The topic of how young Nigerians navigate romantic relationships with their earnings is a minefield of hot takes. In Love Currency, we get into what relationships across income brackets look like in different Nigerian cities.
Peace*, at 23 years old, is working two jobs, saving more than half her salary and planning her relocation to the UK. In this #LoveCurrency, she talks about saving since she was 10, getting back together with her ex after a year and her father’s disapproval of marrying at a young age
Occupation and location
Medical Lab Scientist living in Port Harcourt.
I currently earn ₦249k monthly. ₦150k from my main job, and ₦99k from my internship.
Monthly bills and recurring expenses
Transport: ₦16k. Twice a month, she spends an average of ₦8k per trip to and from Warri, Delta state, where she works.
Snacks: ₦10k on random cravings
Savings: ₦150k total. ₦100k from ₦150k salary, ₦50k from ₦99k salary.
She doesn’t pay rent because she lives with her parents.
How do you have two jobs?
Technically, I have one job and housemanship that I’m ghosting. It’s at a government hospital, and I barely go there. But I work at a private school health company in Warri. I’m there for two weeks every month.
Does that affect your relationship?
Not at all. The work is not time-consuming, so my boyfriend and I text, talk over the phone and send snaps whenever I’m away.
Nice. How did you meet?
You know how you have a cool friend you enjoy talking to online but have never met? That was Tobi in 2015. We had just graduated from secondary school, he claimed to know me from school. Our schools were close to each other, and I’d also heard of him. So we became Facebook friends. We moved to WhatsApp some months after but made no plans to see each other. He had a girlfriend at the time, and I liked him as a friend anyways.
We were always talking on and off, but then one day in 2018, he called to check up on me, and we spoke for about two hours about general life and school — he’d moved to Cyprus for university. Our communication became stable after that; we would have long calls, texts, and send each other snaps.
In 2019, he asked me out, and I agreed. But then, I messed up, and the relationship ended a year later.
Ahh. What did you do?
I had a “fling” with someone else and told him about it. This was in February 2020. I liked him, but my head wasn’t in the relationship. He was schooling outside Nigeria, while I was in Nigeria, unsure of when he’d return. We’d started the relationship long-distance, and it didn’t seem like a good decision anymore.
After the confession, we decided to break up. Our conversations slowed down, and we’d stopped talking completely by July. That’s why I wasn’t expecting the snap I got from him in December.
What was in the snap?
He sent his location, which showed Port Harcourt. Even though I was very excited he was around, I didn’t expect him to want to see me. But in February 2021, he texted me, and we met at a lounge. It was my life’s best date.
Finally meeting him in person was amazing. The conversation was great, he made snaps of us, and we held hands. He also sent me a sweet text later in the evening saying it was the best and most affordable date he’d been on.
How affordable was this date?
I’m not sure because I didn’t pay. And I had a date with my friends later, so I didn’t want to eat. We had wine and small chops or peppered chicken — I can’t remember.
Then we saw each other again in March. I went to see him at the hotel he was staying, and we spent the weekend together.
That sounds nice
Lol. Me that went there with my books. I had my final year exam that Monday, and man was not going to be why I failed.
Tobi is the type of person who just enjoys having you in his space. He didn’t mind that I was reading. He made sure I was comfortable and showered me with food. From rice to parfait, chocolates and ice cream. I don’t know how much those cost, but the hotel was at least ₦20k per night, and we stayed for two nights.
That must’ve been nice
It was. He was back in Nigeria because he’d graduated, so we went back to normal talking. A few months later, I started distancing myself from him to figure out what was happening since we weren’t dating. I didn’t talk to him or any other guy and just prayed for God to direct me. He texted me in May confessing his feelings for me and wanting us to get together.
His birthday fell on the same day as my seminar defence, so I was busy. But I got him a cake and made a trad set for him. It was a bit tight, so he never wore it. Everything was about ₦50k.
Things were smooth until our near-breakup in March 2022, just after my birthday.
I had been on my shift that week, so I got home to see that he’d sent this huge cake, two lovely slippers and a food tray — I was really happy.
I don’t know what was wrong with me, but when I called the next day, I accused him of not allowing my picture stay 24 hours on his status.
Omo, he was so furious. For the two weeks that followed, communication was very passive-aggressive. We had plenty of quarrels; one was about the guy responsible for our first break-up.
I was worried my friends were already getting placement for their housemanship and I wasn’t. I tried to speak to him about it, but he was still barely talking to me, so he didn’t care. I reached out to the other guy because we were friends, and he had a connect who got me a placement at a government hospital.
When he found out, he was even more upset that not only did I still talk to the guy, I’d gotten a job through him.
It was a whole thing. I ended up deleting the guy’s number for my peace, TBH. And then, he confided in my friend who called me later to explain that he was hurt. He’d cleared his account to get me gifts, and I was picking a fight over WhatsApp status.
