As living in cities go, paying for house rent is easily the most dreaded period of the year, especially for salary or medium income earners.
Nigeria’s socio-economic indices have worsened as the months have rolled by; and inflation has remained at double digit for as long as anyone can remember. The Naira has also considerably weakened against foreign currencies.
However, you’ve got to work thrice as hard or enroll in a prayer and fasting masterclass to get a salary raise.
All of which means that some degree of creativity and discipline are needed these days to fork out money to pay the landlord breathing down your neck annually.
Here are a few tips to help you see out this most dreaded period of the year for most…
1..Cut down on non-essential expenditure after paying rent
Let’s face it: there are certain things we buy that we really don’t need.
The trick in surviving in Nigeria as a low or medium-income earner is to resist the urge to splurge on items you can do without as soon as you receive a salary.
For instance, why purchase a pair of designer sneakers that would eat up a chunk of your monthly income when you are no celebrity? Why buy an expensive wristwatch to tell you the time when your smartphone does just that daily?
Why buy a premium smartphone when a more functional android device would do? Why strive to be like the Joneses when you can just be you–Segun?
2..Divide your monthly income into 3 parts
When you get a monthly salary alert, try dividing the amount into three and save that third part for your monthly rent.
The first two parts should be kept for keeping you alive, miscellaneous and necessities.
Resist the urge to spend that third part each month and see where that leaves you when the landlord comes calling with a reminder WhatsApp text.
3..Cut your coat according to your cloth
It may be 2020, but the adage that says you should live within your means remains as potent as ever.
The received wisdom is this–if three months of salaries can’t pay for your annual house rent, it may just be time to move to a smaller apartment or a new neighborhood or get a new job.
Imagine living in Lagos and Abuja and almost all your income goes into paying for a roof over your head! You really don’t want to be that guy.
4..Cut down on food expenditure and nightlife
Nightlife is pretty expensive and avoidable too.
Thankfully, coronavirus-induced restrictions now means you can save the money you mindlessly splurge on choice wines and cocktails at the bar or pub every other weekend.
Try looking at a night out with the boys or babes as a form of reward–something you only do occasionally to celebrate a major milestone or achievement.
Also, think of how much you spend on food monthly. Do you really need to spend all that money on feeding fat? I mean, some of that food ends up in the bin anyway.
Do you really need to stock up on all those groceries?
Think of all the money you spend ordering food from vendors or eateries, for instance, when you can whip up a decent meal at home for a fraction of that amount.
In a brutal city like Lagos for instance, you eat to live, not live to eat (Yeah, you can print that on a T-Shirt).
5..Cut down on how many people you help
It’s tough earning a salary in Nigeria because everyone wants you to help them as soon as the monthly take-home pay hits your bank account.
However, helping everyone is realistically impossible. There’s never an end to the financial challenges of family members, friends, extended relatives etc. The world has always been full of problems and unless you are the president of your nation, you can’t fix them all.
Let’s face it–as much as you want to be some Mother Theresa, you can’t save the world. You aren’t even superman or a member of the avengers, come to think of it.
There’s just so much you can do as a salary earner and just so many people you can help. You aren’t the United Nations for starters.
Sometimes, be courageous enough to say you can’t help that person financially, because when you dole out money to A,B, C and D, that’s your house rent being taken away piecemeal.
Sometimes, turn down requests so you can continue to live and thrive in a brutal city.
Also, do not loan money to people you can’t ask to pay back when the time comes. There should be a limit to the amount of money you loan to people you are emotionally attached to.