Saving money as a student in Nigeria is considered tough but it is not the extreme sport you think it is.
It is often said that saving money is a good habit, but how do you save money as a student when your present status requires you to spend money?
Not minding the old-fashioned mindset that only the older generation bothers about things like that, as a student, you need to learn the importance of saving money.
But first, what is the importance of saving?
Why save money as a student?
It may not seem like it, but saving is something every student should do.
It lets you buy items that otherwise might be out of reach, keeps you out of financial trouble and makes you more independent.
Saving as a student in Nigeria goes beyond just putting money aside. It means you can do more, as you have more choices or get additional cash.
It also helps you build discipline especially with managing your finances. This can be extremely valuable to the youth because the earlier you learn how to save, the faster you’ll grow your money.
How to save money as a student in Nigeria
There are practical steps you can take to save money as a student in Nigeria.
Below are means or ways with which students in Nigeria can use to learn the culture of saving:
1. Monitor your spending
Overspending is the bane of most students in Nigeria. As a student either living on or off campus, there is always the urge to buy unnecessary stuff.
It might be snacks, fashionable pieces of clothing, jewellery and other pieces of vanity.
Cutting off unnecessary items would help you save money as a student. It also builds self-esteem and measures your scale of preference.
Keeping track of your purchases can help you figure out what’s eating up your finances and you can prune them down accordingly.
2. Set your priorities
As a student hoping to save money, you should know what’s important and what’s not.
Sometimes this means not caving to peer pressure. Have an independent mind devoid of peer pressure or influence. Never spend to impress people. It will always come back to haunt you.
To avoid peer pressure, you can try making friends with people who have the same ideology or attitude towards finance as you.
3. Avoid debts
Or in this case, loan apps. If you want to save money, then taking out and paying off a loan is counterproductive.
Also, if possible, avoid borrowing from friends and family members. It reduces your chances of saving.
Debts can set you back and keep you from reaching your financial goals.
Also, borrowing can be addictive. It makes you comfortable spending above your budget since you know where to always run for help.
Debts keep you worrying and thinking about how you are going to make your payments, and this could even affect your grades.
4. Cook your own meals
Most students’ allowances go into feeding. If you are intentional about saving money as a student in Nigeria, then you must learn to cook your own meals.
Cooking your meals is always cheaper compared to food sold in restaurants and by roadside food vendors.
Cooking your food is also more hygienic. If you are a student willing to save, you should learn to make decent meals yourself.
5. Get a holiday job
Most universities in Nigeria go on two months break to help students refresh.
In some cases, such breaks are imposed on students of government institutions in the name of workers’ strikes and could stretch for a while.
Students are often advised to utilise this period by getting a holiday job or learning a marketable skill.
When it comes to holiday jobs, your options are limitless. From clerical positions in offices to teaching appointments. You could even start a business or a trade.
The goal is to earn as much as you can so that when your allowance comes, you can have something extra to set aside for a rainy day.
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Foreigners call it a piggy bank but in Nigeria, one of its popular generic names is kolo. It comes in form of a wooden box with a narrow opening on top.
As a student in Nigeria, you can make a habit of keeping your loose change in a kolo.
On the other hand, in keeping with the times, you could also open a savings account or download a savings app on your phone. If you’re looking to open a savings account, visit nairaCompare to compare interest rates, fees and terms of savings accounts and select the one that best suits your needs.
It is surprising how much you can actually save if you make a habit of it. Doing it the old way is suited for students who deal with cash and find it hard to save money digitally.
7. Avoid unnecessary relationships
Where possible, avoid building unnecessary relationships or friendships, while in school.
Whether romantic or platonic relationships, they can be financially draining.
A student trying to find their path financially, try as much as possible to avoid these kinds of relationships. They involve, hanging out, going on dates, partying, gift-giving and whatnot.
Steps to develop healthy savings habits
If the goal is to save money as a student in Nigeria, there are habits you need to develop to guide you through that journey.
This is not an easy task for many students because of their different backgrounds, but it is doable.
Here are some steps that you should take immediately to develop a healthy habit of saving.
● Set realistic saving goals
Saving money is not a sure path to riches. Don’t just jump in head-first by setting unachievable goals.
If you make a goal that you cannot achieve, you will be easily demotivated. Start small.
● Break the goal into smaller targets
Once you have thought about what a realistic amount and period is for you, the next step is to break this goal into smaller targets.
For example, if by the end of the semester of about four months, you intend to save say N100,000, this means every month, you have a target of N25,000 to save.
Breaking it further down, weekly you will need to have saved up approximately N7,000. This makes your saving target more achievable.
It also makes it easy to monitor your progress.
● Reward yourself
Give yourself a treat any time you reach your target. This could be either weekly or monthly.
The reward will psychology reinforce your savings habit. In time, you will realise that saving money has become second nature to you.
● Keep a separate account
In a situation where you decide to save with a traditional bank, open a separate savings account.
This ensures that you keep your savings separate from your normal expense account.
This not only gives you a clear amount of how much you are saving, but it also helps you build discipline.
One useful tip is to ensure that the account has no ATM, debit card or online banking facility.
Bonus tips on saving money as a student in Nigeria
When it comes to saving money as a student in Nigeria, the first step is usually the hardest.
However, the benefits cannot be overstated.
By applying the following tips, you are sure to boost your savings and make the most profits.
● Create a budget
You don’t need to study a course in the field of finance to apply financial management as you begin to save money.
Creating a budget will help you maximise your savings. Simply pick a pen and paper and write down your costs for the previous month.
Afterwards, evaluate your income and you will immediately have a detailed picture of your monthly financial status.
Then you can see any areas that you need to work on for more savings
● Maximise your student status
You cannot avoid expenses. What you can however do is take advantage of the discount offers that are exclusive to students.
It could be anything from movie tickets to bus fares. Some banks have special saving accounts for students.
● Avoid impulse buying
Impulse buying and being a student are two things that shouldn’t go together.
Impulse buying can severely affect your savings.
To avoid this, keep track of sales and exclusive deals that are happening. Make a list with some wanted items and patiently wait for when it is sales season to buy them.
● Cut down costs
What is your cost of living and how does it impact your savings?
As a student, you don’t need all of those subscriptions if you are truly intentional about meeting your saving goals.
You can also cut down on how much you hangout with friends. These are just some of the ways of inhibiting your spending habits.
● Share bills
Sharing recurring costs can help you save money as a student in Nigeria. However, you need to ensure that the person you are pairing with is sincere so you don’t run into hitches.
One very good example is sharing your Netflix streaming subscription. Netflix can host multiple users on one account. So, it makes sense to share the subscription with other interested students.
● Just save
That is the goal. Start small. Start with what you have. Whatever the situation is, just save.
You could be with a few nairas and then increase it as you go. The important thing is to take the first step.