When we talked about it, I told him I didn’t think he’d be upset about something I said jokingly, and I’d prefer to hear how he was feeling from him rather than a third party. He said he believed I knew why he was upset, so he didn’t want to spell it out. I told him that if we didn’t break up after that, we can’t break up again.
Then he got an offer to manage his friend’s business in Ghana, so he moved there. In April, my iPhone 11 Pro Max arrived and a gold chain weeks later. He’d literally gotten everything on my wishlist.
God, when? How does one even top that?
You don’t. I got him a football jersey he wanted — it was about ₦65k — and some skincare products which cost ₦13,500.
In September 2022, he asked me to visit him in Ghana. I told him I couldn’t go until he asked my mum. My mum knew about him because she’d heard my sister and uncle joke about him. She also met him during my induction in September 2021, but you know Nigerian mothers. She said she read a WhatsApp BC where a man murdered his wife during a trip to Ghana. It took plenty of begging and convincing from my sister and uncle before she agreed.
I spent about eight days in Ghana, and it was so much fun. We went to a spa on the second day, hung out with his friends the day after and went for dinner on the fourth day. We went to the beach, went bowling, did karaoke, visited a botanical garden and got kente material from their market. We also went to the mall too many times to count.
Who paid for this thing?
He did. He said he’d been saving up for a while for the trip.
Do you have any idea how much he earns?
Nope. I can tell when he has money though, because whenever he doesn’t, he gets cranky.
Don’t we all?
He trades crypto in addition to the business in Ghana, so he tells me when his deals are successful. Some days, it’s ₦50k, others, ₦500k. I assume for someone to spend over ₦1m on a trip, which is what I estimated he spent, he’d have up to ₦4m more. Or at least, that’s how it works for me. I save more than I spend.
Does he know how much you earn?
Yes, he saw my alert one day during the trip. I usually never admit I have money. I learnt that from my mum.
Growing up, she taught me that you don’t need to spend all the money you have. You have to keep a portion aside. From when I was ten years old, I used to keep some part of whatever money I was gifted in a pink purse she gave me. Even though I kept the purse in her room, I remember sneaking out random ₦200s and ₦300s to give my uncle who lived with us then. He promised to buy me a car when I was in university.
I know Tobi has savings in dollars, cryptocurrency, and also invests in gold. I like not knowing how much he earns because I don’t want to get greedy or worry about how he spends his money.
Has this happened before?
Yes. When he returned to Port Harcourt in December 2022, he splurged on clothes, a ps5, a hotel room and outings. We went on two dates — one with his friend and his girlfriend and another with my friend and her husband. The double date with my friend cost about ₦40k in total. Tobi covered it after a tussle with the husband, who also wanted to pick the tab. With his friend, it was about ₦70k. He picked that up too, but the friend said he’d reimburse him. I don’t know how that ended, TBH. He wanted to enjoy December, so I get it.
After he got to Ghana, I texted him to ask if he still had his “UK money”, and he said yes.
I’m trying to get a UK nursing job, and he’s been saving up to relocate too.
So you’re going as a couple?
No o. Even though it’d be easier, my dad doesn’t believe in young people getting married before they’re settled financially. I’m just 23 years old. He doesn’t even know I have a serious boyfriend, talkless of marriage. He lives in the UK and hasn’t been home since 2019, so I’ll just wait until I see and talk to him face-to-face.
What about your mum?
In December, I asked Tobi to come and state his intentions because my mother was asking. He did.
So you did intro?
Intro sounds too serious, abeg. Don’t give me anxiety. But yes, they met officially. He also bought 25 litres of groundnut oil for her and added ₦50k. I was at work, so when I returned, she said I had to get something for his mum.
Yes, I got her an ankara material and added the money for sewing — about ₦20k. I’d gotten his mum stuff previously. A bag for her birthday, and I also got his niece a teddy bear for her birthday. ₦15k, respectively.
How much have you spent on special gifts for him?
On Valentine’s last year, I got him a t-shirt, a cute short and a button shirt which cost ₦25k. For Christmas, I got him a shoe he told me he liked on IG. It was ₦35k. And a food tray of ₦12k that was delivered to him on Christmas Eve.
What did he get you for Christmas?
He gave me ₦200k. He owed me about ₦97k, though. Sometimes, he asks me to help him pay for stuff or send money to someone, but whenever he’s sending it back, he sends extra. I never have to ask before he gives me money. If I mention something I want, as long as he can get it, he will. If he can’t, he’ll assist with part of it.
Interesting. Do you have a financial safety net?
I have ₦500k in my savings and ₦100k I lent someone. So, ₦600k. Everything relocation is being taken care of by my dad.
What’s your financial future as a couple?
It depends on how much money I earn and the cost of living where we’ll stay. But I want to be able to save £500 – 700 a month. And when Tobi gets a tech job — he’s started taking classes online — we’ll move to £1k or more.
If you’re interested in talking about how money moves in your relationship, this is a good place to start.