14, 2020 12.55PM / Chinyere Onyia / Header Image Credit: All Africa
The global bug called COVID-19 started from a town in China called Wuhan, and has spread throughout the world. Countries across the world have put measures in place to curb the spread of the virus. Transmission occurs when a person comes in contact (within one metre) with an infected person. One of the ways to help avoid the spread of this virus is by social distancing which means self-isolation and maintaining physical distance between people. Consequently businesses, social events and public gatherings such as religious functions, meetings, weddings, parties, cinema and night clubs are put on hold.
Nigeria has not been left out of the global pandemic; the country's first case was recorded on 27th of February 2020. From the month of March 2020, the Federal Government in collaboration with health institutions has applied greater effort in stopping the viruses spread. On the 30th of March the federal government announced the total lockdown of Lagos and Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The exceptions to the lockdown were essential services. The economic lockdown has had differential impact on several layers of society economically, politically, socially, behaviourally, cognitively, morally and emotionally.
Reducing the Pork Barrel
This period of lockdown has impacted all layers of our social activities. To some extent, this has positively affected our personal finance by reducing our budgets, however there is a norm for some people that no weekend is complete without a social party/owambe. It is now more of a culture than leisure. A flamboyant display of affluence ranging from weddings, birthdays, house warming, child naming and dedication, religious festivities, reunion, traveling and music concert has gradually settled to more modest ventures.
Having been trapped in a 'frozen' social state for a number of weeks, the need to be responsible about our personal finances should be a primary priority as extravagant social events have been put on hold, albeit, temporally. Thereby encouraging us to save more and spend less.
While the economic and physical fear of the COVID-19 pandemic might make you want to cut everything out of your life, there are some basic needs that are inevitable and you need to keep spending money on budget line items like food, healthcare (in absence of Health Insurance), phone data subscription, fuel or diesel, cooking gas and cable network TV subscription.
This a period where the social pork barrel should become leaner as frugality becomes a decent word again.
Earning A Lockdown Buck
During the virus lockdown some businesses are still open and working in some capacity (via online platforms). A proliferation of video conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype and Webinar has made remote working much more efficient and reliable, which may result in some workers opting to work from home even after the lockdown has ended. Even as some Nigerians lament that things are getting difficult as they cannot go out to earn a daily living, others are utilizing the opportunity by trying out new things in order to keep cash flowing. Some of these opportunities are: creating Online courses, Digital Marketing, Book clubs, CPA affiliate marketing, Blogging, Freelancing, Graphics and Selling eBooks.
In sum, it is necessary to capitalize on the lockdown to save money, reduce personal budgets and the eliminate the stress that comes with it. You can equally make use of tonnes of online opportunities, depending on your skill, earning a buck during the lock down is a combination of ambition, determination and sheer imaginativeness. As one author once remarked, "throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow", develop a conscious desire to stay productive and the money alert will certainly Ching into your bank account.