Vendors have started to fill social media with their curated gift boxes, and that’s all the sign you need to know Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

We can debate why the death of one prehistoric saint means we have to finish all our money later. Today, let’s discuss how to draw the line between being a stingy lover and spending too much money as a 9-5er in Tinubu’s Nigeria. We got seven 9-5ers to weigh in.

Look at your salary

When you’re in love, you naturally want to go all out to put a smile on the face of your partner. But as a salary earner, that salary is supposed to take you till the next salary day. So, before you order that gift box, calculate how much you can comfortably spend without resorting to begging for food or trekking to work for the rest of the month. Then add a little extra for emergency expenses. 

— Enoch, 29

Make a budget and compare it to your usual expenses

You should have a monthly budget, or something to track your expenses so you know how much you typically spend in a month.

Make a budget for that Valentine’s gift and then compare it to what you’d usually spend in a month. If it’s more than 70% higher than your normal monthly budget, consider revising your plan for something less expensive, preferably within 30% – 50%, depending on how generous you plan to be. 

— Mariam, 32

Leave some wiggle room for inflation

A good perfume that cost ₦10k in 2023 might cost ₦15k now. It’s not you. It’s Nigeria. So even if you have a budget, keep in mind that you might end up spending a little extra. But try not to completely veer off your budget.

— Kevwe, 22

Plan early

Things become more expensive by the minute these days, and gifts tend to become even costlier around Valentine’s Day. It’s salary week, so it won’t hurt to start planning and making your purchases now. 

— Omoh, 25

Are there cheaper alternatives?

Let’s assume you want to buy your babe a fake Van Cleef bracelet for ₦10k. Why not go to Yaba and buy the same bracelet for ₦5k? Both of them are fake, anyway.

Considering cheaper alternatives is like killing two birds with one stone. You create a memory and spend less while at it. Plus, cheap doesn’t mean tacky, so package it well. 

— Charles, 36

Is the person even worth it?

Ask yourself: Am I and this person dating exclusively? Do they see me as a talking stage? Will the person even match my energy?

For me, how much I spend depends on how important the person is to me. 

— Bayo, 26

Get creative with your gifting

Roses are great, but is it roses I will eat? Instead of spending ₦50k on that, consider creative practical gifts like food or fuel. The person might appreciate it more, and you’ll spend less. You can also gift joint experiences like an outdoor picnic, rather than dinner at an overpriced restaurant.

— Lois, 21

After spending on Valentine’s Day gifts, you might need these hacks: 7 Nigerian Millennials Share Hacks for Living Through Inflation



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