January comes with a lot of bills. Whether it is school fees, utility bills, rent or black tax from relatives, every adult will have to pay for something in January. Unfortunately, only a few can do that without having to borrow from friends or take loans from OKash and co. This begs the question “why are Nigerians broke in January?”
People say January is the longest month of the year because it’s like it has 71 days and it’s as if payday will never reach.
Year after year, Nigerian adults complain about being broke in January. After weeks of “SAPA” (it means being broke), some will promise to do better with their finances then come January the next year, they start singing the same song.
If this describes you and you are wondering why this happens to you every year, here are a few things you may be doing wrong. I will also share, in this article, how you can prevent it from happening.
1. Having No Savings:
During the Christmas period, when there is a lot of celebrations, saving money is the last thing on people’s minds. Shouting YOLO (you only live once) and singing “I can’t kill myself oh” have made people lavish their money, even the one they should have saved. Unfortunately, it has also made them the “please I need urgent 2k” kind of friends.
Not saving money can:
- Make you unprepared for unexpected financial emergencies. If a loved one falls sick or your car breaks down, you will struggle.
- You will most likely get into debt. This is bad because for the next few months, you will be using your salary to pay back debt and borrowing to meet needs for the month. It is a vicious cycle that might take a while to break.
So it’s no news that you should save. The problem a lot of people have is how to go about it.
You can put the money you don’t want to spend somewhere you won’t be able to access till January. If it is possible, pay the bills you will need to pay in January, in December.
You can do a one year investment every January which you can get back January the following year with interest.
You should save some money from your earnings in December. It can be as little as 10%.
2. Impulse Buying:
Have you ever gone to the market to buy foodstuff and you came back with clothes and shoes? Then you are a victim of impulse buying.
It is understandable. When you see that thing you’ve been longing to get in the market, you will feel like if you do not buy it now, you will regret. Especially during the festive period where stores will slash down their prices to get people to buy their products.
This is one of the major reasons people over spend and are broke in January.
Impulse buying causes:
- Overspending. This has led people to spend their savings, which will inevitably lead to you being broke and possibly being in debt.
- Regret, because after you have bought it and the novelty wears off, you will feel like you spent money on something that’s not worth it.
Break The Habit
In order to enjoy your January, you have to be disciplined when it comes to your spending. How can you protect yourself from impulse buying?
Here are a couple of things you can do:
- Always make a budget before going to the market. Take only the money for the things in the budget. Do not take any extra money. Leave any extra cash, ATM card or phone (with your bank app) at home. By the time you get back home, that impulse to buy that thing may have died down.
- Avoid temptations. Stay away from online stores (even though it’s very hard with online pop ups on phones) and, as much as possible, stay away from places that sell things you have a weakness for.
- Again, save your extra cash where you will not have easy access to it. You could give it to a friend and ask them not to give you back till January (has to be someone trustworthy) or you could put it in a safe lock for a month.
3. Taking Loans:
Many people spend more than they earn in December. Some do so to impress others while other people do it because they think whether there’s money or not, there must do a Christmas celebration. So they borrow money and promise to payback month end. The money they use to pay back the debt at month end, could have been used for the month of January.
A lot of loan companies use the Christmas period to offer short term loans. People quickly jump at this to make ends meet since they’ve exhausted their income. This is not necessarily a good thing considering you will have more to pay back. During this festive season you should avoid taking loans so that you don’t have any debts come January.
It’s possible to have a low key Christmas if you don’t have money to spend. Stay away from loan apps and manage what you have.
January is just 31 days and it can even feel shorter if you’ve paid all your bills and you have enough to give to others and flex with friends. All you have to do is understand how and why you spend in December and take steps to ensure you plan your finances better.
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My name is Emmanuel Ejiga. Content lead of OG Capital
I am a writer. Technical writer, song writer, and sometimes fictional writer.