

Messages with only “Hi” or “Hello” go unanswered unless you follow it up with “My name is XYZ, and I’m reaching out for ABC reasons”. For not-too-close family members, I make sure to start conversations with my own problems. Everywhere is hard, and this is not the time to make any unnecessary expenses.

— Kene

RELATED: The Most Effective Ways to Avoid Aso-Ebi Billing

Have a budget, but be flexible

I’m big on budgeting, but I recently noticed that my budgets weren’t adding up. For instance, I could budget ₦5k for gas and suddenly hear that they’ve increased the price. 

I still budget, though. If not for anything, it helps me track my expenses and have something to look at when I start wondering where all my money disappeared to. So, have a budget but still have it at the back of your mind that things can change. At least, if it doesn’t work out, you know it’s Nigeria, not you making poor financial decisions. 

— Ola

Make money

It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, money is what will still save you from totally erasing your quality of life due to inflation.

I’m constantly on the lookout for side gigs and better job opportunities to increase my income. If you like, be feeling guilty or thinking you want to be loyal to any company. Even your oga is looking for a better-paying job.

— Bori

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