Debt Debt Debt!
“Nkechi pay me my money or else… I’ll leave the gap for my actions to fill.”
Threat text messages and calls were becoming something Nkechi had gotten used too. She was not happy with it obviously but there was nothing much she could do. It all started the day she was flat broke but needed 20, 000 naira to pay for a school project. She did not have a dime anywhere and she hated begging. Begging made her feel poor and helpless. She felt borrowing was more dignifying, at least she would pay the money back.
Her friend Bola had offered to give her the 20, 000 naira to pay back whenever she could. She was relieved of that pressing need at that time. At the end of the month, she paid Bola but a few days later, she was 15, 000 naira short on rent and her generator had given up on her without prior announcement. Zainab her best friend just started a new fashion business and she wanted to support her so she bought 3 dresses on credit. When Zainab got impatient, she borrowed money from Ochuko to pay Zainab. Her bills kept piling up. Suddenly her 60, 000 naira salary became insufficient for her. The cycle of debt continued to weigh her down and now, she is drowning in her pool of debt.
Can NKechi be helped?
Of course, she can, only if she wants to. If you are in Nkechi’s shoes, these are simple steps you can take to get yourself out of the debt pool.
Decide to be debt free:
The first step to ridding yourself of debt is by reworking your mind. You need to decide to find other creative alternatives for money asides borrowing. Rid yourself of the debtor’s mindset. If you decide not to borrow, you will not borrow. Make it a principle!
Live within your means:
Don’t crave for a life you cannot afford instead make that life your goal and work till you can afford it. If you keep trying to keep up appearances, you’ll be nothing but a shadow without substance. Once in a while spoil yourself, when you can afford it. Don’t borrow! Buy only what you can afford.
For expenses, you can foresee, make plans for them. Have a budget, have a maintenance culture and save. Your budget keeps you in check. Avoid impulse buying. Separate your earnings into your different needs (10% – save, 5% – Transportation, 10% – food, 20% – rent etc.). Set aside money for miscellaneous and arrange your budget in order of importance. Service your devices and do your best to take care of them, to prevent damages. Prevention is better than cure. Plan!!!
Pay Off the Debt you already owe:
Make room within your budget to pay off the debt you already owe. Have a strategy on how to rid yourself of the debt. Take up a second job, find a side hustle, empower yourself to earn more or create a plan to pay little over time (e.g. to offset a 200k debt, pay 20k monthly for 10 months).
Savings accounts in Nigeria are overrated, they take more than they add to you. You probably do not have the discipline to save till you reach your savings goal, so, you can opt for the “Ajo/Esusu” option with trusted friends or colleagues. You can also explore savings platforms like Piggybank. Mutual Funds/Target savings are also great options to consider as they double as investments and savings. The money is made available to you when you really need it, so you do not have to borrow.
If you have more suggestions or tried and tested ways to swim out of the ocean of debt and into the safe sand of wealth. Share your thoughts in the comment section. We can’t wait to learn from you.