It is quite difficult to save money in Nigeria, especially for a student in a tertiary institution. Due to the inflation rate of 28% on average in 2024, the cost of goods and services is increasing and affecting university and secondary students who want to save. However, mastering the art of saving money during these formative years is a crucial step toward building a secure financial future.
To save money as a student in Nigeria, start by creating a budget and setting a goal. Also, by being frugal and avoiding peer pressure, you can cultivate a habit of saving money in a separate account. Furthermore, bolster your savings capacity by earning additional income from other sources. All these ensure you reach your savings goal timely.
In this post, learn practical steps for saving money in Nigeria to achieve your short-term and long-term financial goals.
How to Save Money as a Student in Nigeria
1. Create a Personal Budget
The foundation of financial management lies in understanding your income and expenses. As a Nigerian student, track your monthly income and expenses to identify how much you can save conveniently. It is not about wishing to save a particular amount, say ₦5,000 per month, you must know your financial capacity to save. Hence, preparing a budget will uncover this.
Here is how to create a budget as a student to start saving:
- Estimate your Income
To save properly as a student, calculate your monthly income to know it. List them, if more than one, and sum it to get the total income. Your income is any money you get consistently within a specific period (monthly or weekly) which can be from your parent, sponsor or self.
Although your monthly stipend may vary, for best result, base your budget on a consistent income and not irregular gifts such as money from family members or friends.
As a student, knowing your average income figure will help you plan your spending and savings in Nigeria.
- Estimate and adjust your Expenses
After knowing your average income, calculate your expenses to know the amount to save. Expenses are the money you spend from your income ranging from essential to non-essential needs and it reveals your spending habits. Like income, expenses vary monthly, however, you can discover your average expenses through this exercise.
Without proper budgeting, expenses can equal income. So, as a student categorise them in order of importance to lower your expenses. For example, Food, transportation, and school printing are essential, while entertainment and socializing are less important.
By categorising your expenses, you can identify and reduce unnecessary expenses to save better. Even among essential expenses, identify and reduce elements of wastage. For instance, while food is important, buying fast food in Nigeria rather than cooking meals increases your spending and reduces your savings.
In short, streamline your expenses and stick to it to save more money as a student in Nigeria.
Save the Differences
The differences between income and expenses should go into your savings. As a student, the percentage of money you can save depends on your expenses, not your income. The secret of saving a greater amount of your income is by reducing your expenses.
Being a student, it can be hard to minimise expenses in Nigeria, hence, save money before spending it. “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” Students that save money after all expenses, save little or nothing.
Therefore, determine a percentage to save from your income onset. As a student, you can use the 50/30/20 budgeting principle to save 20% of your income. However, if a lower percentage is best for you, say 10%, stick to it. What’s important is to allocate a percentage of your income to savings without minding your expenses.
2. Set a Goal
Setting a financial goal is another crucial step towards saving in Nigeria. As a student, having a definite amount to save helps you achieve it rather than being vague. Hence, set your savings goal after understanding your budget. Go a step further to write your savings goal and you are 42% more likely to achieve it than not writing it.
Although not necessary, this goal amount can be tied to a particular project. For example, you save ₦200,000 to buy a laptop for school projects or ₦1 million to travel abroad after graduation. Defining your goal this way helps create a sense of purpose and motivation, making it easier to stay committed to the savings plan.
However, your savings goal must be realistic, reflecting on your budget. This makes it attainable, ensuring success. It is pointless to set a goal to save 1 million Naira a year when your budget shows you can only save ₦10,000 per month as a student.
In summary, here is how to set a realistic goal as a student in Nigeria:
- Set a goal amount within your budget: For example, if your income is ₦10,000 monthly and you can easily save ₦1k per month, that’s ₦12k per year.
Set your savings goal to around ₦18k per year. This figure can motivate you as it is closer to your current savings capacity.
- Save as you earn. Save as you get your income – weekly or monthly. You can save immediately you get the money before incurring expenses. As Warren Buffett aptly puts it, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
- Be consistent in saving: You may encounter unforeseen expenses preventing you from meeting your target, nevertheless, save something. Consistency is key. A time will come when you can save more and balance up the deficit.
- Optionally, include a goal project: e.g. save to buy a laptop, land, or go on vacation.
