Attending university is an exciting experience, but it can also be financially challenging, especially if you’re living away from home. As a student, it’s essential to learn how to manage your finances effectively to avoid going broke (sapa) and to ensure that you can make the most of your university experience without financial stress. That’s why I want to share with you six guaranteed ways to help you avoid going broke in university as a Nigerian student. Whether you’re a new student or already a staylite, these tips will help you to manage your money and have a stress-free university life. So, let’s get started and learn how to take control of your finances today!
1. Have a budget
Everyone needs a budget and creating a budget would help you spend judiciously. Basically, a budget is a personal plan on how your money will be spent and what it will be spent on. Making a budget is personal to each person’s needs and financial capacity and as students, the one thing we should try to do when creating a budget is to avoid overcomplicating things. In a bid to cut costs, we overcomplicate things.
The goal is to make things simple. Without a budget, you may be surprised at how much you spend on certain items. You’d realize you spend more than you can afford on data alone, and we don’t want that. Making your budget would mean separating your needs wants and goals rather than spelling out every item to monitor your spending. The goal is to make it manageable not detailed.
If you can separate your needs from your wants it would help you with your goals. Let’s say you have a debt to pay, through your budget, you can allocate money each month or week (however you want it) towards your goal. There could be other small goals like saving for your business or saving up for a gift. The goal is never to overcomplicate things and plan your finances out.
2. Have a savings plan
Having a savings plan is one of the essential aspects of being financially stable. Most students make the excuse that they don’t have enough to save. Well, that’s a lie. If saving is a priority to you, one would pave the way for it. I understand that saving might be a bit difficult because there are always pending expenses somewhere and the pressure to fulfill them is always high. So, to successfully save, you have to organize your finances and save your money.
Altogether, a strategy to be a successful saver, play a mental trick on yourself. Now, you go about this by putting money aside almost before you get it and by putting it in a different place from where you normally access your money. This would be a place where it’s impossible to access your money. This is where fintech companies come in. Fintech apps like Cowrywise, Piggyvest, or My Stash will be of great help. My Stash and Piggyvest have a feature where you will be debited for every withdrawal before the fixed date.
So for example, if you withdrew ₦5000 and you automated 10% for every money spent, My stash will automatically deduct ₦500. It’s a great way to curtail your spending. If you would like to register or try it out, click here. On the other hand, Cowrywise has plans that will motivate you to save and Cowrywise does not allow you to withdraw your savings at all until the set withdrawal day – which I recommend because of the high level of discipline. They have motivational groups and investments you could make a profit from and there is also Emergency Savings plan. If you’d like to check it out or register, click here
3. Cook your Food
Some of us who see cooking as a chore would hate this one. But, the easiest way is to cut expenses is also the hardest way. Preparing and eating meals at home can save a lot of money. When you cook meals at home, it’s not only healthier, but it helps you to monitor your spending habits as a student.
The amount of money used to prepare the meal is way cheaper. These days, especially online vendors would charge you high just for a simple meal. Thanks to the internet, you can search for meal tips or simple meals you can prepare as a student you think you don’t have the time to prepare meals because of classes or work, you can make something on the weekend like soups and stews. Or you make your meals a day before by just cooking extra of what you would want to cook before. Or even better, you could cook big portions and refrigerate if you have the opportunity to a freezer.
When you cook meals at home, it’s not only healthier, but it helps you to monitor your spending habits as a student.
4. Reduce your transport cost
Stop taking the bike and take the bus instead. With the increasing cost of fuel, one can only imagine how the cost of transportation would increase. Of course, there are some living areas where taking a bike would pay, but it doesn’t work that way in most scenarios. Take the bus if you are not in a hurry.
Recommended: How to Study Effectively for Exams
Another way to reduce transportation is to pick a day when you’d decide not to spend money. If you are spending money all the time, there’s no way you wouldn’t run out of cash. So pick a day you’d decide not to spend. The first step to achieving this is staying at home. Don’t leave your home for unnecessary reasons. Not only would you be avoiding transportation costs, but you are also reducing the probability of spending unnecessarily.
5. Spend less time on social media
The one thing I am well aware of is the fact that as a student, the amount of data spent altogether in a year is way more than you could ever expect. Manage your internet bills by reducing the time you spend on social media. It will help you with your time management as well as cost management. Apps like Tiktok and Instagram use a lot of data to operate and if you can’t afford it, the best way is to stay away from them.
Another way is to try searching for cheaper mobile data plans. Carefully select and choose the one that best fits your budget. Another thing is to compare networks. Glo Could be offering the same amount of gigabytes for a lesser amount. Deliberately spend time researching what mobile data plans on which network would pay more.
6. Befriend Cheap Data Subscriptions for Downloads
One last tip I’m going to add is that, you can switch to night data for your downloads. If you need to download movies or files that are large, you can use night subs for it. These plans start from 25 naira for about 250 Mb and 50 naira for 500 Mb and capped at 2GB per night from 11pm or 12am to 5am or 6am.
For MTN the night sub code is *406#, then select item 3 (Nightlife Bundles), you can buy with airtime or pulse points. If you are not on MTN Pulse before, you will need to activate MTN Pulse with the same code before you can buy the night subscription.
For Airtel users, the code for night sub is *412#; then select item 3 (Night Browsing). Put on your data after purchase and start surfing.
Lest I forget, there is also a Wifi internet service called INTECU in OAU, Ife, it’s the school Wifi System, you are to buy the card at ICT or other outlets on campus, look for any Wifi area around and connect. The cost of 1 card is 100 naira and last for 4 hrs. If you are not in OAU, just check with your school ICT.
7. Have an Extra Source of Income
Apart from the money being sent from your parents or guardian from home as a fee for upkeep (pocket money), one other thing you can do is engage in business opportunities around campus to get an extra cash inflow. It could be something as simple as buying and reselling items, referring a friend who sells items or services and get a commission, creative arts or as elaborate as starting your own business to solve the problems you identify on campus, confectioneries, selling groceries, freelancing or affiliate marketing or other digital business. However, you should not forget to also acquire entrepreneurial skills which you’ll need for this business, especially financial intelligence and time management, as juggling other things with academics may have an impact on your grades.
Having an extra source of income will give you the opportunity to be alright when the first source of income is depleting, all in all, you should learn to live by your means and not feel pressured to spend extravagantly.
Good luck being a student at a university in Nigeria!
We believe this content is useful for you and others, Kindly subscribe via email, allow notifications, (use the share button to) share to Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media and also use the comments section to send us feedback. Thank you