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  Many Nigerians are facing difficult economic times right now. With high inflation, increasing food cost and basic needs, unemployment, and a weak currency, it is challenging for families to make ends meet. When the cost of things go up, you need to get creative with cutting expenses and radically adjusting your spending habits; save money. Here are the top 10 ways to aggressively save money on even the tightest budget.
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  1. Carefully track every single expense

The first step is knowing exactly where your money is going each month. Write down every expense, no matter how small. Having this clear picture allows you to identify non-essentials to eliminate. You can use apps like Money Manager to track your expenses.
  1. Prepare meals at home

Eating out, ordering food, and buying snacks can drain your funds quickly. Plan simple, inexpensive meals to prepare at home using basic ingredients. Take food with you to avoid the temptation to buy meals outside.
  1. Reduce energy and utility usage

Turn off lights when not needed. Unplug electronics when not in use to avoid “phantom” energy costs. Take shorter showers to minimize water heating costs. Every little bit of conserved electricity and water adds up. Especially if you use the prepaid meter, do well to conserve energy as much as possible.
  1. Limit transportation costs  

Walk or use public transportation whenever possible instead of driving and spending money on fuel and parking. Explore ridesharing to split costs with others making similar routes.
  1. Buy used or borrow instead of new  

For clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items, check thrift (okrika) markets and classified ads before buying new. Or try borrowing from friends and family when possible.
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  1. Cut subscriptions and memberships

Analyze monthly and annual fees for things like TV, music, magazines, apps, and club memberships. Cancel anything that is a luxury, not an absolute need.
  1. Find free or low-cost entertainment

Get creative with free hobbies and activities like reading, sports, parks, community events, and visiting friends instead of expensive nights out or paid entertainment.
  1. Reduce housing costs

If your current housing is too expensive, look into getting a roommate to share rent and utilities. Or move to a more affordable neighbourhood if possible.
  1. Avoid debt at all costs

Do not borrow money or take loans that will put you deeper in debt. The interest costs pile up quickly, making it harder to get ahead. Only use cash or debit going forward.
  1. Save all “extra” money

There’s nothing like “miscellaneous” when it comes to money management. Don’t sponsor things you don’t have any business sponsoring, because you have some extra money. Any funds received from small side jobs, gifts, rebates, etc. should go directly into a savings account or emergency fund instead of being spent.
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Final Thoughts

The key is adopting a frugal, minimalist mindset and developing discipline with your money habits. While these extreme money-saving strategies require sacrifice, getting smarter about spending now allows you to pay down debt, build savings for the future, and gain more financial security. The current economic crisis across Nigeria means many are simply trying to survive. However, even in the toughest circumstances, applying these radical saving methods can help stretch what little income you have. Financial intelligence and responsible money management are critical to not just weathering the storm but giving yourself a foundation to improve your situation over time.
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This article was first published on 5th June 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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