- Review your goal at intervals: For instance, if you are saving for a year, review your goal quarterly to know your progress report and make timely adjustments. This way, you can re-strategise if falling behind.
3. Be Frugal
Frugal living is a prudent approach to managing your finances, emphasizing resourcefulness and thoughtful spending. To save better as a student in Nigeria, you must quit a wasteful and flamboyant spending habit. Being frugal is not about deprivation or sacrificing your quality of life, but rather making informed choices to optimize your financial resources. This is what helps you to save and invest in your future.
As a student, you gain a lot by being prudent financially. First, it enables you to build a financial cushion for unexpected expenses or emergencies, providing a sense of security. Being frugal also cultivates a mindset of conscious consumption, steering you away from impulsive purchases and unnecessary expenses. This approach empowers you to prioritize your spending based on your values and long-term goals.
Here are frugal ways to save money as a Student in Nigeria:
- Budget and follow it strictly: Make sure you are not exceeding your allocated expenses thereby affecting your savings. For instance, if you are using a 50/30/20 budget principle, stick to it by saving 20% of your budget.
- Reduce your expenses: Look for areas where you can cut back without compromising your basic needs. For example, use the school library instead of buying some books.
- Embrace a simple healthy lifestyle: For example, cooking your meals is healthier than buying fast foods. Also, consuming a lot of carbonated drinks and alcohol is unhealthy.
- Use available student discounts for purchases. Patronise businesses that offer discounts for students such as stores, restaurants and cinemas.
- Use discount apps: Buy from apps that sell things below their actual price. For example, apps like Opay and Jumia give discounts on airtime, data and other bill payments.
Embracing the frugal living is a crucial step towards saving money in Nigeria. As you consciously trim unnecessary expenses, you free up more funds that can be directed towards savings. This disciplined approach helps you save more, exceed your goal, and lay the groundwork for future financial stability. It also instils valuable habits of financial mindfulness that will serve you well beyond your student years.
4. Have a Savings Account
As a student, you must have an account that helps you to save, gives interest and eliminates wasteful spending. To save properly, you cannot use the same account from which you withdraw money often but a separate account. This helps you achieve your short-term and long-term financial growth.
When considering a savings account, you can choose between a physical or online option. Examples of physical accounts are GTBank, Zenith, Access Bank etc: you possibly have one. Online/digital accounts include Piggyvest, Opay, Branch app, ALAT app etc. Although all banks now operate online through apps, digital banks are a better choice if you want an account with a higher interest rate.
To make saving easy and consistent, consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. By automating this process, a predetermined portion of your income is regularly allocated to savings, fostering financial discipline and ensuring consistent contributions without relying on manual transfers.
Also, employ tactics to make it hard to withdraw funds from your savings account until maturity. For instance, open an account with no debit card and limit withdrawal frequency. Most digital banks/fintech accounts in Nigeria offer these features to encourage a saving culture. Examples are Branch and Piggyvest.
As a student, here are online savings accounts you can open in Nigeria:
In summary, as a student, your savings account should have the following features:
Having a savings account as a student is a prudent and empowering financial choice in Nigeria. It not only safeguards you against unforeseen expenses but also establishes a foundation for responsible money management and future financial success.
5. Avoid Peer pressure
As a student, peer pressure hinders saving money and you must resist it. Peer pressure, in this context, refers to the influence exerted by your peers to conform to their spending habits or lifestyle choices.
It is not about rejecting social interactions, but rather about making informed decisions that align with your financial goals. By staying true to your financial goals, you avoid unnecessary and often unwise expenditures.
Knowing when and how to avoid peer pressure is essential. Be mindful of situations where spending choices are driven by social expectations rather than personal needs. Politely decline invitations to activities that may strain your budget, and instead propose alternatives that align with your financial goals. Surround yourself with friends who respect your financial boundaries and make decisions based on shared values.
Over time, your ability to resist peer pressure enhances your financial resilience and empowers you to make choices that align with your unique financial journey.
In conclusion, recognizing and managing peer pressure is a vital skill in maintaining your financial well-being as a student. By staying true to your values and making informed choices, you pave the way for a more secure and prosperous financial future.
6. Cultivate Saving culture
Cultivating a saving lifestyle as a student is a strategic approach towards achieving financial goals. A saving culture involves adopting habits and behaviours that prioritize setting aside a portion of your income for future needs and goals. No matter how little you earn, you must learn to save; even 1 Naira. By incorporating this mindset into your daily life, you pave the way for a financially secure and fulfilling future.
