How I Spent My First Salary - Lessons Learnt


Friday, January 5, 2017 12:00PM / Chinyere ONYIA   

Welcome to 2018. It’s going to be an exciting and engaging year this time especially as the digital wind keeps blowing across all sectors in Nigeria.

I’m more elated this year because there’s going to be more room for you our readers and subscribers to contribute and share your experiences with us, on various areas such as saving, investment, travels & tours, insurance, pension, faith & religion, health, art finance and more. 

Today, we will be sharing the experience of one of our corps members on how she spent her first salary. Enjoy. 

You can also read this: Low-income-earners: Spend Less Than You Earn- The Guiding Tips 

As a Corps member I used to have the mindset that present day realities require more finance for one’s personal upkeep. This is because the economic realities of the country makes it practically impossible for one to cater to her well-being with such a stipend as N19,800. So I did the following: 

1. Made a Plan with specific goals, so as to avoid spending on irrelevances:

Before I went to camp I had already planned on how I was going to spend any income I made during my service year. How I was going to actualize that aim left me in a state of dilemma, reason being that I am spendthrift *covers face*. 

During my days in camp we were lectured on how to save during our one year National Youth service. The whole thing being said seemed unachievable, owing to the fact that the monthly stipend the government pays is nothing to write home about.  Though a lot of people who had served said they were able to save a little amount notwithstanding how small the allowance was. 

2.  Seek the advice of others especially those who had passed similar phase

My first allowance was paid in camp and before I could sort out settling down and few other things the whole money was gone. My friend who was an ex –corps member narrated to me how she saved N200,000 during her service year and has opened a bakery business with it. This was quiet challenging and I took up the task to do better. 

As I was ruminating over my plight I decided to seek advice from my spouse. He made it clear to me, that there is nothing beyond the bounds of possibility in life, and the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. To him serving in Lagos is an opportunity and I should be thankful since I will most likely earn more if posted to a corporate organization and this will be an added advantage from which I can save from. In addition, he sure will take care of some of my expenses and I should have more than enough to do whatever I want.

All things being equal, I got a nice place for my Primary Assignment and they were paying me N25,000. I was so happy. Putting all income together exclusive of transportation and feeding expenses (which sometimes came from my spouse), I was earning more than I anticipated. 

3.     Save and Invest in skills development

Immediately I received my first salary, I opened a fixed deposit account to save a percentage of the amount for a period of one year, then I used the rest for my Tithe, bought a gift for my spouse and registered for SAED classes. NYSC has a platform that teaches corpers vocational skills, the platform is called Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED).  I always wanted to learn craft that will be beneficial to me after my service year, as a means of making extra income and I couldn’t compromise this opportunity. 

At the end of the month, I felt fulfilled that I spent my first salary wisely. Hadn’t I sought advice from someone I would have ended up spending the money on irrelevant things or engaging in impulse buying. With all these I got to understand that the habit of saving is itself an education; and teaches self-denial. Importantly, I learnt that I can do more with less if done wisely. 

Join us again next week for another interesting piece. 

You too can share your personal finance experiences with us via

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