As the cost of living continues to worsen in Nigeria, many individuals and families find themselves grappling with the challenge of managing their finances amidst increasing expenses.
From soaring food prices to rising utility bills, the burden on households seems to grow heavier each day.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s headline inflation surged to 22.41 percent in May 2023 from 22.22 percent in April, a new 17- year high.
A breakdown of the NBS report reflects household expenses are worse hit by inflation, with food & non-alcoholic beverages contributing most to the acceleration in the headline inflation followed by housing water, electricity gas & other fuel, clothing & footwear and transport.
The recent naira devaluation and fuel subsidy removal by the new government further exacerbate Nigerians living conditions and analysts see a further acceleration in the country’s headline inflation in June.
With the new reforms, fuel prices across the country surged by an average of 174.6 percent from their then price a month ago. Consumers still processing the impact of the removal of fuel subsidies will now have to deal with an additional increase in prices of goods and services associated with a depreciation of the currency.
According to Remedial Health, a provider of patient medical records solutions, the rising inflation rate has seen antimalarial drugs such as Artemether and Lumefantrine more than double in price from an average of N1,200 to over N2,700 per pack.
Last year, the World Bank said Nigeria’s accelerated inflation growth had eroded the N30, 000 minimum wage by 35.5 percent and widened the poverty net with an estimated five million people in 2022.
Surviving the rising consumer prices requires some deliberate strategies and actions. Here are a few things to do to make the most of your money.
Buy in bulk
Bulk buying reduces the cost per unit and can reduce how much you pay in the long run on supplies and products. It also reduces frequency of shopping trips, and increases convenience and accessibility.
However, it is important to consider factors like storage space, product shelf life, and budget planning to make informed decisions and maximise the benefits of buying in bulk.
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The freezer is your friend
You can effectively utilise your freezer to cut costs, reduce food waste, and have a convenient supply of meals and ingredients on hand.
When fruits and vegetables are in season or on sale, take advantage of the lower prices by buying in bulk. Wash and chop them before freezing.
Many freezers have separate compartments or drawers. Utilise them effectively. Use the sections strategically to organise your items. For example, dedicate one drawer to meats, another to fruits and vegetables, and another to prepared meals. This organisation makes it easier to locate specific items and keeps your freezer tidy.
Maximise your freezer’s potential and enjoy the benefits of a well-organised and cost-effective approach to food storage.
By combining errands effectively, you can save time, reduce fuel consumption, and make your daily tasks more efficient. Not only will you benefit personally from the time and cost savings, but you will also contribute to environmental sustainability by minimising unnecessary trips and reducing carbon emissions.
Plan ahead, group tasks by location, prioritise important and time-sensitive tasks, utilise technology, carpool or share rides with family members, friends, or neighbours when running errands, and make a checklist so you do not forget any important tasks.
On June 2nd, 2023, BusinessDay published a story on car brands according to their fuel efficiency. The report showed that cars with smaller engines have higher fuel efficiency and helps save money.
Explore alternative modes of transportation
Look for opportunities to use alternative modes of transportation, such as walking for short distances or using BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) systems, which use diesel and have controlled prices. Rail and water transportation also.
Consider remote work or flexible schedules
If possible, explore options for remote work or flexible schedules to reduce the frequency of commuting. This can help minimise your fuel expenses during the season of increased fuel prices.
As the cost of fuel continues to rise, it’s essential to navigate this season of increased spending with careful planning and informed decision-making.
Automate your savings
It is easy to get caught up in spending on the go, leaving little or no opportunity at all to save up for priorities.
Automated transfers from your checking account to your savings account create consistency and discipline. It eliminates the desire to spend money impulsively and guarantees you constantly save, encouraging discipline and financial responsibility, at a time when it is fast becoming impossible to save.
Do not underestimate discount vouchers, coupons, giveaways, flash sales
In a country where many individuals and families face financial constraints, these strategies provide an opportunity to obtain essential goods and services at a reduced cost.
Discount vouchers and coupons are popular methods for securing discounts on various products or services. They can be found in newspapers, magazines, online platforms, or through dedicated coupon websites. By using these vouchers or coupons, Nigerians can avail themselves of discounts on groceries, household items, clothing, electronics, and more.
Currently Zenith bank and Lagos based supermarket PicknPay are giving Zenith bank customers N1000 gift voucher on every purchase above N10,000 made with a Zenith card from PicknPay supermarket. The offer ends on Monday, June 25.
These savings can be significant and make a difference in the overall budget, especially when used consistently.