The long-term benefits of cultivating a saving culture are profound. By consistently setting aside funds, you create a financial buffer for unforeseen expenses, emergencies, or future opportunities. This habit also fosters financial discipline, teaching you the importance of planning and delayed gratification. As you accumulate savings, you gain the flexibility to pursue educational aspirations, travel, or make significant investments in the future.
To develop a saving culture as a student, start by creating a budget that delineates your income, essential expenses, and savings goals. Allocate a specific percentage of your income to savings before considering discretionary spending. Consider setting achievable short-term savings goals, such as building an emergency fund or saving for a specific purchase. Automate the process by scheduling regular transfers to your savings account, making saving a consistent and effortless part of your routine.
By instilling the habit of saving early on as a student, you establish a strong foundation for responsible financial management, setting the stage for a lifetime of financial well-being.
7. Earn Additional Income
Earning additional income as a student is a proactive approach that can increase your ability to save money in Nigeria. This entails seeking opportunities beyond your primary source of income, typically from part-time employment, freelance work, or other supplementary endeavours. Nowadays, there are many ways to make money online as a student in Nigeria. By earning money from other sources, you can save more money thereby achieving both short-term and long-term financial goals.
However, learning to save as a student should be your top priority rather than making money. Without first developing a saving culture, you would always spend all when your income increases. This is called lifestyle inflation and most people fall into this trap.
Nevertheless, here are ways to make money as a student in Nigeria:
- Part-time jobs
- Online surveys and tasks: For example, Appen jobs
- Real estate marketing
- Online tutor
- Digital Marketing
Also, as a student, you can earn money passively through investing. With your savings, invest in stocks, real estate and cryptocurrency. However, be aware that investment ranges from low-risk to high risk. Land is low risk but cryptocurrency is high risk. Therefore, before you invest in a thing, understand it to avoid loss of savings.
Indeed, earning additional income as a student can help you reach your savings goal quickly. A large amount of the extra income can go to your savings, accelerating your ability to build a robust financial foundation. By adopting a proactive approach to earning more, you create opportunities for financial growth and increased resilience against unexpected expenses.
Benefits of Saving Money as a Student in Nigeria
- Financial Security During Emergencies: Having savings provides a financial safety net, allowing you to navigate unexpected expenses, such as school needs or urgent repairs, without jeopardizing your academic pursuits.
- Opportunity for Investment: Savings can be a stepping stone to investment opportunities. As your savings grow, you may explore low-risk investments, creating a potential source of passive income in the future. For example, use your savings to buy land or stocks.
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: As a student, having savings helps alleviate stress associated with monetary concerns. Without being a salary earner, your savings provide peace of mind and enhance your overall well-being.
- Independence and Autonomy: Savings afford you a degree of financial independence. You’re less reliant on external support, giving you greater control over your life choices and academic journey.
- Flexible Pursuit of Educational Goals: With savings, you have the flexibility to pursue educational opportunities beyond the basics. Such as a professional certification and courses in your academic field.
- Preparation for Life After Graduation: Accumulating savings positions you favourably for the post-graduation transition. Whether entering the workforce or pursuing advanced studies, having savings provides a financial buffer during this transitional phase.
- Building a Habit of Responsible Financial Management: Establishing a savings habit early sets the foundation for responsible financial management. This habit will serve you well beyond your student years, contributing to long-term financial success.
- Empowerment to Pursue Passion Projects: Savings can empower you to pursue passion projects or side ventures without the immediate pressure of generating income. This fosters a sense of creativity and exploration beyond academic obligations.
Additional Tips on How to Save Money as a Student in Nigeria
- Increase your amount of savings anytime you get unexpected money from other sources
- Due to unforeseen expenses, you might not reach your goal amount. Don’t be discouraged. Rather be consistent in saving money no matter the amount.
- Earning additional income as a student can take time. To shorten the time, make money from what you know or related instead of learning a new skill.
In summary, learning how to save money as a university or secondary student in Nigeria is not just a prudent financial practice; it’s a strategic investment in your present and future well-being. Saving money without earning a salary makes you financially independent. It offers a pathway to financial stability, independence, and the fulfilment of academic and personal aspirations.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Therefore, try it and let me know your experience by leaving a message in the comment section below.